Archive for Tuesday, September 23, 2008

NASA climate expert warns Kansans of dire consequences of global warming

James Hansen answers questions from the public about global warming on Tuesday at the Kansas Wind and Renewable Energy Conference in Topeka. A capacity crowd filled the Ramada Inn to hear Hansen, one of the nation's foremost climate experts, explain climate change and the factors that raise temperatures on Earth. In the foreground is Kansas Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson.

James Hansen answers questions from the public about global warming on Tuesday at the Kansas Wind and Renewable Energy Conference in Topeka. A capacity crowd filled the Ramada Inn to hear Hansen, one of the nation's foremost climate experts, explain climate change and the factors that raise temperatures on Earth. In the foreground is Kansas Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson.

September 23, 2008


NASA climate expert warns of dire results of global warming

Experts in green energy hit the state capitol on Tuesday. The keynote speaker was a climate expert from NASA. Enlarge video

As sea level rises because of melting ice sheets like this one in Greenland, so do the risks to the more than 1 billion people living in costal areas around the world, warns James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

As sea level rises because of melting ice sheets like this one in Greenland, so do the risks to the more than 1 billion people living in costal areas around the world, warns James Hansen, of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

— One day after a scientist told Kansas leaders not to worry about global warming, one of the leading experts on climate change stated Tuesday that if carbon dioxide emissions continue to increase it will eventually mean the end of life.

"If we don't get this thing under control we are going to destroy the creation," said James Hansen, who heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and was one of the first scientists to raise the alarm about global warming in the 1980s.

Speaking to more than 500 people at the Kansas Wind and Renewable Energy Conference, Hansen called for policymakers to phase out coal-burning power plants by 2030. This will reduce carbon dioxide emissions that he said have already caused serious and possibly irreversible damage to Earth.

"We do have a planetary emergency," Hansen said.

Hansen said some scientists claim global warming is part of a natural climate cycle by pointing to past eras of higher temperatures.

But Hansen said the CO2 increases over the past few decades have been caused by humans burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and natural gas. Along with the increase in CO2 have come dramatic temperature shifts and environmental distress signals, such as the melting of glaciers, rising sea levels and expansion of deserts, he said.

"Humans are now controlling the mechanisms for climate change," he said.

He said many energy companies try to confuse the issue in the public's mind and are successful because some of the environmental changes take decades to detect. He accused those fossil fuel companies of being guilty of "crimes against humanity and nature."

Hansen said the increase of CO2 must and can be reversed. In addition to removing coal-burning electric plants, he called on increased use of renewable energy and nuclear energy.

On Monday, research scientist Roy Spencer, who wrote "Climate Confusion," said at a Kansas Chamber of Commerce event that burning fossil fuels wasn't the cause of climate change, and that even if it was, the environment would be able to absorb the changes.

But Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson, who introduced Hansen at the renewable energy conference, said, "The overwhelming amount of scientific evidence is that climate change is real and we have reached a point that if we don't do something about it, future generations will be adversely affected."

Parkinson said businesses that deal with climate change will be the ones that thrive.

"Companies that will survive the next 10, 20, 30, 50 years are companies that recognize these changes are taking place and will take advantage of them," he said.

Hansen called on the United States to take the lead in reducing CO2 emissions, noting that it has produced the most. He said at some point humans will have to do without fossil fuels because there is a finite supply.

"Why not do it a little sooner and save the planet in the meantime?" he said.

Hansen also praised Kansas politicians who earlier this year blocked the construction of two coal-fired power plants in western Kansas.

"At least you have leaders who are trying to do the right thing," he said.


Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow, 41 comments and it is only 9:15 in the morning yet!!Actually, this whole issue is much like the old Chicken Little joke, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!!!". In truth, none of these experts really knows what is going to happen. We know from historical perspective and scientific study what we THINK has happened in the past, and if that knowledge is valid, it might offer some credence to either side of this comical debate. But in many ways it is much like religion, what you believe is undeniable truth. But there are a range of beliefs. And if we were to really be able to know the truth, probably most of the verbage and heat that has been expended on these people trying to do this political wrestling match would be held up as nonsense. But one truth is evident, there are two "sides" each trying to discredit the other, both with a pile of "statistics" and both ready to go to war over this issue. Of note, there are three forms of deception, Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.Since there will never be any resolution of this issue in any of our lifetimes or any of the many generations to come, it is an issue that offers the combatents to forever posture and pontificate, to proclaim their "truth" and seek any means to bash their opposite advocates, much like any religious debate. In my worthless opinion, I choose to just laugh at them and let them continue to vent and rage.

