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On 30th Anniversary of Famous Climate Testimony, James Hansen Called 'The Paul Revere We Desperately Needed'

On 30th Anniversary of Famous Climate Testimony, James Hansen Called 'The Paul Revere We Desperately Needed'

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

Saturday marks the 30th anniversary of James Hansen's prophetic climate warning to Congress.

Commenting on the then-NASA scientist's testimony, climate activist and author Bill McKibben said Hansen took "climate change out of the labs and into public," and called him "the Paul Revere we desperately needed."

Before we lionize James Hansen:

Maybe he thinks we will evolve exoskeletons like roaches, immune to radioactive waste.


Studying climate change is better than no study at all, however,…

We need response to climate change. A total lack of response is an existential hazard to our grandchildren, probably mass starvation is the biggest threat. The book “Drawdown” is a start.

We need R&D here. That’s the major shortcoming of the book “Drawdown”. The Drawdown Foundation needs to hear (through you!) that the top seven up and coming carbon drawdown technologies are (in my opinion) as follows:

  1. Arctic albedo remediation on land, wind powered snowmaking
  2. and at sea, ice pack restoration
  3. Solar heated buildings in winter
  4. A new wave of transit replacing freeways
  5. Nighttime electricity generation, probably through solar thermal heat storage.
  6. Concentrated solar daylighting with more robust heliostats
  7. Only now do I rank “Drawdown”'s #1 priority, and so on down their line.

I actively challenge the authors and collaborators of the book “Drawdown” to take on and rank these new priorities relative to their current list of 100 policies. True science should have no false pride; if something is correct, just accept it as good science that you hadn’t previously heard about and then use it.

Finally, I need to point out that if the fossil fuel industry dislikes James Hansen, they are going to be horrified at the new inventors who will quickly flatten almost all worldwide demand for their industry. This is their financial death knell.

Anyone who values the end of fossil fuel will be the fierce ally of these specific R&D fields. Anybody on the other side, probably because of the vast pressure that $900 million per year in lobbying money can bring, will lie their heads off to you about “we’re doing everything we can about climate change” Call them on it and be relentless! For one example, your university could right now be driving the stake into the vampire’s heart and they’re doing something else entirely! I bet they’ll complain that “But, but, we’d have to use the university’s own money for that research!” Yep, and the fossil fuel industry would cut some lobbying money too."


One of the major problems we now face is the General Population not taking this serious, they may know it is happening, however, almost every warning I see basically says ‘look out!’ this or that will happen in a couple decades, or by the ‘Turn of the Century’, it gives the very false impression that we have time to fix it, I have been active for 50 years, I read everything I can find on Climate and related subjects, I believe we went too far, what we have set in motion will happen, we will have to ride it out, and we still have the ‘Petal to the Metal’, we may not survive, especially when some fool decides to ‘Nuke’ our problems away.


Why do these people use huge pictures that take up a lot of room and go rather off topic, picking an argument on some different subject when the story was specifically about James Hansen? They are somebody from the fossil fuel industry’s troll farm, that’s why.

With all respect, I don’t think that the author intends to “lionize” anyone.

In any event, perhaps Hansen’s proposed solution is not the best one. Perhaps but for him no one would be looking for solutions.

There are those who say that “Tacitus was better than Thucydides, and Virgil better than Homer, but glory to the first.”


Hansen is talking about fourth generation power plants mostly and to some extent third generation. We are familiar with first and second generation plants. I don’t agree with Hansen on this but fourth generation plants, which are still in the development stage, would be nowhere near as dangerous as the nuclear plants that now operate in the US and would not have the same nuclear waste problems. I wouldn’t say Hansen is wrong on this is his view as much as it not politically feasible in the US. It could work for some countries such as China but the political opposition here would be too great. I believe China in fact is going in that direction. I thinkthey are building third generation plants and some that are partially fourth generation. So at best his solution will only be applied on a limited basis and it appears the main forms of energy to replace fossil fuels will be solar and wind.

