Dr. James Hansen: Courageous Leader in Climate Change Science
As early as 1988, Dr. James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the world's leading climate experts, spoke before the US Senate, demonstrating through computer models and temperature data that a human-caused greenhouse effect was changing Earth's climate. At the time few were aware of the impending serious situation, but today the majority of scientists and public officials seek his expert advice on the subject.
Through the years, Dr. Hansen has made it his mission to explain global warming and the scientific community's consensus on the seriousness of the crisis to a variety of audiences, from the general public to government personnel. Like many seasoned climate-science researchers, Dr. Hansen is increasingly concerned about the results of their studies, so his message to the world is: "If global emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise at the rate of the past decade, research shows that there will be disastrous effects, including increasingly rapid sea level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones." Indeed, in Dr. Hansen's words, we could be "looking at a different planet."
Dr. Hansen continuously promotes strategies and policies to prevent climate-related disasters and believes "the public should be honestly informed about research findings and their implications for public policy." Working to help governments understand and reassess their priorities, he has proposed a range of measures, including an immediate moratorium on coal power stations. Regarding the urgency of the crisis, he says, "We're really running out of time. We've really got to get started in the next few years, so that we're really on a different path."
This distinguished American scientist and leader has received more than 20 honors recognizing his work, beginning in 1977 with the Goddard Special Achievement Award. On February 16, 2008, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) honored him for his exemplary actions in helping foster scientific freedom and responsibility. More recently, Dr. Hansen received the Shining World Hero Award from Supreme Master Ching Hai for his many contributions and courageous work. The Award was presented "in recognition of boldly speaking the truth, generating worldwide awareness of the state of our planet and advocating change to save our wondrous planet." Although he was unable to accept the Award in person due to his busy schedule, Dr. Hansen humbly said the following in his letter of appreciation: "It is certainly the most unusual accolade that I have received, and I am honored and happy to accept."
Congratulations to Dr. James Hansen for courageously communicating to the world the important message about global warming. May the combined efforts of scientists, governments and the public bring about a complete change of course so as to help put our Earth on a more constructive path.
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