James Hansen: The Climate Dice are Loaded

Dr. James Hansen's keynote address at Cooling on Climate Change

The following was blogged live from our Fall Conference on September 18, 2012 – Cooling on Climate Change: Designing the Message.

NASA’s Dr. James Hansen kicks off our Climate Change conference by diving right into his latest science. He argues that global warming is increasing extreme weather events and he knows this because extreme summer heat anomalies now cover about 10% of land area, up from 0.2% in the 50s. This is based on actual data from the last 60 years, not a computer model.

We’re in trouble but fortunately Hansen has felt an obligation to future generations (specifically his adorable grandchildren) to speak about climate change and the disastrous path we’re currently on. He uses his “climate dice” analogy to explain the probability for unseasonable warm or cool seasons. While it was previously 2:2:2 for hotter, average, and colder, current data shows the dice to be 4:1:1 respectively. One of those hotter sides represents extreme weather that was much less frequent in years past.

There’s Still Time to Mitigate Climate Change!

Dr. Hansen claims there’s still time to make changes and proposes a fee and dividend solution. The fee is collected at the source and the dividend is distributed equally to all legal residents with no part going to the government. It’s a conservative market-based solution. Although energy prices will rise, individuals will be in control of their energy choices and will be able to use their share of the dividend however they see fit, for non-energy uses for example. I like this idea but how will it be implemented?

Hansen also calls on government and private practice to support his efforts to clarify the science by speaking out and helping validate the science.