The Case for Young People James Hansen 14 November 2012 Utrecht, Netherlands
Global Warming Status1. Knowledge Gap Between - What is Understood (scientists) - What is Known (public)2. Planetary Emergency - Climate Inertia Warming in Pipeline - Tipping Points Could Lose Control3. Bad News & Good News - CO2 Already in Dangerous Zone - Multiple Benefits of Solution
Earth’s energy imbalance: more energy coming in than going out ARGO floats have allowed accurate measurement of ocean heat gain since 2005. Earth is gaining energy at a rate 0.6 W/m2, which is 20 times greater than the rate of human energy use. That energy gain is equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year.
Heat storage in upper 2000 meters of ocean during 2003-2008 based on ARGO data.Knowledge of Earth’s energy imbalance is improving rapidly as ARGO data lengthens.Data must be averaged over a decade because of El Nino/La Nina and solar variability.Energy imbalance is smoking gun for human-made increasing greenhouse effect.Data source: von Schuckmann et al. J. Geophys. Res. 114, C09007, 2009, doi:10.1029/2008JC005237.
Global temperature fluctuates, but the world is getting warmer Figure 1. Global surface temperature anomalies relative to 1951-1980 average for (a) annual and 5-year running means through 2010, and (b) 60-month and 132- month running means through July 2012. Green bars are 2-σ error estimates. (Hansen, J., Ruedy, R., Sato, M., and Lo, K., 2010: Global surface temperature change, Rev. Geophys. 48, RG4004.)
Loaded Climate Dice: global warming is increasing extreme weather events.Extreme summer heat anomalies now cover about 10% of land area, up from 0.2%.This is based on observations, not models. Figure 3. Frequency of occurrence (vertical axis) of local June-July-August temperature anomalies (relative to 1951-1980 mean) for Northern Hemisphere land in units of local standard deviation (horizontal axis). Temperature anomalies in the period 1951-1980 match closely the normal distribution ("bell curve", shown in green), which is used to define cold (blue), typical (white) and hot (red) seasons, each with probability 33.3%. The distribution of anomalies has shifted to the right as a consequence of the global warming of the past three decades such that cool summers now cover only half of one side of a six-sided die, white covers one side, red covers four sides, and an extremely hot (red-brown) anomaly covers half of one side. Source: Hansen, J., Sato, M., and Ruedy, R., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., 2012.
June 2011: Record 7.6% of U.S. in ‘Exceptional’ drought category,simultaneous with record flooding on Mississippi River.
Fires Are Increasing World-Wide Wildfires in Western US have increased 4-fold in 30 years. Western US area burnedSource: Westerling et al. 2006
AT SEA - OCTOBER 28: In this handout satellite image provided by National Oceanicand Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Sandy, pictured at 00:15 UTC,churns off the east coast on October 28, 2012 in the Atlantic Ocean. Sandy which hasalready claimed over 50 lives in the Caribbean is predicted to bring heavy winds andfloodwaters to the mid-atlantic region. (Photo by NASA via Getty Images)
Waves pound a lighthouse on the shores of Lake Erie Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, near Cleveland.High winds spinning off the edge of superstorm Sandy took a vicious swipe at northeast Ohioearly Tuesday, uprooting trees, cutting power to hundreds of thousands, closing schools andflooding parts of major commuter arteries that run along Lake Erie. (Tony Dejak, AP)
A huge tree split apart and fell over the front yard and fence of a home on Carpenter Avenue inthe aftermath of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday, Oct., 30, 2012, in Sea Cliff, N.Y. (AP Photo/KathyKmonicek)
ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - OCTOBER 29: Water floods a street ahead of Hurricane Sandy onOctober 29, 2012 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Governor Chris Christie’s emergencydeclaration is shutting down the city’s casinos and 30,000 residents were ordered toevacuate. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A parking lot full of yellow cabs is flooded as a result of superstorm Sandy on Tuesday, Oct. 30,2012 in Hoboken, NJ. (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)
North Carolina 12 is buckled from pounding surf leading into Mirlo Beach in Rodanthe, N.C. onTuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. People on North Carolinas Outer Banks are facing some flooding anddamage from Hurricane Sandy, but emergency management officials say it could have beenworse. North Carolina Transportation Department spokeswoman Greer Beaty said the highwaywas closed Tuesday until crews inspect the road. (AP Photo/The Virginian-Pilot, Steve Earley)
A firefighter works to contain a fire that destroyed over 50 homes during Hurricane Sandy on Oct.30, 2012 in the Breezy Point neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York. At least 33people were reported killed in the United States by Sandy as millions of people in the easternUnited States have awoken to widespread power outages, flooded homes and downed trees.New York City was hit especially hard with wide spread power outages and significant flooding inparts of the city. (Spencer Platt, Getty Images)
Climate Tipping Points1. Ice Sheet Disintegration - Ocean Warming Ice Shelves Melt Ice Streams Surge Disintegration2. Species Extermination - Shifting Climate Zones, Multiple Stresses, Species Interdependencies3. Methane Hydrate ‘frozen methane’ - In Tundra & On Continental Shelves - Depends On Ocean & Ice Sheets
Left map: sea ice extent (>15% ice). Right: sea ice concentration (%).Purple line: climatologic extent (1979-2000). Data: 18 August 2012.Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center, Boulder, Colorado
Jakobshavn Ice Stream in GreenlandDischarge from majorGreenland ice streamsis accelerating markedly. Source: Prof. Konrad Steffen, Univ. of Colorado
Blue: Sea level change from tide-gauge data (Church J.A. and White N.J., Geophys. Res. Lett. 2006; 33:L01602).Red: Univ. Colorado sea level analyses in satellite era (http://www.columbia.edu/~mhs119/SeaLevel/).