Bruce Liddel 9 years, 8 months ago

Want to do some real science in your own kitchen, and resolve the issue of ice melting and water levels rising (or not)? Find an antique drinking device known as a "glass", one made with plain clear cylindrical real glass that has decent optical qualities. Obtain a grease pencil, and another glass or cup (made of any material, clear, translucent, or opaque) that has a significantly smaller diameter than your glass. Pour a few inches of tap water (add sea salt if you must, but you'll have to have a really cold freezer) into the smaller cup, and put it in your freezer. Wait until it is frozen solid. Remove the frozen cup from the freezer and allow to thaw only until you can remove the large solid ice cylinder from the smaller cup. Add water (fresh or salty) to the larger real glass, and introduce the ice cylinder. Allow to settle. With the grease pencil, mark the outside of the glass at the waterline (not the level of the top of the ice cylinder, but the liquid water line. Purists will mark a the bottom of the meniscus. Cover the glass tightly to prevent evaporation or infiltration of additional water by condensation. Allow the ice cylinder to melt completely. Observe what, if anything, changed with respect to the water line. Draw your own conclusions. You may wish to keep what you have learned a secret so that those who believe differently don't try to vilify you.

search4truth 9 years, 8 months ago

More than 31,000 scientists across the U.S. including more than 9,000 Ph.D.s in fields such as atmospheric science, climatology, Earth science, environment and dozens of other specialties have signed a petition rejecting "global warming," the assumption that the human production of greenhouse gases is damaging Earth's climate. "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate," the petition states. "Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth."WND- May 19, 2008

jmadison 9 years, 8 months ago

This is the same guy who said that global cooling was coming in the 1970's. He is a successful self promoter.Can someone with a degree in physics or chemistry explain that if ice actually has an increased molecular volume and when it melts, the water actually takes up less volume as a liquid than when solid, why would the sea levels rise rather than fall?

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 8 months ago

Mixolydian brings up a very valid point. Politically motivated scientists get the news story and headlines they want, and are never called to task when it turns out that they were completely wrong. The same phenomena is observable throughout our history and into the present day in the form of charletans who predicted the end of the world. They've been wrong so far (including the amazingly innacurate Nostradamus)!==============================================Hansen called on the United States to take the lead in reducing CO2 emissions, noting that it has produced the most. He said at some point humans will have to do without fossil fuels because there is a finite supply."Why not do it a little sooner and save the planet in the meantime?" he said.++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++This line of thinking is also very dangerous, because it demonizes the process of cost/benefit analysis. An analogy behind this logic is "You know you're heading for an iceberg. Do you wait until you know how big it is before you change course?" Because of rhetoric like this, anyone who stops and thinks "Maybe we should analyze the problem before we throw gobs of taxpayer money at it" is labeled as a cruel, uncaring, Earth-hating scum.He is right about nuclear power, though. It is an affordable, clean-burning power source with a lot of bad publicity that, unfortunately, has kept new reactors from being built in this country for the last couple of decades.-I may disagree with what you say, but I agree with your right to say it.

rtwngr 9 years, 8 months ago

One time people said the polar ice cap over Greenland was melting at an alarming rate due to global warming. Then they discovered that geothermal activity was melting it from underneath. Hmmm? Then they said that air pollutants was causing global warming despite the fact that global temperatures fell from 1947 to 1978 despite the exponential growth in our industrial sector. Next they said that carbon dioxide emissions were causing a "greenhouse" effect never mind that volcanic activity around the globe emits more pollutants into the atmosphere than humans four fold. Save your drivel about flat earthers and bible thumpers. Give me irrefutable evidence.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 9 years, 8 months ago

In postscript to my previous post, I neglected to mention one very salient item ("Oh must you!!!) One absolute fact remains. The current energy resources we have (oil,coal, even nuclear (we only got so much uranium!) are finite. (Limited for those of you from Topeka). We are using them up and when they are gone, so are we. What the stock market is doing will become a dead issue (pardon the pun) Unless there are much more world-wide dedicated efforts to create alternate forms of energy and quit debating useless issues, it is all a moot point . We need to develop renewable sources of energy to provide transportation, living essentials, and food production, or we are all dead anyway.

