Storms Of My Grandchildren James Hansen

Web pages:

  • Hansen's Columbia Homepage
  • Book homepage: Publisher: Tantor Media; Unabridged,Unabridged CD edition (December 10, 2009) | ISBN: 1400115248 | Language English
  • An addendum to the book: an interview with Bill McKibben.
  • Updated figures for the book
    • An important quote from that interview: "Mountaintop removal provides only 7 percent of United States coal production, which is less than the amount that we export. So it cannot be argued that it is needed in order to keep the lights on—it is needed only to line the pockets of a few fat-cat coal executives."
    • "Native Americans refer to an obligation to “the seventh generation.” Thomas Jefferson wrote that “Earth belongs in usufruct to the living,” meaning that we have the right to use property belonging to future generations, but not the right to damage that property. Jefferson, a farmer, used the usufruct concept specifically with regard to the soil, which, he argued, we must not deplete. He did not explicitly discuss the atmosphere, which seemed so huge to the colonials that they never worried that humans might deplete the atmosphere’s ability to sustain our lives and livelihoods…. Human-made climate change now raises a moral issue as momentous as any that the courts have considered in the past. Today’s adults are reaping the benefits of burning fossil fuels while leaving the consequences to be borne by young people and future generations. Are my grandchildren, and other young people, included in the category of “any person” and thus deserving equal protection of the laws? A positive answer, I believe, is obvious."
  • Overview in figures



Key notions:

  • Natural processes will become "unhinged" (pp. 254-256)
  • Hansen's Fee and Dividend Plan: "Storms of My Grandchildren also is an exploration of what Hansen feels will work and what won't in the fight against global warming. His proposed fee-and-dividend plan is an elegant, simple proposal to fight greenhouse gas emissions. He boldly states that all fossil fuels must be phased out and soon, including coal, tar sand oil, and other difficult to obtain carbon fuels." review

Favorite Quotes:

  • p. 254: increased rainfall is exacerbated by deforestation; more rainfall results in unnatural increase in "hundred year floods"
  • p. 251: Land ice melt implies increased surrounding ocean cooling
  • p. 252: Conveyor: extra salty water leaves Mediterranian, through Gibralter; hits N. Atlantic, cools, and sinks; drops south; warm weather moves over the top, warming north.
  • p. 253: 10% increase in wind speed, implies 1/3 increase in destructive power.
  • p. 255: Greenland ice sheet losing 1000 km^3 of ice/year.
  • p. 256: Current sea level rise 3.4 cm/decade (by glacier melt, thermal expansion, ice melt of Greenland an dAntarctica, etc.)
  • p. 256: Rate of discharge of iceburgs to increase — doesn't need to melt to cause problems! (Related to ice shelf collapse)
  • p. 256: Summer rain over ice implies hastened ice melt
  • p. 257: "It is not a question of whether, only a question of when." [Social and economic devastation could be unprecedented.] Worst case scenario: Earth becomes Venus.
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