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Climate Scientist Hansen to Retire from NASA

James E. Hansen, perhaps the world’s most well known climate scientist, is retiring and stepping away from his position at NASA to pursue climate activism full time.

Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) has worked tirelessly to bring awareness to the subject of climate change and global warming throughout his career, sometimes earning him censorship attempts, but ultimately giving credibility to climate activism because of his expertise.

His warnings to the U.S. Congress in 1988 served as a wake-up call about the threat of the effects of climate change on the planet, and although most legislators were slow to agree that change was necessary, Hansen has spent a good portion of his life attempting to continue to persuade those policy makers that bold and decisive actions are necessary to bring down carbon emissions.

According to the Washington Post, Hansen said that he was retiring from his position “so that I can spend full time on science, drawing attention to the implications for young people, and making clear what science says needs to be done.”

Hansen, aged 72, says he will be stepping up his activism out of a moral obligation to the future:

“If we burn even a substantial fraction of the fossil fuels, we guarantee there’s going to be unstoppable changes. We’re going to leave a situation for young people and future generations that they may have no way to deal with.” – Hansen

A post from Bill McKibben at 350.org, pays tribute to the continuing legacy of James Hansen:

“… as much as for his science, we respect him for his courage. He’s always been willing to speak the truth bluntly, from the day in 1988 when he told Congress that the time had come “to stop waffling so much and say the planet was warming,” to all he’s done to bring attention to damaging projects like Keystone XL — even to the point of risking arrest to do so.”

Climate science has lost a giant of a spokesperson, but climate activism has gained one heck of a giant of a protestor.

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