Monday, June 23, 2008


Recording of Live and Liberal 6/21/08
BY Terry Bankert 6/24/08
early edition
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** REFLECTIONS: Our lives are changing, global warming is but one part of our new equations.[trb] ***

20 YEARS AND NO LEADERSHIP ACTION!...CHANGE LEADERS! Exactly 20 years after warning America about global warming, a top NASA scientist said the situation has gotten so bad that the world's only hope is drastic action. [y] Why are we in such disagreement on this issue?[trb] "We have reached an emergency situation" said Hansen and warned lawmakers that it was almost too late to defuse what he referred to as the global warming ticking time bomb.[TH] What will diffusing look like? Who has the leadership on this issue?[trb]

20 YEARS TO ECOSYSTEM COLLAPSE..WHAT WILL HAPPEN FIRST? James Hansen told Congress on Monday that the world has long passed the "dangerous level" for greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and needs to get back to 1988 levels. He said Earth's atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.[y]

TRY GRAPE JAM AND BUTTER WITH IT "We're toast if we don't get on a very different path," Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press. "This is the last chance."[y] "The greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now," Hansen said, according to aWashington Post account of the hearing. "We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important." [w] Christopher Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute said Hansen's testimony made a crucial point: that rising temperatures were a problem for the present, not just for future generations. [w]

I TOLD YA SO Hansen brought global warming home to the public in June 1988 during a Washington heat wave, telling a Senate hearing that global warming was already here. To mark the anniversary, he testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming where he was called a prophet, and addressed a luncheon at the National Press Club where he was called a hero by former Sen. Tim Wirth, D-Colo., who headed the 1988 hearing.[y] The earth has been warmer in the first five months of this year than in any comparable period since measurements began 130 years ago, and the higher temperatures can now be attributed to a long-expected global warming trend linked to pollution, a space agency scientist reported today.[N]

JUNK THE COAL FIRED PLANTS To cut emissions, Hansen said coal-fired power plants that don't capture carbon dioxide emissions shouldn't be used in the United States after 2025, and should be eliminated in the rest of the world by 2030. That carbon capture technology is still being developed and not yet cost efficient for power plants.[y]

CONTINUING TO BURN FOSSIL FUEL WILL MAKE US ALL FOSSILS Burning fossil fuels like coal is the chief cause of man-made greenhouse gases. Hansen said the Earth's atmosphere has got to get back to a level of 350 parts of carbon dioxide per million. Last month, it was 10 percent higher: 386.7 parts per million.[y] On this anniversary of his first landmark testimony, Hansen once again appeared before Congress today. This afternoon, he told the House Select Committee for Energy Independence and Climate Change that the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies should be put on trial for crimes against humanity and nature. He argued that global warming science has been corrupted in the same way that tobacco companies once attempted to blur the links between smoking and cancer, and he called for government investments in alternative energy to help end our dependence. He also asserted that because we haven't done anything yet to curb our emissions, he is certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is already beyond the safe level – we're already at 385 parts per million of carbon dioxide, and it's increasing at a rate of 2ppm a year. The "safe" level, according to Hansen, is 350.[g]

PROTESTS ANYONE... Hansen said he'll testify on behalf of British protesters against new coal-fired power plants. Protesters have chained themselves to gates and equipment at sites of several proposed coal plants in England.[y] "The thing that I think is most important is to block coal-fired power plants," Hansen told the luncheon. "I'm not yet at the point of chaining myself but we somehow have to draw attention to this."[y]

SIMPLISTIC Frank Maisano, a spokesman for many U.S. utilities, including those trying to build new coal plants, said while Hansen has shown foresight as a scientist, his "stop them all approach is very simplistic" and shows that he is beyond his level of expertise.[y]

DEBATE HEATS UP The year of Hansen's original testimony was the world's hottest year on record. Since then, 14 years have been hotter, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.[y] Two decades later, Hansen spent his time on the question of whether it's too late to do anything about it. His answer: There's still time to stop the worst, but not much time.[y] "We see a tipping point occurring right before our eyes," Hansen told the AP before the luncheon. "The Arctic is the first tipping point and it's occurring exactly the way we said it would."[y] Hansen, echoing work by other scientists, said that in five to 10 years, the Arctic will be free of sea ice in the summer.[y] This anniversary comes just after a major setback for environmentalists, as a bill that would have begun to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions failed in the Senate. [w] Longtime global warming skeptic Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., citing a recent poll, said in a statement, "Hansen, (former Vice President) Gore and the media have been trumpeting man-made climate doom since the 1980s. But Americans are not buying it."[y] But Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., committee chairman, said, "Dr. Hansen was right. Twenty years later, we recognize him as a climate prophet."[y] an op-ed, NYT columnist Thomas Friedman offers up what he believes should be the next president’s energy policy: Oil is poisoning our climate and our geopolitics, and here is how we’re going to break our addiction: We’re going to set a floor price of $4.50 a gallon for gasoline and $100 a barrel for oil. And that floor price is going to trigger massive investments in renewable energy — particularly wind, solar panels and solar thermal. And we’re also going to go on a crash program to dramatically increase energy efficiency, to drive conservation to a whole new level and to build more nuclear power. And I want every Democrat and every Republican to join me in this endeavor. Friedman likened President Bush’s call for more domestic oil exploration to the pleas of crack dealer. After diagnosing America as “addicted to oil, Friedman writes, Bush’s plan seems to be “Get more addicted to oil.” [e] –END

Posted here by Terry Bankert ... 06/24/08
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[y] Yahoo News [trb] Comments of Terry Bankert to include CAP headlines
[w] Washington Post
[th] The Herald
[N] New York Times
[e] Earth2Tech



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