01/18/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Obama Likely To Face Even Higher Global Temperatures

The themes of James Hansen's recent talk at American Geophysical Union's fall meeting were not new to anyone who has heard him speak recently (or to readers of Climate Progress) -- the dangers of runaway warming, the need to keep CO2 level in the atmosphere at 350 ppm or lower, the urgency of phasing out coal by 2030. Today, Hansen laid it all out with dry, devestating precision.

Near the end of his talk, he predicted that, because of the earth's current energy balance and the coming solar cycles:

In his first term, President-elect Obama is likely to face even higher global temperatures.

Of course, given that Hansen has called for public demonstrations against coal plants, it was hard not to read this as a warming about the rising political heat Obama will face too. Or, to put it another way, if Hansen is feeling optimistic about the coming change in administration, he gave no indication of it. "I think we could solve this problem if we would just tell the truth," Hansen said during the Q & A session after the talk. "But politicians aren't willing. How do we make them understand how serious this is?"

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