Warns of ‘Venus syndrome’ – where global warming becomes so bad Earth can no longer sustain human life
Controversial scientist Dr James Hansen has issued his direst warning yet for humanity as he quit his job at Nasa to concentrate on raising awareness of climate change.
Hansen wrote that he decided to step down ‘so that I can spend full time on science, drawing attention to the implications for young people, and making clear what science says needs to be done.’
He also published a paper outlining what he calls ‘Venus syndrome’ – where global warming becomes so bad Earth can no longer sustain human life.
‘It it is not an exaggeration to suggest, based on best available scientific evidence, that burning all fossil fuels could result in the planet being not only ice-free but human-free,’ he claims.
‘If we burn all the fossil fuels it is certain that sea level would eventually rise by tens of meters,’ he claims.
‘The only argument is how soon the rise of several meters needed to destroy habitability of all coastal cities would occur.
‘It is also possible that burning all fossil fuels would eventually set off a hyperthermal event, a mini-runaway.’
According to the paper, which Hansen posted on the Columbia University website, the ‘runaway’ could cause Earth to become like Venus.
‘Earth can ‘achieve’ Venus-like conditions, in the sense of ~90 bar surface pressure, only after first getting rid of its ocean via escape of hydrogen to space,’ he writes.
‘This is conceivable if the atmosphere warms enough that the troposphere expands into the present stratosphere.’
According to the New York Times, Hansen will step down from his $180,000 a year position to join a number of lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments for their failure to police industry over man’s effect on the climate, the New York Times reported.
‘As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,’ he said.
[box type=”shadow” align=”aligncenter” width=”660″ ]WHAT’S LIFE LIKE ON VENUS?
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days.
Venus is classified as a terrestrial planet and is sometimes called Earth’s ‘sister planet’ owing to their similar size, gravity, and bulk composition.
However, conditions there are very different.
Venus today has a surface pressure of about 90 bars, compared with 1 bar on Earth.
The Venus atmosphere is mostly CO2.
The huge atmospheric depth and CO2 amount are the reason Venus has a surface temperature of nearly 500°C.
Venus and Earth probably had similar early atmospheric compositions, but on Earth the
carbon is mostly in Earth’s crust.
The planet is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty.
After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky.[/box]
By Mark Prigg | DailyMail