The hottest year in recorded history casts doubts on humanity’s ability to deal with a climate crisis of its own making, senior scientists have said.
As historically high temperatures continued to be registered in many parts of the world in late December, the former Nasa scientist James Hansen told the Guardian that 2023 would be remembered as the moment when failures became apparent.
“When our children and grandchildren look back at the history of human-made climate change, this year and next will be seen as the turning point at which the futility of governments in dealing with climate change was finally exposed,” he said.
“Not only did governments fail to stem global warming, the rate of global warming actually accelerated.”
After what was probably the hottest July in 120,000 years, Hansen, whose testimony to the US Senate in 1988 is widely seen as the first high-profile revelation of global heating, warned that the world was moving towards a “new climate frontier” with temperatures higher than at any point over the past million years.
Now director of the climate programme at Columbia University’s Earth Institute in New York, Hansen said the best hope was for a generational shift of leadership.
“The bright side of this clear dichotomy is that young people may realise that they must take charge of their future. The turbulent status of today’s politics may provide opportunity,” he said. [Continue reading…]