Dempsey Lecture 2012

James E. Hansen

The Case for Young People and Nature: A Path to a Healthy Prosperous Future

James E. Hansen
Climatologist
Adjunct Professor, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Columbia University

Tuesday, March 20, 2012 7:30pm

  • Hudson Hall, Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center, Willamette University
  • Tickets are no longer available
  • The Willamette Store will be available in the lobby with books and James E. Hansen will be available to autograph books following the lecture.

Abstract

By squeezing oil from tar sands, drilling in the Arctic and hydrofracking to extract natural gas, mankind is actively contributing to global warming. Only by increasing the cost of fossil fuels — and thereby limiting their appeal — will people have a chance of protecting their future, says Climatologist James Hansen. “This is a moral issue,” he says. “Today’s adults cannot say they do not know the consequences of allowing continued fossil fuel addiction, they can only pretend they don’t.”

Hansen, an adjunct professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, says mankind is entering a planetary crisis, but governments are turning a blind eye to the problem. The solution, he adds, lies in imposing a rising fee on carbon collected from fossil fuel companies — namely at domestic mines and ports of entry.

The funds would be distributed to the public on a per capita basis. People whose carbon footprints are smaller than average would receive more in their monthly dividend than they’d pay in increased energy prices. “As the fee rises, people will need to move toward cleaner energy sources or energy efficiency if they want to stay on the positive side of the ledger,” Hansen says. “The effect would stimulate our economy, modernize our energy systems and give us a competitive advantage internationally.”

By attending his lecture, Hansen says people will learn more about the science used to measure global warming and the solutions that must be implemented for the sake of future generations. He will be available to autograph books after his talk. The books will be sold by the Willamette Store in the lobby.

“Individuals cannot solve the problem themselves,” Hansen says. “Real solution will require people to begin affecting government policies.”

Sponsored by the Dempsey Foundation and the Center for Sustainable Communities
Contact: Andrea Foust afoust@willamette.edu | phone: 503-370-6654


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