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

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  768 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
In his Q&A with Bill McKibben featured in the paperback edition of Storms of My Grandchildren, Dr. James Hansen, the world's leading climatologist, shows that exactly contrary to the impression the public has received, the science of climate change has become even clearer and sharper since the hardcover was released. In Storms of My Grandchildren, Hansen speaks out for ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published December 21st 2010 by Bloomsbury USA (first published September 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

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Emma Sea
oy vey.

The problem here is that this isn't a book about climate science. This is a memoir about Hansen's "experiences as a scientist interacting with policy makers" (p. xi)

You can see the approaching flaw, already, right?

"On June 23, 1988, I was a witness, an official witness, when I testified to a Senate committee chaired by Tim Wirth of Colorado . . ." (p. xv)

"I was escorted from the briefing by David Halpern, a staff member in Marburger's OSTP, who commented that they would have another pres
...more
Luke Marsden
Jul 27, 2015 Luke Marsden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes to see the bigger picture
Shelves: environment
With the attainment, recently, of the ominous global climatic milestone of 400ppm atmospheric CO2 concentration, and 2015 to date producing record high global temperatures I felt it was a timely moment to read this classic work.

Pulished in 2009, some of it has not dated particularly well - especially the accounts of meetings on green issues with politicians of the Bush and Obama administrations, which are now a bit dull (reading blow-by-blow accounts of political workshops and conversations from
...more
Aaron
Mar 22, 2010 Aaron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: misc-nonfiction
After reading Richard Heinberg's "The Party's Over," an excellent dissection of our current energy predicament, I vowed to take a break from "heavy" books and read something a tad lighter. I broke my vow, deciding instead to read James Hansen's "Storms of My Grandchildren," a brilliant walk through the science of global warming and the evidence that we are on the precipice of catastrophic environmental problems.
I couldn't resist another heavy book, because I consider "Storms" to be a companion t
...more
Steve
James Hansen is possibly the best-known climate scientist around, as famous for what he wasn't allowed to say as what he did say. He has been an accomplished researcher and a strong voice for taking actions to avert climate change.

This book is an unhappy combination of climate science primer and political memoir. The science is fairly intense (not hard, but he doesn't waste time getting to details) but scattered and the political memoir is, frankly, boring. It is an important book in that this i
...more
Willowwind
Feb 28, 2010 Willowwind rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Ladies and gentlemen, your governments are lying through their teeth." Now 70, famed NASA scientist and whistleblower James Hansen has nothing to loose but the future of our grandchildren - and the earth. Hansen navigates a plethora of data, graphs, explanations and personal anecdotes describing why climate change is a real and immediate threat to all species on earth. And why little of substance is being done. Besides an explanation of why the scientific evidence is being distorted and withhel ...more
Ross
Feb 14, 2011 Ross rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the best book yet written covering the global warming issue. It is the first book from the preminent scientist in the field, a man who has been studiying the science involved for more than 35 years. He is the expert of experts on the technical issues concerned.
He is very clear in the book about what we know and what we don't know.
One thing we do know is that the West Antarctic ice sheet is going to collapse if CO2 emissions are not curtailed. We don't yet know when the collapse will star
...more
Preston Kutney
Jan 25, 2016 Preston Kutney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Storms of my grandchildren

"I did not want my grandchildren, someday in the future, to look back and say, 'Opa understood what was happening, but he did not make it clear.'"

James Hansen is known as the father of climate change for his work at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. This is basically his memoir/PSA setting the record straight on his career, his research, and its implications. The book has a lot of flaws - it is poorly organized, and he spends a lot of time airing professiona
...more
Lydia
Apr 07, 2010 Lydia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hansen deals unflinchingly with the tricky intersections where science collides with policy. One dramatic change this book had on me is my view of nuclear power: along with Beyond Oil and $20 Per Gallon, this book has made me see that we are going to need efficient nuclear power that reuses 99% of its waste to replace fossil fuels, especially coal, for electricity generation. Another important point Hansen convinces me of is that preventing a new Ice Age is a trivial matter (no more than a few f ...more
Greg
Jan 02, 2011 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An important book -- and while it is cliché to say " is a 'must read'", James Hansen's "Storms Of My Grandchildren" really is one. Dr. Hansen does an excellent job explaining and fitting together the many puzzle pieces of anthropogenic climate change: the what & why of greenhouse gases, changing weather patterns (intensity/deluge/drought), and atmospheric & oceanic warming (and acidification). Also, where things are unknown/uncertain/conflicting, Dr. Hansen says so -- for example many wi ...more
Crossett  Library
"Greenwashing, expressing concern about global warming and the environment while taking no actions to actually stabilize climate or preserve the environment, is prevalent in the United States and other countries, even those presumed to be the "greenest."

