Scientific Approach (06:52)
Silver Donald Cameron introduces James Hansen. Hansen started in planetary studies; skepticism differentiates science from other fields. He describes qualifying for PhD studies; the process encouraged self-skepticism and analysis. The characteristic of a good scientist is the willingness to change conclusions with new data.
Aspects of Earth (06:48)
The planet is characterized by delayed response and amplified feedbacks, allowing for climate change denial. Hansen explains how these characteristics require anticipation, and describes a lecture given by the President of Exxon Research and Engineering in 1982. The company's response to climate data was to further develop fossil fuel extraction.
Changing Policies (05:17)
Cameron and Hansen discuss the high level of scientific comprehension required to anticipate and take action against climate change. Fossil fuel dependence influences government acceptance of environmental science. Hansen suggests a fee and dividends system wherein citizens profit from conservation.
Understanding Climate Science (04:31)
The public has difficulty recognizing climate change; the daily variability of weather is high in comparison. A global two degree Celsius rise will melt ice sheets and flood coastal cities; the economic and social impacts will be catastrophic.
Irreversible Consequences (02:28)
Hansen is most concerned by sea level rise and the extinction of species. Ice sheets take thousands of years to form; species must migrate to stay within their range of living conditions, but habitats are disappearing.
Earth's Equilibrium (09:42)
Hansen explains global warming in terms of the planet's energy balance; in a stable climate, radiation emission is equal to absorption. Carbon dioxide blankets the atmosphere, preventing radiant release. Hansen and Cameron discuss methods of carbon reduction and storage, and restoring balance by reflecting the true cost of fossil fuels.
Politics and Taxes (11:59)
Oil lobbyists strongly influence governments. Hansen asserts that a Fee and Dividend approach will solve emissions problems. He and Cameron discuss the carbon tax implemented by British Columbia, and the failings of the United States two party system.
Apathy and Climate Change (07:34)
Hansen and Cameron discuss attitudes toward global warming; historically, people care about issues impacting them directly. Extreme weather events occur more frequently. Hansen explains the temperature bell curve and its effects on climate perspective.
Legal Action (10:46)
Hansen explains his role in the Our Children's Trust lawsuit against the federal government for failure to protect the public trust. He and Mary Wood assembled a case focusing on the constitutional rights of future generations.
Phasing Out Fossil Fuels (09:34)
Hansen explains the effectiveness of alternative energy sources, specifically nuclear power. He asserts that a carbon tax would allow for competition with, and phase out oil companies.
Hope for the Planet (03:00)
Hansen expresses optimism and a responsibility to fight against climate change; he has been arrested five times. He believes switching to clean energy will solve most of the problems that fossil fuels and their extraction has caused. Additional education is necessary.
Epilogue and Credits (00:50)
Cameron reflects on his conversation with Hansen and cites other Green Interviews.
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