James Hansen, A Leader In Warning The Globe About Global Warming, To Retire From NASA After 46 Years

The New York Times has the scoop:

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….

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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.

Hansen is our country’s top climatologist. He has been one of our most tireless public servants for decades and has been right about the dangers posed by climate change longer than almost anyone else (see “1981 Hansen study finds warming trend that could raise sea levels”). We ignore him at our grave peril.

As the Times put it:

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.

Devoting himself to climate activism after 46 years at NASA shows he is keeping his eye on the prize — preserving a livable climate for his children and ours.

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.”

Did I mention that we ignore him at our peril?

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