The Climate Show #13: James Hansen and the critical decade

By Gareth Renowden 24/05/2011


Special guest on this week’s show is Dr James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies and perhaps the best-known climate scientist in the world — the man who put the 350 in 350.org and a forceful advocate for leaving coal in the ground. We caught up with him during his recent NZ tour, and grabbed an interview during his whirlwind visit to Canterbury University (thanks Bronnie!). John Cook’s back from the tour launching his new book Climate Denial: Heads In The Sand, and talks about his experiences on the road as well as debunking the “CO2 lags warming” myth. Plus the Australian Climate Commission’s new report, The Critical Decade, Britain’s ambitious new carbon targets, and a couple of new solar power initiatives.

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News & commentary:

Hansen in NZ

First reports, and on lignite.

Australian Climate Commission releases new report: The Critical Decade.

Key messages:

  1. There is no doubt that the climate is changing. The evidence is overwhelming and clear
  2. We are already seeing the social, economic and environmental impacts of a changing climate
  3. Human activities — the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation — are triggering the changes we are witnessing in the global climate
  4. This is the critical decade. Decisions we make from now to 2020 will determine the severity of climate change our children and grandchildren experience

See also: The Age

Britain pledges to halve carbon emissions by 2025.

Interview: [0:22:25]

Dr James Hansen: director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, ’the grandfather of global warming’. [Home page, Storms of my Grandchildren, Wikipedia]

Three papers:

The case for young people and nature: a path to a healthy, natural prosperous future.

Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications

Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

Debunking the sceptic, with John Cook of Skeptical Science [0:47:45].

Climate Change Denial: Heads in the sand: http://sks.to/denial (Hot Topic review).

Climate Myth: CO2 lags temperature: http://sks.to/lag.

Solutions [1:08:50]

New solar product captures up to 95 percent of light energy.

First Large Scale 24/7 Solar Power Plant to be Constructed in U.S
Source: Clean Technica

Thanks to our media partners: Celsias.co.nz, Scoop and KiwiFM.

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.