Hansen: If all fossil fuels burned, global warming would be 25°C higher

But there’s been no warming for the last 35 ppm of added atmospheric CO2 and each molecule of CO2 has less warming potential than the previous molecule.

James Hansen writes in a just published paper:

The practical concern for humanity is the high climate sensitivity and the eventual climate response that may be reached if all fossil fuels are burned. Estimates of the carbon content of all fossil fuel reservoirs including unconventional fossil fuels such as tar sands, tar shale and various gas reservoirs that can be tapped with developing technology [114] imply that CO2 conceivably could reach a level as high as 16 times the 1950 atmospheric amount.In that event, figure 7 suggests a global mean warming approaching 25◦C, with much larger warming at high latitudes (see electronic supplementary material, figure S6).

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11 thoughts on “Hansen: If all fossil fuels burned, global warming would be 25°C higher”

  1. The article started off sounding like a book report. Just how dies Hansen propose to burn all the available fossil fuels and over what time period? Did I miss that? Or, are we going to burn it all tomorrow? I see we also included methane hydrate release and anything else he could think of. Hansen actually has a Ph. D.? In what? Conferred by a real university and not obtained online?
    I’m amazed that the Royal Society published such gibberish.

    If any of this was done on US government time, then I believe we have a case for waste, fraud and abuse.

  2. Ph. D., as you know, is a doctorate of philosophy. A doctorate is something you get when you’re so scared of having to get a real job that you’d rather pay a fortune to stay in school several extra years. Philosophy is a fancy word for sitting around imagining things. As a result, most Ph Ds are people with loads of money and ambition but no actual drive to accomplish something.

  3. It’s Hansen so it’s BS. He knows very well the exponential relationship between added CO2 and heat trapping make such a 25C result impossible. But he’s “saving the planet”, so it’s OK to tell whoppers. A perfect example of Noble Cause Corruption.

  4. Don’t forget that this is a major backtrack for Hansen the pearl-clutching Venusian. Not more than a handful of years ago, Hansen was dead-certain in his fantasy novel Storms of My Grandchildren-

    “…I’ve come to conclude that if we burn all reserves of oil, gas, and coal, there is a substantial chance we will initiate the runaway greenhouse. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale, I believe the Venus syndrome is a dead certainty.”

  5. Hansen’s numbers are interesting. He claims that 25C temperature increase will result from a 16x increase in CO2 compared with 300 ppm or so. The corresponding forcing is 14.7 W/m^2. Hansen now thinks that equilibrium climate sensitivity is 25/14.7 = 1.7 C/W/m^2.

    Given what has actually happened with global temperatures over the past 20 years, Hansen is delusional.

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