James E. Hansen, the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming, will retire from NASA this week, giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases.
Dr. James Hansen, a pioneer in the study of global warming, was chosen "rebel with a cause" for 2013.
El importante científico climático James Hansen se retira para dedicarse al activismo
El principal científico climático de EEUU, el Dr. James Hansen, se retira tras más de 40 años de trabajo para centrarse en el activismo en torno a la lucha contra el calentamiento global.
Durante más de 25 años, el Dr. Hansen encabezó el Instituto Goddard de Estudios Espaciales, el centro de investigación climática de primer nivel de la NASA.
Su testimonio ante un comité del Senado en 1998 expuso por primera vez ante el mundo la amenaza del calentamiento global.
Durante el gobierno de George W. Bush, reveló públicamente que la Casa Blanca trataba de silenciar sus advertencias sobre la urgente necesidad de abordar el cambio climático.
Desde entonces, ha sido arrestado ante la Casa Blanca por protestar contra la minería de extracción en las cabeceras de cuenca de las montañas y el oleoducto Keystone XL.
Hansen afirma que ahora planea dedicar su tiempo a hacer campaña en Estados Unidos a favor de la reducción de las emisiones de gases con efecto invernadero, causantes del calentamiento global.
Dr. James Hansen, padre del calentamiento global, es nombrado "rebelde con causa 2013"
El Dr. James Hansen, uno de los pioneros en el estudio del calentamiento global, fue elegido "rebelde con causa" del 2013, por Conservation Colorado la última semana de marzo.
El grupo ecologista honrará al Dr Hansen en una gala el 13 de junio en el Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California St., Denver.
Hansen ha sido llamado el "padre del calentamiento global" por sus advertencias tempranas del fenómeno en la década de 1980. Actualmente es Director del Instituto Goddard para Estudios Espaciales en Nueva York. Pete Maysmith, director ejecutivo de Conservation Colorado, dijo de Hansen: "su voz de científico es importante en la lucha contra el cambio climático y en redireccionar el impacto que están teniendo en nuestro planeta los seres humanos".
En febrero de 2012, Hansen fue orador en la influyente conferencia TED. Su tema: "¿Por qué me tienen que hablar sobre el Cambio Climático".
Hansen habla de "los costos de continuar por el camino actual de calentamiento global y las opciones alternativas que les debemos a nuestros hijos y nietos".
El testimonio de Hansen ante comités del Congreso en la década de 1980 ayudó a aumentar la conciencia general del problema del calentamiento global.
Según el sitio web TED.com, Hansen es reconocido por decir la verdad al poder, para la identificación de políticas ineficaces como el lavado verde (greenwash) y para delinear las acciones que el público debe tomar para proteger el futuro de los jóvenes y de las especies en el planeta."
apr 2013 - Dr James E. Hansen of NASA, retiring this week, reflected in a window at his farm in Pennsylvania.
Dr James E. Hansen of NASA, retiring this week
His departure, after a 46-year career at the space agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, will deprive federally sponsored climate research of its best-known public figure.
At the same time, retirement will allow Dr. Hansen to press his cause in court. He plans to take a more active role in lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their failure to limit emissions, for instance, as well as in fighting the development in Canada of a particularly dirty form of oil extracted from tar sands.
“As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,” he said in an interview.
Dr. Hansen had already become an activist in recent years, taking vacation time from NASA to appear at climate protests and allowing himself to be arrested or cited a half-dozen times.
But those activities, going well beyond the usual role of government scientists, had raised eyebrows at NASA headquarters in Washington. “It was becoming clear that there were people in NASA who would be much happier if the ‘sideshow’ would exit,” Dr. Hansen said in an e-mail.
At 72, he said, he feels a moral obligation to step up his activism in his remaining years.
“If we burn even a substantial fraction of the fossil fuels, we guarantee there’s going to be unstoppable changes” in the climate of the earth, he said. “We’re going to leave a situation for young people and future generations that they may have no way to deal with.”
