Can we defuse The Global Warming Time Bomb R20070804E by James E. Hansen NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

By James E. Hansen NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies Columbia University Earth Institute

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A. and T. Novakov, J. Atmos. , 9, 347, 1989. 10. Black carbon climate effects: J. Hansen and L. Nazarenko, to be submitted to PNAS, 2003. 11. CO2 emissions data: (a) G. Marland & T. Boden, CO2 Information Center, Oak Ridge Natl. htm); (b) British Petroleum 52nd Statistical Review of World Energy, 2003; (c) Some analysts argue that the reported decline of coal use in China beginning in the late 1990s was overstated, while others argue that the reported coal use for 2002 (28% higher than 2001) is exaggerated.

12. T. , Cambridge Univ. ch; (b) IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios, N. , Cambridge Univ. , 2000. 13. CO2 potential of oil, gas and coal resources: J. , Science, 213, 957, 1981. The contributions of coal, oil and gas to airborne CO2 in Table 2 and the update here account for the history of emissions and the decay time of CO2 incremental additions. About the author: Dr. James Hansen heads the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which is a division of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and a unit of the Columbia University Earth Institute located on the Columbia campus in New York City.

Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue, and energy sources such as “synfuels”, shale oil and tar sands were receiving strong consideration. Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions. Scenarios that accurately fit recent and near-future observations have the best chance of bringing all of the important players into the discussion, and they also are what is needed for the purpose of providing policy-makers the most effective and efficient options to stop global warming.

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