Two James Hansen updates

James Hansen getting arrested at an August 2011 protest against the Keystone XL pipeline outside the White House
James Hansen getting arrested at an August 2011 protest against the Keystone XL pipeline outside the White House
James Hansen after getting released from Anacostia jail, 2011-08-29
James Hansen after getting released from Anacostia jail, 2011-08-29

NASA climatologist James Hansen

Bonus: a demonstration of why I can’t just hand my camera to passers-by to take a picture

After 32 years as the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, climatologist James Hansen is retiring (New York Times, Nature). He now intends to devote more of his time and energy to pushing for action on climate change.

One recent publication of Hansen’s: “Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power” in Environmental Science and Technology. From the abstract:

Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. On the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, we find that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420 000–7.04 million deaths and 80–240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels by midcentury, depending on which fuel it replaces.


Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “Two James Hansen updates”

  1. “We can’t look for an individual to replace him. Hansen is just one of a handful of people who built the whole foundation of current climate science,” Oppenheimer says. “What we should really be looking to replace is his willingness to speak out against those who tried to silence him; that was heroic and not everyone can do it.”

  2. James Hansen, the dean of climate scientists, retired from NASA in 2013 to become a climate activist. But for all the gloom of the report he just put his name to, Hansen is actually somewhat hopeful. That’s because he knows that climate change has a straightforward solution: End fossil-fuel use as quickly as possible. If tomorrow, the leaders of the United States and China would agree to a sufficiently strong, coordinated carbon tax that’s also applied to imports, the rest of the world would have no choice but to sign up. This idea has already been pitched to Congress several times, with tepid bipartisan support. Even though a carbon tax is probably a long shot, for Hansen, even the slim possibility that bold action like this might happen is enough for him to devote the rest of his life to working to achieve it. On a conference call with reporters in July, Hansen said a potential joint U.S.-China carbon tax is more important than whatever happens at the United Nations climate talks in Paris.

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