"If the sun becomes brighter, it is a climate forcing that would tend to make earth warmer. A human-made change of atmospheric composition is also a climate forcing."

"The largest human-made climate forcing is due to greenhouse gases."

"What is cl
...more
Keith Akers
Dec 28, 2009 Keith Akers rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The content of this book is great, even though it's hard to get through. If you read it conscientiously, as I did, there is a lot of technical stuff and terms which I hadn't encountered elsewhere -- like "climate forcings." So this isn't just your rehash of "An Inconvenient Truth."

But if you stick with it, it's really educational and motivational. He talks about the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect in which the Earth essentially turns into a planet like Venus. He talks about resistance
...more
Meredith
Mar 19, 2010 Meredith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This manifesto by the director of NASA's Goddard Space Institute is a difficult, distubing read. I'm not sure what is more frightening: Hansen's descriptions of an imbroglio at NASA in which he butted heads with its public affairs office (the head of which had formerly held positions in public relations for Southern Company, the second-largest holding company of coal-burning utilities in the United States) and entailed the amazing disappearing mission statement (NASA's mission statement was surr ...more
Andy Gibb
I wish this were better written because it's so important and from such an authoritative figure. However, it is hard to read and has skippable political reminiscence passages.

The latter can be summarised in one word - censorship, both by the US administration and NASA muzzling their scientists. This seems to surprise Hansen. He also has touching faith in informing the public. They don't care, James. They're only concerned with Strictly Come Dancing and their pay cheques. Effective action will ha

...more
Blair
Witness, Preacher or Prophet?

James Hansen tells us, “My role is that of a witness, not a preacher.” In the late 1980’s he was one of the first major climate scientists to publicly state that anthropogenic global warming was a serious problem. While the idea was not new, he was willing to draw firm conclusions from evidence that most other scientists did not consider to be sufficiently certain. His predictions turned out to be reasonably accurate. Now he is trying to repeat this accomplishment, m
...more
Gendou
This book has a lot of boring politics, but makes up for it with superb explanations of climate science.

Hansen insists he doesn't mean to fear monger, but goes on to use terms like global catastrophe, end of the world, a planet in peril, death of the planet, etc. These emotionally charged terms seem totally out of place in his otherwise sane presentation of scientific information.

He obviously knows little to nothing about biology or astronomy, because he states over and over that all life on Ear
...more
Jacob
Dec 26, 2010 Jacob rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very hard to rate with a number between one and five. It is a topic of literally vital importance and I give it five stars because of the function the book intends to serve. It is written by one of the world's leading climate researchers. Rather than discussing the science (which I expected, but there's only one chapter on it) he goes into detail about how the science is getting blocked on the policy level. Given that atmospheric CO2 has increased more than 30% since 1960 and human policy is now ...more
Robert
Hansen is a scientist turned modern day prophet. Must read for anyone who cares about the future of our world and her children.
Hans
Feb 19, 2014 Hans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this is my 1,000th "read" book on GoodReads...but more about that nonsense at the end of this.

I read the first chapter of this book nearly three months ago and got sidetracked on many other more entertaining, but clearly less important books (e.g. Fletch). In pursuing the science, Dr. Hansen found that politics has continued to block action (and in Hansen's case even communication). This book shares his personal story as a scientist, who is focused on discovering the objective information fo
...more
M. Azhaari Shah

Storms of my Grandchildren memotretkan kisah benar perjuangan James Hansen (penulis), saintis Fizik dan Astronomi bersama Pasukan Petugas Iklim Naib President (Dick Cheney) dan bersama A Team (pasukan pengkaji akademik yang ditubuhkan oleh James Hansen) dalam usaha untuk meyakinkan kerajaan Amerika tentang keperluan untuk mengurangkan pelepasan CO2 dan impaknya kepada pemanasan global.

