“If we burn all the fossil fuels, we would send the planet back to an ice-free state.” — James Hansen, NASA
A new investigation of the ancient climate record shows that time to stop climate change is running out — maybe sooner than scientists had thought.
That’s the message from an international team of scientists reporting today at the American Geophysical Union annual meeting in San Francisco (#AGU11 on Twitter).
James Hansen is director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, and was one of the scientists on the study. He says that even the accepted benchmark of a 2-degree Celsius rise (3.6 F) in temperature that might result from doubling of current carbon dioxide levels would have a much greater impact than was previously thought.
“Once the ice sheets begin to disintegrate, then you’ve got an unstable shoreline, which is going to be continuing to change over time,” said Hansen in a presentation to fellow scientists. “It would be a mess for those people living at that time to deal with. And it looks like that time will be this century.” Continue reading