geekin_topekan 9 years, 8 months ago

And fire ants invade!!They have been moving north for years and are coming to eat your pets.Armerdillers will be living under your porch and eating the cat food!!Killerbees KILLERBEES!!And crazy people!!There is a reason they flock in droves to Gainesville FL. And Phoeniz AZ.Think we have a homeless problem now?

bondmen 9 years, 8 months ago

And there will be dire consequences if we go off half cocked on some cockamamie scheme to stifle economic growth and severely limit human population growth via government mandated edicts when we learn there are normal and natural cycles in the sun's and in the ocean floor's activity.What does this taxpayer funded scientist say caused the earth's past ice ages? How does he explain those ice ages ended with substantial global warming before man's industrial activity even began?

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 8 months ago

Jmadison: I don't have a physics or chemistry degree, but I think mathematics may have the answer here (or at least I hope so, that's my degree!). I believe that ocean levels are theorized to rise due to the existing ice mass that exists above the water combined with the submerged mass. If all ice existed submerged underneath the water, then when it all melted into liquid that mass now has a lower volume and sea levels decrease. But add into that the mass above the water, which is not much relative to the mass under the water, but is still probably enough to offset the decrease in volume from a solid changing into a liquid and, thus, raise the overall sea level.This is mainly conjecture. If anyone else knows better, please feel free to correct me.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 8 months ago

Topeka will be beachfront property?Groovy.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

cthulhu, you are correct. To simplfy the metaphor, the water level is rising because the ice that is melting is not yet in the ocean. If the ocean is a bucket, the melting ice is not like ice floating in the bucket; it's more like there is a large rock in the bucket sticking out of the water, and on top of that rock is a bunch of ice that is melting. As the ice melts, it runs down the rock, raising the level water in the bucket.Thanks for attempting to turn this into a real discussion instead of a name calling fest. You can place bets on how an article on global warming will bring out the usual suspects, honking like a bunch of geese that science is all screwed up and doesn't know what its talking about. Reminds me of the tobacco lawyers telling us for decades that smoking was not scientifically proven to cause cancer. Didn't change the outcome, did it? For the few reading this who might be interested in seeing what the real consensus on climate change is (and despite all of the hate thrown at him, Hansen is still a part of this camp), I suggest you read the IPCC report, check out the website run by the climate scientist community:, and think who you would rather place your bets on.

conservativepunker 9 years, 8 months ago

Ah, Global Warming. Al Gore brand Kool-Aid.

search4truth 9 years, 8 months ago

Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile -- the list goes on and on. No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously," a degree in one year, ladies and gentlemen.

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 8 months ago

Science will save us all! Thank God, oh God doesn't exist and its stupid to believe in a deity anyway. Right!? If the high priest of global warming say its so who am I to question but seriously I think this is just another way to extract money from the naive public.

bizarre 9 years, 8 months ago

dont worry that the American dollar just fell 2.2% this weekDont worry that global warming is ruining the ozoneDont worry that gas prices and credit are destroying our economyDont worry all our American jobs are being outsourced overseas.Dont worry the American auto industry is about to bustDont worry all the banks are about to foldDont worry there is an American health care crisesdont worry get on welfare be happy.....

gr 9 years, 8 months ago

"Parkinson said businesses that deal with climate change will be the ones that thrive."Something makes me think of those who will take advantage of the mortgage issue will soon be ones who thrive.bart:There will always be somebody saying that global warming is true. That doesn't make it true. At one time, people said the world was flat despite all the evidence that is was round. Sounds kinda silly now, doesn't it? What side of history will you be on?"That doesn't mean anything. It's like saying today is rainy -so Lawrence is a rain forest."You mean current weather doesn't mean anything? Now, what is "current"? How many years?

