Climate Change in a Nutshell: The Gathering Storm - new paper by James Hansen


I believe there is value in trying to make the climate story as clear as possible to an industry CEO as well as a Chief Justice. There will be lawsuits against the fossil fuel industry, which may help bring them to their senses. However, I am not so much interested in ‘reparations’, the idea that we can extract a lot of money from the industry for its past sins. That potential pales in comparison to getting their cooperation on moving as rapidly as practical toward clean carbon-free energy of the future.

Therefore, I am interested in any suggestions for improving the clarity of ‘Climate Change in a Nutshell’. I believe there is a good chance that the relevant CEOs have a heart, and they must be pretty smart or they would not have made it to the position they are in.

FFS, can we help him?


If you’re trying to get the attention of smart, distracted people, the graphs on pages 11 and 12 should be on the front cover.

  1. Gradual change, then straight up.
  2. Up, down, up, down, up, down, up, up, up and away.

Anyone looking at those will see that:

  • the old patterns have changed dramatically
  • CO2 coincides with industrialization
  • temperature coincides with CO2

People can understand these graphs. I have shown the XKCD temperature graph to people with wide variety of interest and ability to understand, and they all get it.


Profile of Hansen in the New Yorker, 2009

“You are one of the preëminent climatologists in the world,” one television reporter said. “How does this square with your science?”

“I’m trying to make clear what the connection is between the science and the policy,” Hansen responded. “Somebody has to do it.”

The reporter wasn’t satisfied. “Civil disobedience?” he asked, in a tone of mock incredulity. Hansen said that he couldn’t let young people put themselves on the line, “and then I stand back behind them.”

The reporter still hadn’t got what he wanted: “We’ve heard that you all are planning, even hoping, to get arrested today. Is that true?”

“I wouldn’t hope,” Hansen said. “But I do want to draw attention to the issue, whatever is necessary to do that.”

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Unprecedented melting in Greenland.

“what’s clear is that the more we warm, the more ice melts.”

So complicated. How can anyone comprehend?

this is a dangerous misjudgment of these people by jim. They knew about the coming shit-feast as early as the 80ties, and they may be “smart” but not intelligent nor bright.


I agree with you and not Dr. Hansen on this. The way to secure the cooperation of oil CEOs is to show them how climate action will help them keep what they’ve got (money, status, power, good jobs, stock grants, dividends, beautiful homes, beautiful families, club memberships, private jets on call, political influence, congresspeople who’ll take their calls and money … all that) and maybe even get more of it.

If you want their cooperation … show them the money. Show them how climate action will work out well for them.


Alternately, make clear to them that their wealth will not protect them from the vengeance of the world should they continue to accelerate our doom.


At some point, technology will give them the numbers too. 10 billion humans versus infinite AI drones or manufactured viruses or whatever.

Yeah. And BTW I’m not assuming that we should wait for or ever will get their cooperation.

It might end up being necessary though, to get the cooperation of them and their kind … we’re – including myself in this – tacking on a lot of social change to the climate movement, and effective climate action may end up getting us the same old shitty world, just with less climate change in it. (I’m hoping for progress on multiple fronts.)

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