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James Hansen's Travel Report: Geophysical Boundaries and Climate Change


Dr. James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies has returned from his recent trip abroad with a comprehensive report on the need to define a global climate strategy:
Geophysical boundary conditions must be considered in defining a global climate strategy. The Kyoto Protocol and proposed extensions are an exercise in self-delusion and a prescription for global disaster.
In July, Dr. Hansen sent a letter to the Prime Minister of Japan, host of G8 conference, warning that we'd exceeded safe C02 levels (safe being below 350 ppm; current levels exceed 385 ppm). His new report begins with a recounting of his meeting with the German Minister of the Environment, Sigmar Gabriel, which included a warning about the use of coal-fired plants:
I am grateful for Minister Gabriel’s generosity with his time, and I have no doubt about his sincerity in dealing with climate change. However, we did not come to a common understanding about the implications of geophysical boundary conditions on fossil fuels. The stark policy implication of the data, I assert, is urgency for a moratorium on coal-fired power plants.
Fig. 1. (a) carbon sources, and (b) CO2 scenarios if coal emissions are phased out linearly over 2010-2030 period; return below 350 ppm can be hastened via reforestation and carbon sequestration in soil, and further via capture of CO2 at gas-fired power plants.

The report continues with the United Kingdom and offers Hansen's concerns about the problems inherent with geophysical boundaries while attempting to define a global strategy and his concern about the countries' position on carbon sequestration and "clean coal"
:
The approach in the UK involved a number of people. At a dinner for VIPs organized by George Polk, I made the case re coal, that a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants is the essential first action.
In a response from the UK government key phrases were as follows:

“For the UK, the starting point…is to recognize the central role of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS), particularly given the EU’s ambition that ‘cap and trade’ should form an integral part of a global climate change deal.” “A key priority for us is therefore to see this scheme strengthened…”

Doctor Hansen: "the letter continues with sobering self-deception about how mandating ‘carbon-capture-ready’ will solve the coal problem."

The report can be found at this link:

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20080804_TripReport.pdf