No 2094 Posted by fw, November 09, 2017
“Given that governments were instituted to serve the interests of the public, when climate change threatens the public it is appropriate that governments take actions to protect their citizens. Given that COP-23 is officially hosted by small island nations whose existence is threatened by climate change, it is appropriate to raise the issue of global climate justice and the fossil fuel industry. … I have come to note that greenhouse gas climate forcings are accelerating, not decelerating, and sea level rise and ocean acidification are accelerating. We confront a mortal threat, now endangering, only at first, the very existence of island and low-lying nations in the Pacific and around the planet. Accordingly, ambition must be increased and enforced.” —James Hansen
The following text appears to have been part or all of a speech by Dr. Hansen delivered at COP-23 in Bonn, Germany. Endnotes follow the text.
Following the Endnotes, a link to a 23-minute video featuring presentations by Dr. Hansen and his granddaughter Sophie. The content is quite technical.
Below is a repost of the text with my added subheadings, highlighting, and some bulleted and numbered reformatting. To read the original text as it appears on Dr. Hansen’s blog, click on the following linked title.
Small island nations deserve climate justice, and COP-23 is the place to raise the issue
Given that governments were instituted to serve the interests of the public, when climate change threatens the public it is appropriate that governments take actions to protect their citizens. Given that COP-23 is officially hosted by small island nations whose existence is threatened by climate change, it is appropriate to raise the issue of global climate justice and the fossil fuel industry.
Hansen — I have not come to Bonn to dwell on the crisis or the injustice of climate change
I have come not to dwell on the growing climate crisis – though this crisis is now more profound than any we have ever faced. I have come not to dwell on the injustice of climate change – though the enormity of that injustice – to young people and future generations, to indigenous people, to fellow species – cannot be overstated.
I have come to note “We confront a mortal threat”
I have come to note that greenhouse gas climate forcings are accelerating, not decelerating, and sea level rise and ocean acidification are accelerating. We confront a mortal threat, now endangering, only at first, the very existence of island and low-lying nations in the Pacific and around the planet.
Ambition must be increased and enforced
The science is clear – CO2 is driving global warming
The science is clear. CO2 is the principal control knob that controls global temperature. Global warming already drives increasing climate extremes. Tropical cyclones, typhoons and hurricanes left wakes of devastation in the Pacific between 2013 and 2016 and recently in the Caribbean – and there is worse to come, unless we act with resolve and without further delay.
We are at risk of handing young people “a climate system out of control”
And delayed response of climate – caused by inertia of the deep ocean and massive ice sheets – means that our actions today may hand young people a climate system out of their control. Consequences, including loss of island nations and major coastal cities, could be locked in. Subtropics in summer and the tropics year-round could become unbearable. Mass migrations could make the planet nearly ungovernable.
We are entering a period of consequences and are in danger of being too late
Churchill once said: “The era of procrastination, of half-measures, of soothing and baffling expedients is coming to its close. In its place we are entering a period of consequences.”
Today we are well into that period; we are now in danger of being too late.
A call to action —
The period of consequence requires honesty and courage. Nothing less will do.
 Suva Declaration on Climate Change, Sept. 4, 2015 (available at http://pacificidf.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/PACIFIC-ISLAND-DEVELOPMENT-FORUM-SUVA-DECLARATION-ON-CLIMATE-CHANGE.v2.pdf).
 Hansen, J., M. Sato, P. Kharecha, K. von Schuckmann, D.J. Beerling, J. Cao, S. Marcott, V. Masson-Delmotte, M.J. Prather, E.J. Rohling, J. Shakun, P. Smith, A. Lacis, G. Russell, and R. Ruedy, 2017: Young people’s burden: requirement of negative CO2 emissions. Earth Syst. Dynam., 8, 577-616, doi:10.5194/esd-8-577-2017.
 Bustamante, M., Robledo-Abad, C., Harper, R., Mbow, C., Ravindranath, N.H., Sperling, F., Haberl, H., de Siqueira Pinto, A. and Smith, P.: Co-benefits, trade-offs, barriers and policies for greenhouse gas mitigation in the Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector, Global Change Biology, 20, 3270–3290, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12591, 2014.
 Smith, P.: Soil carbon sequestration and biochar as negative emission technologies, Global Change Biology, 22, 1315-1324, 2016.
 Taylor, L.L., J. Quirk, R.M.S. Thorley, P.A. Kharecha, J. Hansen, A. Ridgwell, M.R. Lomas, S.A. Banwart, D.J. Beerling, 2016: Enhanced weathering strategies for stabilizing climate and averting ocean acidification. Nature Climate Change, 6, 402-406. doi:10.1038/nclimate2882.
 See, for example, County of Marin et. al, v. Chevron Corp., et. al, Case. No. C17-01227, Marin County, California, Superior Court (July 17, 2017) available at https://www.sheredling.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/2017-07-17-MARIN-CO-Sea-Level-Rise-Complaint-5bFINAL-ENDORSED5d.pdf.
 See, for example, Andrew Gage and Margaretha Wewerinke, Taking Climate Justice into Our Own Hands: a Model Climate Compensation Act (Vanuatu Environmental Law Association & West Coast Environmental Law 2015).
 See, for example, Wood M.C. and D. Galpern, 2015: Atmospheric recovery litigation: making the fossil fuel industry pay to restore a viable climate system, Environ. Law, 45(2), 259-337. ISSN 0046-2276.
 See, for example, Massachusetts v EPA 549 US SC 497 (2007) 14 and Georgia v Tennessee Copper Co. 206 US SC 230 (1907).
James Hansen & Granddaughter Sophie at COP-23: Young People’s Burden published November 9, 2017 — Dr. James Hansen and his granddaughter, Sophie Kivlehan, confront the leaders of the world with the truth of the burden they have placed upon young people. You will find this Climate Matters show, videotaped at COP-23 in Bonn, Germany, to be most pertinent and pointed.
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