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James Hansen: A “Fittest” to Remember

Posted on 05 July 2013 by Jerry

If you were a scientist, what would you do if you discovered your planet was following the fate of Venus whose water evaporated creating a runaway greenhouse effect that left a 900°F atmosphere of sulfur dioxide and sulfuric acid droplets?  What if your next forty years of research supported your fears and you knew that people on planet Earth had to make dramatic changes in order to survive?  What if decades passed and nothing was done?

You would be frustrated like Dr. James Hansen, now just retired, who headed the Goddard Institute for Space Studies for thirty-two years.  Dr. Hansen has continually warned the world of the impending disaster known as climate change.  Over many years he has spoken out in academic and scientific, governmental/congressional settings and the public press to transfer his knowledge to others.

Follow this link to the tape of James Hansen’s presentation at a 2012 TED conference.  Go to http://www.ted.com/speakers/james_hansen.html move to the right of the page and next to Dr. Hansen’s picture select “James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change”.  This exceptional presentation summarizes in a clear and straightforward way what Dr. Hansen knows about climate change.

Among many things he describes the changes he and his associates foresaw and forewarned about in 1981 that have all come to pass.  He elaborates on how CO2 allows heat energy to come to the planet from the sun and yet will not let it escape.  He explains the energy imbalance of the planet (more energy coming in than going out) that is gaining extra energy each day equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima type bombs exploded 365 days per year. He concludes we must reduce our CO2 from today’s atmospheric 400 parts per million (see post of May 26, 2013 “Déjà Vu – 400PPM 2.2 Million Years Ago”) back to 350 parts per million to restore the planet’s proper energy balance.

In this month’s posting of Chapter 16 – Transcending Egocentricity from Beyond Animal, Ego and Time, we observe that evolution is forward looking and comment on the true meaning of “survival of the fittest”.  We suggest a completely different reading of the phrase based on the evolutionary process.  Further, the “fittest” are those people that “can demonstrate mastery in the present and future…who exhibit an ability to work with and lead others” and “have achieved the greatest level of consciousness and prescience by establishing future directions and taking actions that produce the greatest good for the greatest number.”

These “fittest” are the people we revere and remember.  Dr. James Hansen, will be one of those people.  Although he has much left to do, he should be listed with the other people who have dedicated their professional and personal lives to the betterment of the rest of us and all following generations.

Use for following links for further information:

http://www.ted.com/speakers/james_hansen.html (Select “James Hansen: Why I must speak out about climate change”)

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/presentations.shtml (this gives you a link to the presentations and testimony of Dr. Hansen from 2004 to 2012)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2013/apr/29/climate-scientist-james-hansen-legacy

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/science/james-e-hansen-retiring-from-nasa-to-fight-global-warming.html?ref=science&_r=0

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