“We cannot afford to put off change any longer,” said Hansen. “We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”
Hansen said current carbon levels in the atmosphere were already too high to prevent runaway greenhouse warming.* Yet the levels are still rising despite all the efforts of politicians and scientists.
A friend has noted that an overwhelming number of the commented responses to the Guardian article deny the existence of climate change, and wonders if the apparently high number of sceptics is reason for those of us who believe urgent action is necessary, to despair. But are there really that many climate sceptics out there?
What do you think? Are climate change denialists just a very noisy minority, or are opinion-leaders seriously out of touch with the feelings of ordinary people on this issue?
UPDATE Tuesday 20 Jan: My goodness, this post has been an interesting experiment. Looking at my stats, 90% of the clickthroughs arriving here have come from what we might call a, um, distinctly climate change sceptical website. Apologies, everyone, btw, I’m going to be offline till Sunday, so won’t be able approve comments till then.
* Runaway global warming refers to secondary warming processes set in play by the primary process of carbon dioxide accumulation in the atmosphere. For example, higher temperatures can increase the number of forest fires, which in turn pour more CO2 into the atmosphere. Another example: the permafrost in the Arctic Circle is beginning to thaw, releasing locked-away CO2 and methane, which is a greenhouse (warming) gas many times more potent than CO2 itself.