The potential for Dr. Hansen and our group to communicate with decision makers and the public depends on maintaining our high scientific reputation and productivity. That is one reason it is important for us to continue to be at the forefront of climate research.
However, there is a more fundamental reason: good policymaking depends on a good realistic understanding of the science. This is illustrated well by current paper (Assessing “dangerous climate change”: Required reduction of carbon emissions to protect young people, future generations and nature), in which we make a persuasive case that the popular target of limiting CO2 emissions to 1000 GtC (fossil fuel emissions through 2012 are 370 GtC) would actually be a prescription for disaster. Clearly this issue needs to be understood soon, before reality makes the larger emissions inevitable.
One of the strengths of Dr. Hansen’s research has been an ability to recognize the significance of new research opportunities when they arise and move quickly to interpret their significance...
Our aim is to help people understand global climate change — and how the factors that drive climate are changing.
We start with climate diagnostics — people are usually most interested in climate change itself. But cause-and-effect analysis requires also data on climate forcings (which drive climate change) and feedbacks (which amplify or diminish climate change)...
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Slide 1: Frequency of occurrence of local temperature anomalies (relative to 1951-80 mean)
Slide 2: Global Energy Consumption
Slide 3: Total Wildland Acres Burned in U.S.
Slide 4: Surface Temperature Change in last 50 years