James Hansen: Fire on Planet Earth

“It is not just a climate problem. It is an energy problem. And a human rights problem.” — James Hansen
“Listen to the scientists” — Greta Thunberg

California fires are a minuscule piece of global change that will sweep through our planet this century and beyond, and the role of humans in the fires is debatable. Yet the fires are symbolic, an apt metaphor for consequences of global warming, if we do not alter our planet’s course.

I am concerned that, despite all the recent publicity about climate change, the public and policy-makers are not well-informed about the implications of climate change for energy policy.

I have a reputation for bluntly speaking truth to power, but for the last few years I minimized comments on energy policy, other than advocating a rising carbon fee & dividend. My rational: the only way I can make the basis for my conclusions really clear is to finish Sophie’s Planet.

The book is taking longer than planned, because of the need to do some science and write a science proposal. Now we enter an election year. I tried, but failed, to influence politicians and public opinion in the past. However, in a democracy, it is essential to keep trying.

Today, the potential enormity of the consequences, if we fail to communicate well the policy implications of climate change, demands that we ignore personal and institutional backwash.

Friends advise me that my assessment conflicts with deeply felt beliefs and might be interpreted as being critical of iconic individuals, which will make it difficult to obtain financial support for our group, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions (CSAS). I hope that is not the case.

Analysis of energy and climate is a many-faceted scientific problem, which demands rigorous use of the scientific method[1] to achieve success. The objectivity of the scientific method is crucial if we are to achieve success. MORE  (PDF)

PG&E, Facing Vast Payout for Wildfires, Says It Will File for Bankruptcy

Image result for California wildfires
 Light from a train is seen as it rounds a bend near the Sacramento River as flames from the Delta Fire fill a valley in Delta, California on September 6, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP)

Pacific Gas and Electric said it plans to file for bankruptcy protection amid potentially vast liabilities resulting from the deadly California wildfires. The announcement Monday, in the form of a filing with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, follows the resignation of the utility’s chief executive, Geisha Williams, a day earlier. John Simon, the company’s general counsel since 2017, will serve as interim chief executive.

Officials are investigating whether the utility’s equipment sparked the Camp Fire in November, a blaze that killed 86 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes.

In addition, Cal Fire investigators have ruled that PG&E equipment was involved in at least 18 of the more than 170 fires that swept Northern California in October 2017. The agency found that the company may have broken state law in 11 of those incidents and referred the cases for possible prosecution. MORE