A few years ago I wanted to distribute a copy of an article in the Scientific American to the Protons for Breakfast class. I e-mailed the journal to ask their permission and they told me that the copyright resided with James Hansen, the author. I e-mailed him, barely expecting a reply, but instead received a friendly and positive reply: I immediately liked him.
I then learned a bit a more about him and my admiration has only increased.
Take 17 minutes to watch his talk at TED. He is spectacularly unspectacular, but for me that just makes what he has to say all the more dramatic.
James Hansen’s talk at TED (Link corrected: Thanks Ed)
I am not a climate scientist. I am physicist who has stumbled into this field and I am trying to make sense of it all. James Hansen is a climate scientist and his genuine alarm at the prospect facing humanity is clear. I don’t know if his fears will become reality, but I find his reliance on science rather than rhetoric very powerful.
When I hear him speak I feel I am listening to a human being who understands enough to feel compelled to shout ‘Fire’ in the ‘cinema’ of the modern world. He feels that no matter what the consequences, we must face up to the climate challenge ahead. Being prepared to be arrested for his insistence that the US government should listen to what the science (they have paid for!) has to say seems like an act of great bravery to me.