I’ve been reading “Storms of my Grandchildren” by James Hansen, a very good explanation of climate change as he knows it. Since he is regarded as one of the leading climatologists in the world, I’d say he is a pretty good source.
His arguments make very good sense, and a careful reading of them leaves one quite well informed, as well as way too convinced of the urgency of doing something about global warming. But, Jesus, is he long and involved.
Reading as slowly as I do has one thing to recommend it: I either follow the arguments of people like this, or know exactly where I don’t. That makes for excellent comprehension and focused questions, but the downside is how very long it takes to get through a major work like this.
In view of how pertinent one of his chapters seemed to be, I took a peek at it ahead of time. It was titled “The Venus Syndrome,” and addresses the worst case scenarios that are better labeled “Runaway Greenhouse,” than “Global Warming.” This drew my attention because the former is how this problem was first discussed back in the early 1960′s when the threat of anthropically generated carbon dioxide was first noticed.
I have often wondered why that discussion seemed to just disappear after a while and why the change in nomenclature this time, now that the topic is back on the view screen.
Plus I had heard somewhere that Venus was outgassing two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, which suggests it might have been rich in water at one time. Recently I also heard an interview of Dr David Greenspoon on Generation Anthropocene on Venus as a good example of what can happen to a habitable planet under runaway greenhouse (http://www.stanford.edu/group/anthropocene/cgi-bin/wordpress/a-cosmic-twin-study/).
Where is all this going? Well, I guess the egomaniac in me just wants to make note that many, many, experts seem to be climbing on board with the Vision, even if they’re not yet ready to admit to it.