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Storms Of My Grandchildren: The Truth About The Climate Catastrophe And Our Last Chance To Save Humanity

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,082 ratings  ·  155 reviews
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
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 1st 2009 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
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Austin No. However, the author argues primarily for immediate reductions in the use of coal. Petrol from vehicle racing is bad for the environment but would …moreNo. However, the author argues primarily for immediate reductions in the use of coal. Petrol from vehicle racing is bad for the environment but would not be an immediate focus. In particular, Hansen focuses on how climate change should be the state's responsibility to increase prices for petrol etcetera that activities like racing become less frequent and have less of an impact on the environment. Eventually, it might be that there is no racing with vehicles using combustion engines, but electric vehicles could still be raced.(less)

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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
Sep 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Luke Marsden
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Feb 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"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
Feb 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Keith Akers
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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,
Preston Kutney
Oct 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Hansen is a scientist turned modern day prophet. Must read for anyone who cares about the future of our world and her children.
Andy Gibb
Jul 12, 2012 rated it liked it
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

Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 will be su ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Crossett  Library
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"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
Apr 07, 2010 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
Nov 06, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Dec 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: grownup, nonfiction
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
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Difficult to digest at times, but worth the effort. This is a must-read, one that I'll definitely be re-reading.
Draco Ruffinius Feralcrow
Climatologist and scientist James Hansen leads a neo-Paul Revere's ride warning the world about the rising, catastrophic, chaos inducing, extinction threat of global warming. Standard governmental protocol, drifting deeper into the hubris range, demands, amongst other things, a severe avoidance of alarmism. The derivation of this complacency itself is what alarms. It is also essential that this foolishly long discretionary period imbued with inaction and empty talk end. From what legitimate sour ...more
Sep 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
In Greek mythology, Cassandra was granted the gift of prophecy but was later cursed so that no one would ever believe her predictions. When she foresaw the destruction of Troy, she was unable to do anything to prevent or forestall these tragedies despite her desperate warnings and pleas.

It seems to me that James Hansen is a modern-day Cassandra. He knows, through the gifts of hard work and science, that civilization is causing its own demise through its obsessive compulsion to burn every drop of
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Morten Greve
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
The fascinating story of how James Hansen went from being a classic scientist - concerned only with his research, getting to the best possible understanding of his chosen subject - to a status as a desperate political activist. Not because the latter role suited him, but because his findings forced his hand.

There are perhaps better, more up-to-date general introductions to climate science (although this one is surely up there...). However, Hansens unique personal story makes for an interesting,
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science
Chilling. I have understood the issues in general about climate change but never in the detail explained in this book. I have a much better appreciation of what are meant by "tipping points."
Hansen lays out the evidence as of 2009 and if anything, I think the evidence is leaning towards the less desirable outcomes compared to the mean value as expressed in the book (ie, certain aspects of climate change are occurring faster than anticipated).
He points out clearly that he historical record can sh
Scott Bischke
Mar 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Amazing read that should be required for every college student, for every governor, for every Congressman, for the President! Hansen tells it like it is, laying out the rational for our pending climate disaster, plus how we can avoid it *but* only if we act now! Perhaps the most important book ever written. Funny thing--one of Hansen's premises is that scientists need to better learn to communicate with the public; unfortunately as important as this book is I must wonder aloud if he met his own ...more
John Kaufmann
Aug 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: climate-change
A passionate tour d'force from one of the world's foremost climate scientists. Hansen was chief climate scientists for NASA for many years, and has decided the issue has become so dire that he needs to speak out and warn people of the coming catastrophe. In this book Hansen cites a lot of recent research to illustrate the current situation and how it has progressed in the last ten years. Along the way you will learn a lot about climate science. Hansen punctuates the book with personal anecdotes ...more
Fraser Cook
Jul 24, 2015 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
John R
Feb 20, 2015 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
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ten years after its original publication I read this important book in the light of the current disrespect of science, including climate change denial. Alas, it’s difficult to read because of the book’s awkward mix of memoir, politics, and science. A major effort is needed to unweave these separate threads, all of which are individually interesting, but together are fractured and difficult to follow. Frequent repetition of his major themes and facts also saps Hansen’s effort to create dramatic m ...more
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