James Hansen bukanlah seorang whistle-blower, beliau memilih untuk berada di 'saluran yang betul ' untuk dengan
...more
Fraser Cook
Aug 10, 2015 Fraser Cook rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Everyone needs to read this book. If you think climate change is not happening, or if you think we can't do anything about it, then arm yourself with knowledge, just have the intellectual honesty to to change your mind when presented with new information. For the rest of us who agree with the majority of scientists and experts, that climate change is real, that action needs to be taken... This book tells us that it's probably not too late to do something, but it very soon will be and if we let i ...more
Phil
Feb 20, 2016 Phil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hansen provides a fascinating description of his experiences at NASA and how climate change was dealt with by the Bush administration and the politics that came with the position. He then turns to the science and discusses why it's so important to change course.

Don't expect all science, I wish there had been more too because he writes about the science so well and in layman terms. It is not a textbook, it's a look into Hansens perspective and the motivations of his passion whilst providing the
...more
Renata
Jan 08, 2015 Renata rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, grownup
I'm not really sure how to rate this. It was really boring and kind of a chore to read, but I wanted to read it because I respect his scientific research and I wanted some of that knowledge imparted on me. This was James Hansen's first book written for non-scientists, and like... you could tell. Every so often he would kind of put in an aside apologizing for it being too dense. It's clear that the information was good and that our planet is royally effed. Also I learned a lot about nuclear energ ...more
John R
Feb 20, 2015 John R rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard truths told well.

This book tells the hard facts about global warming, and explains how to go about implementing the changes that needs to be done. I feel that this has been ignored for far too long. Time has run out and action has to be started now. This book is easy to read and understand in words that anyone can understand. Well written and told how a lot of effort has been expended to keep the truth from being used for effective legislation to address this immediate issue. A must read fo
...more
Leah
Apr 05, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of books, articles and reports on climate change. Last night I finished the *one* book I will now recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about what is happening to our planet and to us. Storms of My Grandchildren by James Dr. James E. Hansen. To be honest, I was hesitant to read it because of the ominous title, but his conclusions are firmly rooted in science. There are a couple topics I would have liked discussed further, but overall it is clear that the Citizens Climate ...more
Jerah
Mar 06, 2011 Jerah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A vivid illustration of how urgent the issue of climate change is, and why scientists need someone else to write their books for them to get the message across. Dry. And deadly accurate.
Rbeisenberg
To say I had mixed feelings about this book would be an understatement. Hansen's explanations of the science, how it has developed, what we are certain about and what we are not, what we think based on models and what we know based on paleoclimate history, etc. are all fantastic and very helpful for those, like me, trying to better understand the problem. But all of that makes up about half of the book, perhaps less. The rest is about equal parts stories about Hansen's personal misadventures int ...more
Sean Keery
Key point :
The solution to the climate problem requires a phasedown of carbon pollution, not necessarily a phasedown of energy use - James Hansen
Jackie Brady
I'm constantly frustrated by people still claiming that global climate change is not exacerbated by human activities. There's really no excuse for people continuing to stick their heads in the sand (or up their asses). I find books like this more aggravating than enlightening because they don't really change anything, and they just make me disgusted with politics and my species. Still, I think the author accomplished his goals. The only thing I disliked about the actual writing was an occasional ...more
Alicia Fox
Nov 30, 2015 Alicia Fox rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Spoiler alert: we're all doomed.

This is an interesting book by a man infinitely more knowledgeable than me. I would have been lost in the science here, regardless of how the book reads. But it reads so annoyingly! It's as if he combined four or five books into one. I was largely confused getting through it. Was it about the censorship of scientists during the Bush administration? Was it about the ignorance and duplicity of policymakers? Was it about the hard science behind climate change? I felt
...more
Simon
Jul 29, 2016 Simon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think in the fullness of time this could turn out to be the most important book I will ever read. It’s not an easy book – the science is complicated and there are too many dry accounts of James Hansen’s encounters with leading politicians and administrators (clearly the author trying to place on record that he tried to do something). However the message is clear. Climate change is an existential threat, it’s much more serious than you think, it’s happening now, and it’s nearly too late to turn ...more
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“the nearness of climate tipping points, beyond which climate dynamics can cause rapid changes out of humanity’s control. Tipping points occur because of amplifying feedbacks—as when a microphone is placed too close to a speaker, which amplifies any little sound picked up by the microphone, which then picks up the amplification, which is again picked up” 0 likes
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