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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.

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, severaltrillion 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.

Health

A child’s mental health concerns shouldn’t be publicized no matter who their parents are

Even politicians' children deserve privacy during a mental health crisis.

A child's mental health concerns shouldn't be publicized.

Editor's Note: If you are having thoughts about taking your own life, or know of anyone who is in need of help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a United States-based suicide prevention network of over 200+ crisis centers that provides 24/7 service via a toll-free hotline with the number 9-8-8. It is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.


It's an unspoken rule that children of politicians should be off limits when it comes to public figure status. Kids deserve the ability to simply be kids without the media picking them apart. We saw this during Obama's presidency when people from both ends of the political spectrum come out to defend Malia and Sasha Obama's privacy and again when a reporter made a remark about Barron Trump.

This is even more important when we are talking about a child's mental health, so seeing detailed reports about Ted Cruz's 14-year-old child's private mental health crisis was offputting, to say it kindly. It feels icky for me to even put the senator's name in this article because it feels like adding to this child's exposure.

When a child is struggling with mental health concerns, the instinct should be to cocoon them in safety, not to highlight the details or speculate on the cause. Ever since the news broke about this child's mental health, social media has been abuzz, mostly attacking the parents and speculating if the child is a member of the LGBTQ community.

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Science

Dyslexic plumber gets a life-changing boost after his friend built an app that texts for him

It uses AI to edit his work emails into "polite, professional-sounding British English."

via Pixabay

An artist's depiction of artificial intelligence.

There is a lot of mistrust surrounding the implementation of artificial intelligence these days and some of it is justified. There's reason to worry that deep-fake technology will begin to seriously blur the line between fantasy and reality, and people in a wide range of industries are concerned AI could eliminate their jobs.

Artists and writers are also bothered that AI works on reappropriating existing content for which the original creators will never receive compensation.

The World Economic Forum recently announced that AI and automation are causing a huge shake-up in the world labor market. The WEF estimates that the new technology will supplant about 85 million jobs by 2025. However, the news isn’t all bad. It also said that its analysis anticipates the “future tech-driven economy will create 97 million new jobs.”

The topic of AI is complex, but we can all agree that a new story from England shows how AI can certainly be used for the betterment of humanity. It was first covered by Tom Warren of BuzzFeed News.

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This article originally appeared on 04.15.19


On May 28, 2014, 13-year-old Athena Orchard of Leicester, England, died of bone cancer. The disease began as a tumor in her head and eventually spread to her spine and left shoulder. After her passing, Athena's parents and six siblings were completely devastated. In the days following her death, her father, Dean, had the difficult task of going through her belongings. But the spirits of the entire Orchard family got a huge boost when he uncovered a secret message written by Athena on the backside of a full-length mirror.

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Famous writers shared their book signing woes with a disheartened new author.

Putting creative work out into the world to be evaluated and judged is nerve-wracking enough as it is. Having to market your work, especially if you're not particularly extroverted or sales-minded, is even worse.

So when you're a newly published author holding a book signing and only two of the dozens of people who RSVP'd show up, it's disheartening if not devastating. No matter how much you tell yourself "people are just busy," it feels like a rejection of you and your work.

Debut novelist Chelsea Banning recently experienced this scenario firsthand, and her sharing it led to an amazing deluge of support and solidarity—not only from other aspiring authors, but from some of the top names in the writing business.

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