His departure, on Wednesday, will end a career of nearly half a century working not just for a single agency but also in a single building, on the edge of the Columbia University campus.
From that perch, seven floors above the diner made famous by “Seinfeld,” Dr. Hansen battled the White House, testified dozens of times in Congress, commanded some of the world’s most powerful computers and pleaded with ordinary citizens to grasp the basics of a complex science.
His warnings and his scientific papers have drawn frequent attack from climate-change skeptics, to whom he gives no quarter. But Dr. Hansen is a maverick, just as likely to vex his allies in the environmental movement. He supports nuclear power and has taken stands that sometimes undercut their political strategy in Washington.
In the interview and in subsequent e-mails, Dr. Hansen made it clear that his new independence would allow him to take steps he could not have taken as a government employee. He plans to lobby European leaders — who are among the most concerned about climate change — to impose a tax on oil derived from tar sands. Its extraction results in greater greenhouse emissions than conventional oil.
Dr. Hansen’s activism of recent years dismayed some of his scientific colleagues, who felt that it backfired by allowing climate skeptics to question his objectivity. But others expressed admiration for his willingness to risk his career for his convictions.
Initially, Dr. Hansen plans to work out of a converted barn on his farm in Pennsylvania. He has not ruled out setting up a small institute or taking an academic appointment.
He said he would continue publishing scientific papers, but he will no longer command the computer time and other NASA resources that allowed him to track the earth’s rising temperatures and forecast the long-run implications.
Dr. Hansen, raised in small-town Iowa, began his career studying Venus, not the earth. But as concern arose in the 1970s about the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases, he switched gears, publishing pioneering scientific papers.
His initial estimate of the earth’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases was somewhat on the high side, later work showed. But he was among the first scientists to identify the many ways the planet is likely to respond to rising temperatures and to show how those effects would reinforce one another to produce immense changes in the climate and environment, including a sea level rise that could ultimately flood many of the world’s major cities.
“He’s done the most important science on the most important question that there ever was,” said Bill McKibben, a climate activist who has worked closely with Dr. Hansen.
Around the time Dr. Hansen switched his research focus, in the 1970s, a sharp rise in global temperatures began. He labored in obscurity over the next decade, but on a blistering June day in 1988 he was called before a Congressional committee and testifiedthat human-induced global warming had begun.
Speaking to reporters afterward in his flat Midwestern accent, he uttered a sentence that would appear in news reports across the land: “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.”
Given the natural variability of climate, it was a bold claim to make after only a decade of rising temperatures, and to this day some of his colleagues do not think he had the evidence.
Yet subsequent events bore him out. Since the day he spoke, not a single month’s temperatures have fallen below the 20th-century average for that month. Half the world’s population is now too young to have lived through the last colder-than-average month, February 1985.
In worldwide temperature records going back to 1880, the 19 hottest years have all occurred since his testimony.
Again and again, Dr. Hansen made predictions that were ahead of the rest of the scientific community and, arguably, a bit ahead of the evidence.
“Jim has a real track record of being right before you can actually prove he’s right with statistics,” said Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, a planetary scientist at the University of Chicago.
Dr. Hansen’s record has by no means been spotless. Even some of his allies consider him prone to rhetorical excess and to occasional scientific error.
He has repeatedly called for trying the most vociferous climate-change deniers for “crimes against humanity.” And in recent years, he stated that excessive carbon dioxide emissions might eventually lead to a runaway greenhouse effect that would boil the oceans and render earth uninhabitable, much like Venus.
His colleagues pointed out that this had not happened even during exceedingly warm episodes in the earth’s ancient past. “I have huge respect for Jim, but in this particular case, he overstated the risk,” said Daniel P. Schrag, a geochemist and the head of Harvard’s Center for the Environment, who is nonetheless deeply worried about climate change.
Climate skeptics have routinely accused Dr. Hansen of alarmism. “He consistently exaggerates all the dangers,” Freeman Dyson, the famed physicist and climate contrarian,told The New York Times Magazine in 2009.
