More Scope For James Hansen

What do overpopulation, global warming, and James Hansen have in common?  Apparently nothing if we are to read James Hansen’s excerpts in Newsweek from his new book, Storms of My Grandchildren

Credits and Appreciation for James Hansen

Everyone should have the greatest respect for anyone warning of the dangers of global warming, but here are some quotations from Mr. Hansen whose credentials include: one of the first to publicize the possible cataclysmic results of global warming, a member of the National Academy of Sciences, adjunct professor at Columbia University and Columbia’s Earth Institute, and director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

  • I believe the biggest obstacle to solving global warming is the role of money in politics, the undue sway of special interests
  • But let me tell you: President Obama does not get it.  He and his key advisers are subject to heavy pressures, and so far the approach has been “Let’s compromise”
  • So far, the effects of climate change have been limited because of climate-system inertia, but inertia is not a true friend.  As amplifying feedbacks begin to drive the climate toward tipping points, that inertia makes it harder to reverse direction
  • Continued growth of greenhouse gases in the near term will make that result (global chaos) practically inevitable, out of our children’s and grandchildren’s control
  • The problem with governments is not scientific ability. . . Instead, the government’s problem is politics – politics as usual
  • You can recognize right away that our government is not taking a strategic approach to solve the climate problem
  • Our planet, with its remarkable array of life, is in imminent danger of crashing.  Yet our politicians are not dashing forward.  They hesitate; they hang back
  • This will be the most urgent fight of our lives


All of the Above Has Merit But

With all due respect, Mr. Hansen, the biggest obstacle to global warming is not money in politics, but influential scientists such as yourself refusing to acknowledge one of the seminal causes of global warming, which is overpopulation and the tremendous rate of increases we see in the world each day – 227,000 people. 

That is  the ultimate force to be reckoned with!

So blaming President Obama for not “getting it”, when in fact you fail to get it also, and in so doing compromise both logic and common sense, does not help the cause of global warming.

And while climate-system inertia certainly plays a pivotal role, no role is more critical than the inertia of overpopulation, driving this planet even faster towards climate change tipping points, which will only accelerate that which will soon be irreversible.

A More Inclusive Strategy

And please, do not criticize others for their lack of strategic approach, when you yourself lack the vision and foresight to include overpopulation as one of the main causes of climate change.  Without that acknowledgement, you have substantially diminished the strategic approach you advocate.

Finally, climate change is most urgent and we are in imminent danger, and because of that threat we need all the tools at our disposal to free ourselves from the path of self-destruction. 

When you, in your own words, fail to “dash forward” or ” hesitate and hang back” by not including the problem of overpopulation in any discussion of global warming, you do the cause, yourself, the United States and the rest of the world a great disservice.

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