Figure 1. The broken-wing female Monarch on our butterfly bush.
Newly emergent Monarchs, each beside its popped chrysalis, waiting for its wings to dry.
Fig. 1. CO2 emissions by fossil fuels (1 ppm CO2 ~ 2.12 GtC). Estimated reserves andpotentially recoverable resources are from EIA (Energy Information Administration)and GAC (German Advisory Council on Global Change).
Restoring Energy Balance Possible Essential Requirements1. Quick Coal Phase-Out Necessary All coal emissions halted in 20 years2. No Unconventional Fossil Fuels Tar sands, Oil shale, Methane hydrates3. Don’t Pursue Last Drops of Oil Polar regions, Deep ocean, Pristine land
What’s Really Happening1. Tar Sands Agreement with Canada Pipeline planned to transport oil2. New Coal-fired Power Plants Rationalized by ‘Clean Coal’ mirage3. Mountaintop Removal Continues Diminishes wind potential of mountains4. Oil & Gas Extraction Expands Arctic, offshore, public lands
Intergenerational JusticeJefferson to Madison: …self-evident that “Earth belongs in usufruct to the living”*Native People: obligation to 7th generationMost Religions: duty to preserve creationGovernments (with fossil interests): we set emissions at whatever level we choosePublic: when will it become involved?*Legal right to use something belonging to another
Atmospheric Trust Litigation*1. Atmosphere is a public trust asset Governments have fiduciary obligation to manage asset – it is not political discretion2. Courts can enforce via injunction Require carbon accounting, with schedule specified by science3. Force governments at all levels* Wood, M., Atmospheric Trust Litigation, in Adjudicating Climate Change: Sub-National, National, and Supra- National Approaches (William C.G. Burns & Hari M. Osofsky, eds.) (2009, Cambridge University Press
Principal ReferencesEarth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications : Hansen, J., M. Sato, P. Kharecha,and K. von Schuckmann, Atmos Chem Phys, 11, 13421-13449, 2011.Scientific Case for Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change to Protect YoungPeople and Nature: Hansen, J., P. Kharecha, M. Sato, F. Ackerman, P.J. Hearty, O.Hoegh-Guldberg, S.-L. Hsu, F. Krueger, C. Parmesan, S. Rahmstorf, J. Rockstrom, E.J.Rohling, J. Sachs, P. Smith, K. Steffen, L. Van Susteren, K. von Schuckmann, J.C.Zachos. Published and citeable at http://arxiv.org/abs/1110.1365Public Perception of Climate Change and the New Climate Dice : Hansen,J., M. Sato, and R. Ruedy. Published and citeable at http://arxiv.org/abs/1204.1286 PDFs of these and related papers available at: www.columbia.edu/~jeh1
Problem & Solution1. Fossil Fuels are Cheapest Energy - Subsidized & Do Not Pay Costs - Solution: Rising Price on Carbon2. Regulations also Required - Efficiency of Vehicles, Buildings,e.g. - Carbon Price Provides Enforcement3. Technology Development Needed - Driven by Certainty of Carbon Price - Government Role Limited
Fee & DividendFee: Collected at Domestic Mine/Port of Entry Covers all Oil, Gas, Coal No LeakageDividend: Equal Shares to All Legal Residents Not One Dime to the Government.Merits: Transparent. Market-based. Stimulates Innovation. Does Not Enlarge Government. Leaves Energy Decisions to Individuals. A Conservative Energy & Climate Plan.
Stresses on Coral Reefs Coral Reef off Fiji (Photo credit: Kevin Roland)
One of Hearty’s boulders on the coastal ridge of North Eleuthera Island, BahamasSee Hearty, P.J., Quaternary Research, 48, 326-338, 1997.
Notes of Optimism1. China Rational decision-making; large investments in carbon-free energy2. Legal Approach Judicial branch less influenced by fossil fuel money (than executive and legislative branches)
Web Sites www.columbia.edu/~jeh1 www.350.org www.MillionLetterMarch.orgwww.CitizensClimateLobby.org
Sophie explains 2 Watts of forcing to brother ConnorSophie Explains GH Warming: Connor only counts 1 Watt “It’s 2 W/m2 Forcing.” Weren’t you coaching Sophie?
Surface Melt on GreenlandMelt descendinginto a moulin,a vertical shaftcarrying waterto ice sheet base.Source: Roger Braithwaite,University of Manchester (UK)
Global Action Status1. Huge Gap: Rhetoric & Reality - Rhetoric: Planet in Peril - Policies: Small Perturbation to BAU2. Greenwash/Disinformation Winning - Appeasement of Fossil Interests - Still Waiting for a Winston Churchill3. Kyoto & Copenhagen Failures - Kyoto accelerating emissions - Copenhagen still “cap-&-trade”
Cap-and-Trade Flaws1. Designed for Banks & Fossil Interests Impossible to exclude big money2. Price Volatility Discourages clean energy investments3. Ineffectual Real carbon reductions small4. Cannot be made global China/India will not (& should not) accept caps
Lauren Emma (age 2½ days) and Jake (age 2½ years)