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Tag Archives: Faustian bargain

James Hansen on pacts with the devil

By Liz Kalaugher

We are increasing the stakes of the climate Faustian bargain, believes James Hansen, who retires from NASA this week, through higher levels of fossil-fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution, which mask greenhouse-gas warming in the short term. The Faustian bargain sees aerosols reduce the net human-made climate forcing; they only maintain this level of reduction, however, if we allow air pollution to increase as emissions rise. Once people decide to reduce particulate air pollution for health reasons, the “devil’s payment” will be extracted via increased global warming.

The original Faust, the story goes, entered a pact with the devil and received magic powers for 24 years before the devil claimed his soul, leaving Faust in eternal damnation.


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