TXCraig1 9 years, 8 months ago

For those who still don't think AGW is a religion, this sure sounds a lot like preaching fire and brimstone. Someone should remind the high priest of AGW that Earth was A LOT warmer and there was A LOT more atmospheric CO2 in the past than today, and it did not "destroy the creation," it enabled it!Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson: "The overwhelming amount of scientific evidence is that [antrhopogenic] climate change is real" -- and an example of this evidence would be...

blakus 9 years, 8 months ago

It doesn't matter what anyone claims about climate change. Big business wants oil to be consumed and America has already become hooked. We all need petroleum counseling.

notajayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

banned (Anonymous) says: "yeah- POS like parkay and bondwomen would force you to learn about god at gun point."Uh huh. Except it was the NASA 'scientist' who said "we are going to destroy the creation." CreationStrange choice of words for a scientist.By the way, I hear this NASA 'scientist' knows where you can get a great deal on surplus O-rings that can be used to weatherproof your home to save energy.

Boston_Corbett 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow. The LJW is on top of it. Life is going to end? Maybe this deserves a "Breaking News" banner?And can I get a refund for the remainder of my subscription?

bondmen 9 years, 8 months ago

We taxpayer and foundation funded scientists are here to save you from yourselves - to keep you from getting hot under the collar. It will require you to cooperate with us in our grand, all encompassing, comprehensive program to reduce emissions tied to human activity. We only need access to everything you do while you are awake. Where you are, where you go and what you do when you get there. Our analysis of your personal habits and lifestyle will allow us to show you ways you can act responsibly and at the same time improve the global climate situation. This program will be voluntary at first and if participation is inadequate to bring down the temperature it will be required!

StreetView 9 years, 8 months ago

global warming i think is cause by too many paint ball guns

hearnb 9 years, 8 months ago

So, Hansen is "one of the leading experts on climate change" while Spencer is merely "a scientist"? Why not "one of the world's leading experts on atmospheric temperature" which is certainly true -- Spencer and Christy are developers and maintainers of the UAH MSU record which, in conjunction with that of RSS represent the broadest sampling and most accurate global mean air temperature available. Coincidentally these scientists honestly state they are unable to identify dramatic enhanced greenhouse or any carbon dioxide-driven emergency (not good for their personal wealth or media profile but they don't seem troubled by that). Someone at the Lawrence Journal-World is guilty of some pretty hefty bias in the way these articles were presented.

devobrun 9 years, 8 months ago

James Hansen is a PR specialist.Twenty years ago he reported to congress that the earth was warming and the subsequent 10 years confirmed his assertion. By 2000 the temperature had risen and the PR machine cranked up. There are many people who have interest in the discussion for there own purposes. Big oil for $ and committed socialists who want free markets to collapse and everybody in between.Hansen knows this and has done a wonderful job promoting the scare. He is a winner of awards, including the million $ David award. He travels all over the world and is treated like royalty in certain regions. The man is living the arrogant scientist's dream.The last 10 years have seen steady or falling temperatures. He has only stepped up the scary rhetoric.Other cracks in the computer models have shown up, such as a completely missed prediction of tropospheric temperatures.Jim Hansen is a salesman, selling fear. His motives are his own and I don't know what they are. Fame and fortune are a possibility. So what should we believe?First and most important is that modern day experts have been found by news media and inflated by the publicity to a status that is unwarranted. The press has the power to make or break a scientist. If the scientist can produce copy that sells newspapers, then that scientist will be in the newspapers, meet with the chancellor, be included in local and international parties, and funding boondoggles.Thus, we have experts all over the place, in every field. Newspapers have no expertize in evaluating the veracity of the scientists claims, so they just publish the garbage. When the claims are scary, the public sees the movie on TNT, Weather Channel, or History Channel and wants politicians to do something. In come the experts. The experts get funded. They get free tickets to the basketball game, dinner in Kansas City with local movers and shakers. Ultimately they rename a building after you. Heady stuff for the scientist who wouldn't publish anything in opposition to the scary claims. Nope, the scientist is caught in a trap. He is moving up the university and scientific ladder and any paper that questions the prevailing wisdom is bad for him, his program and the university.It is all PR folks. The answer is that nobody knows how to predict the climate, or modify the climate, or even what the climate is. It is sloppy and full of crap, just like the financial markets. Things get sophisticated until nobody knows what is going on. It starts with dishonesty. It continues with dishonesty. It is covered by people who are dishonest. Global warming is a lie. It is a lie that otherwise fine people have fallen into. It is sad. I left the field 12 years ago because I couldn't take the hypocrisy anymore. I had other ways of making $. I know a lot of scientists who are still in it. They probably live in fear that they will be found out.