The large pictures happen automatically. Is there some way to keep them small? I don’t believe anyone who posts wants the large pictures.


Anyone who is interested can look it up in a search engine. Just go to duckduckgo.com and type in fourth generation nuclear power plant. For those too lazy here is one link to a wikipedia article.

Last night I was talking with a retired ecology professor friend of mine. Myself, I am a retired hydrology professor. We agreed that our careers were largely spent doing a pre-“autopsy” on the planet, as man’s inhumanity to man extends to all life on earth as we know it. It is sad to have such reflections upon our careers, but such reflections are unvarnished truth.


I would like to have a say in whether we should be guinea pigs for a new nuclear technology given as how the old ones have placed all life forever in danger.


Nuclear power has not “placed life in danger forever”. That is jsut over-the top misinformation. Nuclear power has not even been nearly as hazardous as many other common industrial and mining activities - asbestos, dioxins, benzene, PCB’s persistent organic compounds.

Instead of heroizing one guy who only focuses on one symptom of the problem, let’s admit that climate change isn’t the big picture.
The big picture is anthropogenic mass extinction–our species overpopulating, paving, terraforming, and polluting the biosphere while enslaving and killing billions of innocent, sentient animals per year.
The real heroes are long forgotten, people like Arne Naess, who warned more than 30 years ago that humans had to adopt an entirely different ethical and spiritual mindset or else they would extinguish life on earth!


I just supplied one link for the lazy. But I implied people could use a search engine to find as many links as they wanted. Wikipedia is usually pretty good but is no way the last word. Probably the main point is that Hansen based one of his solutions, fourth generation nuclear reactors, on something is not yet commercially available and perhaps never will be. Frankly I think Hansen was recommending something that is rather speculative and therefore it hardly seems like a solid proposal. But he wasn’t recommending second generation nuclear reactors such as those in the US yet I think many people who criticize him believe that is what he is recommending. Hansen of course is not an expert on nuclear physics. So what he says should be taken in that context. He is a really smart guy but his expertise is in climate science. He just feels that global warming is such an urgent crisis that we need all forms of energy that do not release greenhouse gases so he has included nuclear in the mix. He is not an environmentalist. As I mentioned above any use of nuclear energy would be strongly opposed in the US, and particularly so by environmentalists, although some are supporting nuclear energy as a solution.

More technobabble and geoengineering profiteering from a technoutopian.
Nothing is going to even begin to slow down the anthropogenic mass extinction event other than a drastic reduction in human population growth, a total retooling of the world economy way from consumerism and its inherent pollution and bulldozing, the cessation of killing billions of animals per year, cessation of the worship of human birth, and adoption of deep ecology principles.
Ice pack restoration, albedo remediation, etc…give me a break.
It’s just more of the same arrogant, speciesist, prideful and ultimately ecocidal “the earth is here for us humans to do whatever we want to it” ideology that the fossil fuel people believe in too.


Strontium-90 and cesium-137 have half-lives of about 30 years (half the radioactivity will decay in 30 years). Plutonium-239 has a half-life of 24,000 years.

High-level wastes are hazardous because they produce fatal radiation doses during short periods of direct exposure. For example, 10 years after removal from a reactor, the surface dose rate for a typical spent fuel assembly exceeds 10,000 rem/hour – far greater than the fatal whole-body dose for humans of about 500 rem received all at once. If isotopes from these high-level wastes get into groundwater or rivers, they may enter food chains. The dose produced through this indirect exposure would be much smaller than a direct-exposure dose, but a much larger population could be exposed.



This is a complete falsehood… worthy of Trump. Please troll elsewhere.


Basic research work has value, is useful. I knew a professor of fire safety and he didn’t put out any fires at all, not by himself. That doesn’t mean his research didn’t help equipment manufacturers down the road.

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Tell that to the fish in the Pacific.


Maybe you could replace Sarah Huckabee Sanders when she leaves the White House. Your alternative facts posts on climate should help you get the job.

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