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Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity [Hardcover]

James Hansen
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Dec 2009
In Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. James Hansen-the nation's leading scientist on climate issues-speaks out for the first time with the full truth about global warming: The planet is hurtling even more rapidly than previously acknowledged to a climatic point of no return. Although the threat of human-caused climate change is now widely recognized, politicians have failed to connect policy with the science, responding instead with ineffectual remedies dictated by special interests. Hansen shows why President Obama's solution, cap-and-trade, which Al Gore has signed on to, won't work; why we must phase out all coal, and why 350 ppm of carbon dioxide is a goal we must achieve if our children and grandchildren are to avoid global meltdown and the storms of the book's title. This urgent manifesto bucks conventional wisdom (including the Kyoto Protocol) and is sure to stir controversy, but Hansen-whose climate predictions have come to pass again and again, beginning in the 1980s when he first warned Congress about global warming-is the single most credible voice on the subject worldwide. Hansen paints a devastating but all-too-realistic picture of what will happen in the near future, mere years and decades from now, if we follow the course we're on. But he is also an optimist, showing that there is still time to do what we need to save the planet. Urgent, strong action is needed, and this book, released to coincide with the Copenhagen Conference in December 2009, will be key in setting the agenda going forward to create a groundswell, a tipping point, to save humanity-and our grandchildren-from a dire fate more imminent than we had supposed.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (7 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408807440
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408807446
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.8 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 460,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'When the history of the climate crisis is written, Hansen will be seen as the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet's environment.' Al Gore 'Jim Hansen is the planet's great hero. He offered us the warning we needed twenty years ago, and has worked with enormous courage ever since to try and make sure we heeded it. We'll know before long if that effort bears fruit. If it does, literally no one deserves more credit than Dr. Hansen.' Bill McKibben

Book Description

An urgent and provocative call to action from the world's leading climate scientist.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact from fiction for the future 1 Feb 2010
A very honest plea from a man who knows probably better than most, the likely price the world will have to pay if we insist on 'business as usual'. If you want to understand the science, read this book. If you want to understand the unfortunacy of our 'democratic' system in action, read this book. If you are looking for an antidote to torpor and inaction, read this book.
If you prefer a quiet life without challenging questions and confronting dilemmas, DON'T read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Important Book 28 May 2013
I saw the hardback of this book in a charity shop in October 2010 and was surprised, because I remembered James Lovelock writing that Dr. Hansen was too busy doing the science to have time to write a book. When I got home and opened it I saw the photo of a child and understood: as he writes,he didn't want his grandchildren to say: "Opa understood what was happening, but he did not make it clear"(p.xii).

He conveys the science in a way that is broadly understandable to a non-scientist like myself, and makes clear his frustration with the political/ big business interests that he finds himself fighting against: 'Larry King... was sympathetic, but upon hearing that the major impacts of current bad policy would occur several decades in the future, he declared, "Nobody cares about fifty years from now."(p.131)

He warns in the book of destabilizing frozen methane on the tundra and continental shelves, and at present is working full-time against the development of tar sands oil, which he believes will be catastrophic for our futures. Scary stuff, I'm glad he went to the trouble of writing this book.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
James Hansen's book is very easy to read even for the general public, except for some scientific parts he warns his readers for. Compared with other books about global warming, this book is written by an author with personal experience both in the top climate science and in the politics around climate change. The scientific details are very complete with references to even more detailed articles on his website. The books leaves me with a complete overview about all the dimensions of the science of global warming, and it further completes the picture of global warming for me. A new frightening dimension I learned about is the possibility, even on the short term, of severe storms due to an increasing air humidity and an increasing difference between warm and cold air systems.
It also scares me to read the how political appointees at the US president offices determine about the future of our grandchildren by controlling and censuring climate science. And even with the Obama there is not much hope......
The additional value of this book is in its very personal touch by the author.
However, to me there is still one essential piece of the climate puzzle missing. Even Hansen assumes that humanity will continue to live as we are doing now, he only addresses the population problem, in the same consumerism lifestyle and global economic system that are proving not to be sustainable. We are not only emitting greenhouse gasses but we are also depleting other resources and we live in system of intrinsic social injustice at a massive scale.
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By Charlie
An extraordinary man and life. This book was a difficult, terrifying read but anyone who cares about the future, who has children they want to have a life for, then this book is required reading.

