The head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Professor James Hansen, has written an open letter to Barack Obama calling for a moratorium on coal-fired power stations and the use of next-generation nuclear power.
In the letter he says: “Australia exports coal and sets atmospheric carbon dioxide goals so large
as to guarantee destruction of much of the life on the planet.”
Prof Hansen said goals and caps on carbon emissions were practically worthless because of the long lifetime of carbon dioxide in the air.
â€œInstead a large part of the total fossil fuels must be left in the ground. In practice, that means coal,â€ he wrote.
â€œNobody realistically expects that the large readily available pools of oil and gas will be left in the ground.â€
Prof Hansen said that emissions reduction targets, like Kevin Ruddâ€™s goal to cut emissions by a minimum of 5 per cent and up to 15 per cent by 2020, do not work.
â€œThis approach is ineffectual and not commensurate with the climate threat,â€ he wrote of reduction plans. â€œIt could waste another decade, locking in disastrous consequences for our planet and humanity.â€
Professor Hansen also works in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University and has given testimony on climate change to the US Congress. …
He called for the end of coal plants that do not capture and store carbon dioxide and for funding for “fourth generation” nuclear power plants that could run on material now regarded as waste.