The New Zealand Herald‘s economics editor Brian Fallow explores the science behind Dr James Hansen’s calls for policy change and looks at what steps need to be taken to mitigate our impact on the environment.
An excerpt (read in full here):
Dr James Hansen is a grandfather and he worries about the kind of world his grandchildren will inherit.
He is also an eminent climate scientist – director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and one of the first scientists to sound the alarm on global warming back in the 1980s – so he worries in particular about the kind of climate they will have to live their lives in.
“It is an intergenerational issue,” he says. “Our parents didn’t know they were causing a problem. Now we can only pretend we don’t know.”
It is an issue bedevilled by two gaps, chasms really.
One is about the science.
“There is a huge gap between what is understood by the relevant scientific community and what is known by the people who need to know – the public. That gap has actually increased in the last several years, partly because our knowledge of the science has changed and it has become clear the matter is more urgent than we realised even five years ago.”