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Thursday, May 10, 2012

"Game Over for the Climate"

I think it would be faid to say that James Hanson is not a tar sands advocate:

Game Over for the Climate, by James Hansen, Commentary, New York Times: Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama ... in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”
If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate..., concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere eventually would reach levels higher than in the Pliocene era, more than 2.5 million years ago, when sea level was at least 50 feet higher than it is now. ... Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.
That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought... Economic losses would be incalculable. ...
If this sounds apocalyptic, it is. This is why we need to reduce emissions dramatically. President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining,... but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground. ...
We should impose a gradually rising carbon fee,... then distribute 100 percent of the collections to all Americans ... every month. The government would not get a penny. ... Not only that, the reduction in oil use resulting from the carbon price would be nearly six times as great as the oil supply from the proposed pipeline from Canada, rendering the pipeline superfluous...
But instead..., the world’s governments are forcing the public to subsidize fossil fuels with hundreds of billions of dollars per year. ...
President Obama speaks of a “planet in peril,” but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course. ... The science of the situation is clear — it’s time for the politics to follow. ... Every major national science academy in the world has reported that global warming is real, caused mostly by humans, and requires urgent action. The cost of acting goes far higher the longer we wait — we can’t wait any longer to avoid the worst and be judged immoral by coming generations.

    Posted by on Thursday, May 10, 2012 at 09:38 AM in Economics, Environment, Market Failure | Permalink  Comments (49)


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