Is This Our Final Warning?

Dr. James Hansen

In 1988 James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Space Institute for Space Studies, told the U.S. Senate "It's time to stop waffling ... and say that the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now." Unfortunately, very little has been done by the U.S. goverment in the past 20 years to address the causes of global warming. Congress and the U.S. have been given a second warning. On June 23, 2008 James Hansen testified before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that the time to address Global Warming is now.

Dr. Hansen's 1988 Senate testimony on Global Warming was clear and direct. Yet, the Fossil Fuel Industry found ways to confuse the subject and sow doubt regarding Global Warming. This tactic of muddying the waters regarding atmospheric science and Global Warming effectively delayed or derailed actions that could have reduced CO2 emissions and slowed or stopped climate change. Author Mark Bowen documented this anti-science and global warming denial campaign in his book 'Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming'.

In the past 20 years worldwide CO2 emissions (+29% from 1980 to 2001) and global warming have continued to grow. Dr. Hansen warns that the Earth's climate is approaching a tipping point, beyond which global warming will accelerate more rapidly and become even more difficult to stop. Along with his warnings of impending climate change, Hansen also suggests a course of action. Dr. Hansen recommends a Carbon Tax with 100% dividend for the public. Hansen argues that this tax will both drive development of low or no-carbon fuels and efficiency innovations in every form of energy use while being non-regressive.

While government and industry have been slow to act, public opinion and awareness have come around on Global Warming. We now understand that climate change is happening and we must make the necessary changes to stop it. I agree with Dr. Hansen who urges "The public must send a message to Washington. Preserve our planet, creation, for our children and grandchildren..." If current politicians will not 'stop waffling' on global warming, it is time to vote for new leaders who will work to stop climate change.

More Info:

NYTimes: Years Later, Climatologist Renews His Call for Action

Global Warming Twenty Years Later: Tipping Points Near by James Hansen

Columbia News Q & A: Professor James Hansen

NPR: James Hansen and Mark Bowen on Censored Science

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming by Mark Bowen

World Energy Use and Carbon Dioxide Emissions, 1980-2001