Everyone I know is too tired, busy and overworked, chasing small economies and big luxuries, to care about the impending climate disaster. This book is a call to action.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alarming, not alarmist 1 Jan 2010
Impressive overview of what the huge global scientific effort has learnt us on climate change over the past years. Strong wake-up call from one of the top scientists in the field. Must read!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Persuasive 22 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I researched this subject as thoroughly as I could in 2008 in order to give a layperson's talk on the subject. I read both sides of the debate - Monbiot, Lynas, Pat Michaels, Neil Lawson, Lomborg, Fred Singer, Roy Spencer, Robert Henson, James Lovelock and so on. It seemed to me at the time that the 'contrarians' (as Hansen dubs them) had the most persuasive case. Unfortunately, Hansen's 'Storms of my Grandchildren' was unavailable at the time. Hansen's book is very persuasive. He doesn't rely on climate modelling although he says these can be useful. Instead, his case is based on the paleoclimate record and he draws particular attention to the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum event 55m years ago when global warming of between 5-9 degrees Celsius occurred. Apparently one of the major forcings that led to this event was the subcontinent of India crashing into Asia. Hansen is quite certain that the climate is highly sensitive to increases CO2. He argues that if we continue 'business as usual' and burn every last drop of fossil fuels then melting of the ice sheets is inevitable. He writes that they are already being 'softened up' and that an ice-free planet means that sea level will rise 75 metres - 250 feet. This means that future generations will still be able to see the dome of St Paul's Cathedral (365ft) if that is any consolation. This rather puts the January 2014 floods into perspective. Hansen paints an even more dramatic picture of the future of Earth as a Venus-type planet with boiling oceans, as a result of all the amplifying feedbacks. Hansen argues that we need to switch to 'fourth generation' nuclear as quickly as possible and that we have billions of years supply of the necessary fuel. I note that another reviewer on here has contested Hansen's claims on nuclear. What next? Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
James Hansen has devoted his life to the study of climate change, and this book tells to a lot of useful science that we don't hear much about, especially the concepts of energy... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Tony Wrench
5.0 out of 5 stars Global warming
this is a book well worth reading - I cannot say I understood every thing but I did understand the wayour guvs are trying to mislead us !
Published 16 months ago by Mrs. D. I. Denby
4.0 out of 5 stars Alarming but Sound
I came away from reading this book feeling profoundly pessimistic, yet I cannot fault the science - it's whether human attitudes can change sufficiently quickly to undo (some of... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Frank Mitchell
4.0 out of 5 stars Climate science intertwined with political frustrations
James Hansen is a leading scientist in the field of climate and climate change. This book sets out the science behind global warming and explains why it is dangerous. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Simon
5.0 out of 5 stars From scientific enquiry to political action
The storms in this book's title refer to the extreme weather conditions the author's (and our) grandchildren will have to endure if business continues as usual. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Alan Neale
3.0 out of 5 stars Very dull, but I am sure it is thorough.
This is more like a court testimony absolving him from guilt after a massacre has occurred. As such it is hard to get into and very putdownable. Read more
Published 22 months ago by The Italian Job
3.0 out of 5 stars Two books in one
Jamie Osborne makes the valid point that this book is about frustration AND science... which is a pity, I think. Read more
Published on 14 Jun 2011 by Andrew Muir
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent on Climate Science. Naive on Remedies
Like Censoring Science and the The Rough Guide to Climate Change, this is an outstanding book on climate science, and on policies to prevent catastrophe (levy-dividend versus... Read more
Published on 4 April 2011 by Bernhard
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves no room for continued debate.
These are the words of an expert who is sick of having his message filtered and manipulated by politicians and media. Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by Jamie Osborne
5.0 out of 5 stars Alarming and convincing
James Hansen's scientific arguments for the necessity of global weaning off fossil fuels in general and coal in particular are convincing and highly readable for laymen. Read more
Published on 14 Aug 2010
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