Perhaps the biggest fight of Dr. Hansen’s career broke out in late 2005, when a young political appointee in the administration of George W. Bush began exercising control over Dr. Hansen’s statements and his access to journalists. Dr. Hansen took the fight public and the administration backed down.
For all his battles with conservatives, however, he has also been hard on environmentalists. He was a harsh critic of a failed climate bill they supported in 2009, on the grounds that it would have sent billions into the federal government’s coffers without limiting emissions effectively.
Dr. Hansen agrees that a price is needed on carbon dioxide emissions, but he wants the money returned to the public in the form of rebates on tax bills. “It needs to be done on the basis of conservative principles — not one dime to make the government bigger,” said Dr. Hansen, who is registered as a political independent.
In the absence of such a broad policy, Dr. Hansen has been lending his support to fights against individual fossil fuel projects. Students lured him to a coal protest in 2009, and he was arrested for the first time. That fall he was cited again after sleeping overnight in a tent on the Boston Common with students trying to pressure Massachusetts into passingclimate legislation.
Dr. Hansen says he senses the beginnings of a mass movement on climate change, led by young people. Once he finishes his final papers as a NASA employee, he intends to give it his full support.
“At my age,” he said, “I am not worried about having an arrest record.”
The New York Times:
El término Antropoceno es usado por algunos científicos para describir el actual período en la historia terrestre desde que las actividades humanas han tenido un impacto global significativo sobre los ecosistemas terrestres. No hay una fecha precisa sobre su comienzo, pero algunos lo consideran junto con el inicio de la Revolución Industrial (a finales del siglo XVIII).1 Mientras tanto, otros investigadores remontan su inicio al comienzo de la agricultura. El término fue acuñado en el año 2000 por el ganador del premio Nobel de química Paul Crutzen, quien considera que la influencia del comportamiento humano sobre la Tierra en las recientes centurias ha sido significante, constituyendo una nueva era geológica. El uso de este término como concepto geológico oficial ha ganado fuerza desde el 2008 con la publicación de nuevos artículos que soportan esta tesis
Dr. James Hansen, father of global warming, is 2013 "rebel with a cause"
GLOBAL WARMINGMARCH 23, 2013
Dr. James Hansen, a pioneer in the study of global warming, was chosen "rebel with a cause" for 2013, Conservation Colorado announced Saturday.
The environmental group will honor Hansen in a gala 5-9 p.m. June 13 at the Denver Marriott City Center, 1701 California St., Denver.
Hansen has been called the “father of global warming” for his early warnings of the phenomenon in the 1980s. He is now Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. Pete Maysmith, executive director of Conservation Colorado, said of Hansen, “As a leading scientist, his voice is important in the fight to combat climate change and address the impact humans are having on our planet.”
In February 2012, Hansen was a speaker at for the influential TED nonprofit conference. His topic: “Why I Must Speak Out About Climate Change.”
Hansen talks about the costs of continuing on the current path to global warming and options that might turn it around. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren,” Hansen said in his TED talk.
James Hansen speaks out
TED credited Hansen’s testimony before congressional committees in the 1980s with helping to raise broad awareness of the global warming issue.
According to its website, “Hansen is recognized for speaking truth to power, for identifying ineffectual policies as greenwash and for outlining the actions that the public must take to protect the future of young people and the other species on the planet.”
Top Climate Scientist James Hansen Retires to Focus on Activism
The nation’s leading climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen, is retiring after more than 40 years to focus on activism around fighting global warming. For over 25 years, Dr. Hansen has headed the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA’s premiere climate research center. His testimony to a senate committee in 1988 first brought the threat of global warming to the world’s attention. Under the George W. Bush administration, he went public to reveal the White House tried to silence his warnings about the urgent need to address climate change. He has since been arrested outside the White House for protesting mountaintop removal and the Keystone XL pipeline. Hansen says he now plans to devote his time to campaigning in the United States for the reduction of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming
James Hansen has made key insights into our global climate -- and inspired a generation of activists and scientists.