Bob_Keeshan 9 years, 8 months ago

Reading through these comments was like reading the minutes of an Ostrich Support Group meeting.

David Albertson 9 years, 8 months ago

There will always be somebody saying that global warming isn't true. That doesn't make it untrue. At one time, people said the world was flat despite all the evidence that is was round. Sounds kinda silly now, doesn't it? What side of history will you be on?

TriSigmaKS 9 years, 8 months ago

Could we SERIOUSLY require emissions testing here in Kansas? The cars are emitting disgusting fumes around here and it needs to change.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 8 months ago

bliddel:Oh, I get it: you think we are talking about the melting north pole ice cap as causing the sea level to rise, but I'm talking about the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps! The Arctic Ocean on the north pole is disappearing, which causes real global climate changes due to the changes in the earth's albedo, resulting in more rapid warming of the planet, but it doesn't raise the sea level, for the reasons outlined in your experiment.The Greenland and Antarctic ice caps are the ones that are melting that cause the sea rises that I'm talking about in my bucket analogy. And yes, this is science. Check out NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment--GRACE ( ) that studies the melting of these ice caps and the huge volumes of water being released into the oceans right now. Colorado researchers have made the following estimates from the data being collected: from 1997-2002, 19 cubic MILES of water was melting off the Greenland ice cap every year. But that increased to 57.5 cubic MILES per year every year from 2002 to 2005. The Antarctic ice cap is only losing a "mere" 36 cubic miles/year 2002 - 2005 due to it being colder. You can care to ignore the numbers and reality that's happening, just like you can smoke--but don't expect to be immune from the results!

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 8 months ago

Thanks for the clarification/simplification! Way easier to understand than what I was saying.I truly appreciate your other comments also, and look forward to many lively discussions! (as opposed to insult-fests)What a great website! Trolling online newspaper forums almost had me believing that objectivism truly was dead. My hope is re-kindled!

Mixolydian 9 years, 8 months ago

Apocalyptic predictions by scientists have been made in the past with one consistent outcome. Why haven't we all died from:over populationglobal coolingacid rainozone depletionsaccharinDDTcyclamatesmercury in our tunared dye food coloringmercury dental fillingsflouridecancer from cell phonesliving next to power linesetc., etc., blah blah woof woofAccording to reputable scientists we should have all been metaphysically challenged by now.

BigPrune 9 years, 8 months ago

Why hasn't the coastline started submerging yet? Hansen has a degree in astronomy, physics and mathematics and is an advisor to Al Gore. George Soros loves him. How does this make him an expert on climate?This guy has no credibility.

jaywalker 9 years, 8 months ago

Planet's been around for billions of years. Industrial Revolution has been going on for 150 years, give or take. Give me a break. Any global warming going on is the climate flexing it's muscles and I highly doubt we mere mortals can do a damn thing about it. That being said, going green is still a good thing.

tribalzendancer 9 years, 8 months ago

Wow, judging by the number of posts that deny the serious consequences of climate change it's obvious this website is based in Kansas.This is sad, but we are one of the 'fly-over' states for a reason. Please read some books people, not just "the good book". Or watch some films on the subject:

jumpin_catfish 9 years, 8 months ago

Al Gore Urges 'Civil Disobedience' Toward Coal Plants,2933,427421,00.htmlGore is insane at worst and obsessed at best and now has just declared war on those who dare question him and what's truly frighting is that he was nearly elected president. If this doesn't work the way he wants what's next? Climate change religion, the new fundamentalism.

notajayhawk 9 years, 8 months ago

banned (Anonymous) says: "I bet you believe that some god made the earth 6000 years ago and dinosaurs are satanic lizards::.get a brain- read a book other than yer bible."And one more time - it was Hansen who was quoted referring to our world as "the creation."

gr 9 years, 8 months ago

Oh Timmy,The people who post on a website do not necessarily have anything to do with where it is based.Denying that which has not facts to back it up does not imply lack of reading but with those promoting such fiction it may be so.Misleading people that there are those denying "serious consequences of climate change" does not make one seem intelligent. No one is denying the "serious consequences of climate change", but that there IS any threat of climate change, that humans have in some minute way has caused it, that humans can do anything to stop what has been happening for thousands of years.Perhaps you should read something besides promoted by those who want to harm people, to control them, to micromanage every little thing in their life to give just certain people that feeling of a "power surge".

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