The American climate change activist and director of climate science at Columbia University’s Earth Institute James Hansen describes Switzerland’s advantages when global droughts, rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions strike.
The Atlantic newspaper asked James Hansen: “If climate change continues at this pace, is anywhere going to be safe?”. “Switzerland would be a good guess” he said.
Hansen’s latest study published in July 2015 warns that climate change is happening much faster than previously predicted. He and his co-authors predict that sea levels could rise by over three metres in the next 50 years.
Switzerland is landlocked and immune to flooding from rising sea levels. It is also taking climate change seriously and was the first to make a submission to the international climate change agreement, promising to reduce harmful emissions by 50% by 2030 from 1990 levels. Obama’s recent plan, while admirable would require a much smaller reduction of 32%, albeit from a slightly higher 2005 baseline.
None of this means Switzerland is OK. Climate change does not recognise national borders. For a start higher temperatures will increase snow melt which in turn will increase flood and land slide risks.
James Hansen, who describes himself as a reticent mid-western scientist, explains why he has become so outspoken on climate change, his fears for the future and what needs to change in the TED video below.
The point of no return: climate change nightmares are already here (Rolling Stone – in English)
Is anywhere on earth safe from climate change? (The Atlantic – in English)