Prof Dr Carl Sagan (R.I.P.)- 20DEC1996

24 years ago today in Seattle, Carl Sagan passed at Fred Hutch. So it goes. Remembered globally as the one man who could mesmerize a room with the ideas of hope and science; of “billions and billions of stars” generating “star-stuff” from which we all come.

He is also remembered for his almost prophetic lectures in 1990 and beyond, warning the World of our own reckless extravagance in burning fossils fuels. Warming our planet by only a few degrees, he intoned, could spell doom for millions of inhabitants.

He coined two phrases: “climate change denial,” and “environmental refugees.” He makes the definitive argument that even if there was a 10% chance that the climate models were correct, isn’t that worth the investment of time, and money, and people. “Look at the Cold War. What was the chance of the Soviet Union launching a nuclear attack? 100%.; 10%.? Turns out it was near 0%, in the end. They didn’t attack. Yet we spent how much?”

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