Climatologist James Hansen, who is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the creator of one of the first climate models that predicted global warming, is convinced that the problem of climate change caused by humans is much more dire than is generally thought (subscribers only link; abstract).
Hansen has now concluded, partly on the basis of his latest modeling efforts and partly on the basis of observations made by other scientists, that the threat of global warming is far greater than even he had suspected. Carbon dioxide isn’t just approaching dangerous levels; it is already there. Unless immediate action is taken-including the shutdown of all the world’s coal plants within the next two decades-the planet will be committed to climate change on a scale society won’t be able to cope with. “This particular problem has become an emergency,” Hansen said.
Hansen is so adamant about this belief that he has begun participating in protests around the globe, an unusual level of activism for such a respected and high-ranking government official. The last sentence of the piece reads:
He said he was thinking of attending another demonstration soon, in West Virginia coal country.
Elizabeth Kolbert, the author of the piece above, reports that Hansen not only attended that demonstration but got arrested.