Where we’re headed

The Sierra Club is sponsoring a climate discussion tonight about where we’re headed, what the climate scientists are saying about our long-range future.

Big Picture Climate Change: What Targets Must We Hit?
The Public House
131 E. Broadway
Missoula
4 to 6 pm
Cold beverages and appetizers provided!

David Merrill, the Club’s senior organizer, will talk about the battle to stabilize the climate, with look at a recent article by retired NASA scientist James Hansen and 13 other scientists in a scholarly journal, Earth System Dynamics. These scientists say global temperatures have already increased 1.25 °C over pre-industrial levels. This warming is similar to the Eemian period in Earth’s history. Reflecting on the changes that took place then, 115,000 years ago, they make the case that if a rapid phaseout of fossil fuels were to begin immediately, we would still have to actively remove carbon from our atmosphere to maintain our current, stable climate.

The article has stirred controversy and is at odds with the consensus reached in the Paris climate accords. Here are a couple of good, general articles on what Hansen’s research is saying:

http://theconversation.com/inaction-on-climate-change-risks-leaving-future-generations-530-trillion-in-debt-81134

https://thinkprogress.org/hansen-paper-warming-courts-7c0bf59de6f7

Hansen’s granddaughter is part of an Oregon lawsuit brought by Our Children’s Trust, a group of children who are challenging the lack of government action to halt global warming. “I think it is essential that the third branch of government, the courts, get involved in the climate story,” Hansen said. “We need to quantify what is needed in an understandable way so that the judicial system can make an evaluation and step in and have some effect where the other branches of government have failed us.”

We hope to see you at this important discussion.

Jeff Smith, co-chair, 350 Montana