Luckily for us, he made himself available for a follow-on interview, granted to
Robin McKie of The Observer newspaper. In it, he issued some of his harshest
criticism yet for the industrialized world’s reliance on coal for energy and
transportation. Naturally, I agree. He went on, however, to call for urgent and
sweeping actions to respond to the climate crisis, including the broad
abandoning of coal. Wow! Well done, sir!
I will not presume to attempt to improve on Dr. Hansen’s work in any way.
However, there are a few key points which are not covered in the interview which
1) The great tipping point is the proverbial line in the sand beyond which the
planet is incapable of self-regulation and we see massive collapses of portions
of our biosphere leading to cataclysmic starvation of people and wildlife as
well as species extinction on a scale not seen since the last ice age.
We have moved past the tipping point when measured as a function of carbon in
our atmosphere. The reason that we hear so little about that point is that no
one really knows what to do about it. Nevertheless, we quite literally are
living on borrowed time and must be prepared for the true effects of being past
the tipping point to engage severely and without warning.
2) A carbon tax is the only long-term solution to the climate crisis. Simply
put, what this tax will do is build into every product and service its true
environmental cost with an emphasis on global warming. As you know from reading
my work here on Keyboard Culture, carbon is the enemy of a healthy climate and
until we identify its role in everything we do, we will remain slaves to cheap
carbon-based energy and transportation.
You can read the entire interview with Dr. Hansen at