More

The man who introduced us to climate change has issued a dire warning about sea levels in New York.

In 1988, James Hansen told Congress that climate change is real. Now, his new paper spells out why it's much worse than what we thought.

The man who introduced us to climate change has issued a dire warning about sea levels in New York.

If anyone knows climate change, it's James Hansen.

The former NASA scientist gained credit for forging wide awareness of the issue when, in 1988, he told Congress "the evidence is pretty strong" that human-caused global warming is — well — a thing.


Hansen testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in March 2014. Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.

Hansen, who now works at Columbia University's Earth Institute, has a history of being ahead of the curve when it comes to climate science. So you can imagine why a new paper he's set to publish this week alongside 16 other researchers is causing quite the stir.

Hansen's new research claims sea levels could rise about 7 feet higher than other estimates throughout the next 85 years.

As we know, higher temperatures caused by increased global greenhouse gas emissions is melting ice near the Earth's poles. That means higher sea levels.

In his new paper, which will be published in the peer-reviewed Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry journal, Hansen claims that — unless humans start emitting way fewer greenhouse gases, like, nowice at the poles will melt at exponentially faster rates than currently predicted.

The IPCC, the U.N.'s panel focused on climate change, predicts sea levels to rise about 3 feet by 2100. That figure's already alarming scientists. Hansen's new research, however, predicts it'll be more like 10 feet.

A sea level 10 feet higher would make coastal cities like New York, London, and Shanghai completely uninhabitable.

Aerial photo of New York City by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images.

It's sort of difficult to overstate how big of a deal that is. Not only would this affect millions of people, several trillion dollars worth of infrastructure could be destroyed.

“Parts of [coastal cities] would still be sticking above the water," Hansen said. “But you couldn't live there."

The year 2100 ... some of us could still be alive!

The discrepancy between Hansen's figures and the U.N.'s largely comes down to melting freshwater ice as opposed to melting saltwater ice.

Hansen's research claims that when freshwater ice on land (and not saltwater icebergs) melts into the oceans near places like Greenland and Antarctica, the colder freshwater traps the warmer, saltier water below. This trapped, warmer water causes further melting below the surface — a process that only increases the amount of additional water being added to our oceans as more freshwater ice melts into the sea.

Scientists have claimed that limiting global climate change to 2 degrees Celsius (about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) could protect the Earth from devastatingly high sea levels. But the trapped warmer seawater is increasing the melting process quicker than expected, according to Hansen, so that 2 degrees Celsius figure won't cut it.

The IPCC doesn't consider this freshwater effect in its projections. Hansen says there's evidence it's already happening.


Greenland's disappearing glaciers have become alarming symbols of a warming planet. Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images.

But before you panic! Don't worry. There are reasons to be hopeful we can prevent the worst that global warming has in store.

After all, combating climate change is no longer on the world's back burner (global warming pun unintended).

Ahead of the the United Nations' climate summit in New York City back in September 2014, more than 400,000 people took to the streets to show world leaders that curbing climate change needs to be a priority.

And government bodies are listening. The U.S. and China, for example, reached a historic agreement just months after the climate march that will cut each country's coal consumption way back in the years to come. So far, China is taking the commitment seriously.

This will result in significantly less greenhouse gas emitted by two of the largest nations contributing to global warming.

Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images.

Hansen agrees: We still hold the fate of our planet in our hands when it comes to climate change.

He said we “could actually come in well under 2 degrees if we make the price of fossil fuels honest." That means taxing fossil fuel-burning businesses and governments, which will encourage eco-friendlier practices.

Even with his latest research painting a dire future ahead, if Hansen believes we can make a meaningful difference in the decades to come, we all should.

But we have to act big, and we have to act now.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less

Biases, stereotypes, prejudices—these byproducts of the human brain's natural tendency to generalize and categorize have been a root cause of most of humanity's problems for, well, pretty much ever. None of us is immune to those tendencies, and since they can easily slip in unnoticed, we all have to be aware of where, when, and how they impact our own beliefs and actions.

It also helps when someone upends a stereotype by saying or doing something unexpected.

Fair or not, certain parts of the U.S. are associated with certain cultural assumptions, perhaps none more pinholed than the rural south. When we hear Appalachia, a certain stereotype probably pops up in our minds—probably white, probably not well educated, probably racist. Even if there is some basis to a stereotype, we must always remember that human beings can never be painted with such broad strokes.

Enter Tyler Childers, a rising country music star whose old-school country fiddling has endeared him to a broad audience, but his new album may have a different kind of reach. "Long Violent History" was released Friday, along with a video message to his white rural fans explaining the culminating track by the same name. Watch it here:

Keep Reading Show less
True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

Then there are those of us in the messy middle. Those who believe that life begins at conception, that abortion isn’t something we’d choose—and we’d hope others wouldn’t choose—under most circumstances, yet who choose to vote to keep abortion legal.

Keep Reading Show less
@frajds / Twitter

Father Alek Schrenk is known as one of the "9 Priests You Need to Follow on Twitter." He proved his social media skills Sunday night after finding a creepy note on a parked car and weaving a lurid Twitter tale that kept his followers on the edge of their pews.

Father Schrenk was making his nightly walk of the church grounds to make sure everything was fine before retiring to the rectory, when he found a car parked by itself in front of the school.

Curious, he looked inside the car and saw a note that made his "blood run cold" attached to the steering wheel. "Look in trunk!" the note read. What made it extra creepy was that the two Os in "look" had smiley faces.

Keep Reading Show less