Top Quotes by James Hansen

Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening.

James Hansen

It’s as certain that as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, we will just keep burning them.

James Hansen

Tipping points are so dangerous because if you pass them, the climate is out of humanity’s control: if an ice sheet disintegrates and starts to slide into the ocean there’s nothing we can do about that.

James Hansen

Several times in Earth’s history, rapid global warming occurred, apparently spurred by amplifying feedbacks. In each case, more than half of plant and animal species became extinct. New species came into being over tens and hundreds of thousands of years. But these are time scales and generations that we cannot imagine.

James Hansen

I have been described as the grandfather of climate change. In fact, I am just a grandfather and I do not want my grandchildren to say that grandpa understood what was happening but didn’t make it clear.

James Hansen

If your child gets asthma, the fossil fuel industry doesn’t pay. Or if there’s a natural disaster, the bill is paid by the taxpayer, not the fossil fuel company.

James Hansen

Adding CO2 to the air is like throwing another blanket on the bed.

James Hansen

As species are exterminated by shifting climate zones, ecosystems can collapse, destroying more species.

James Hansen

We need to send a message to Congress and the president that we want them to take the actions that are needed to preserve climate for young people and future generations and all life on the planet.

James Hansen

What has become clear from the science is that we cannot burn all of the fossil fuels without creating a very different planet.

James Hansen

The democratic process is supposed to be one person one vote, but it turns out that money is talking louder than the votes.

James Hansen

The evidence for human-made climate change is overwhelming.

James Hansen

The five warmest years over the last century occurred in the last eight years.

James Hansen

Climate change is analogous to Lincoln and slavery or Churchill and Nazism: it’s not the kind of thing where you can compromise.

James Hansen

Until the public demands otherwise, the policy makers will continue to serve their financiers.

James Hansen

Scientists will say we can’t blame global warming for any single event. In a sense that’s right, but the fact that the frequency and intensity of these events is increasing you can blame on global warming.

James Hansen

The United States did not sign Kyoto, yet its emissions are not that different from the countries that did sign it.

James Hansen

On a per capita basis, Britain is responsible for more of the carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere than any other nation on Earth because it has been burning it from the dawn of the Industrial Revolution.

James Hansen

What is frustrating people, me included, is that democratic action affects elections but what we get then from political leaders is greenwash.

James Hansen

You have no time to do the science if you’re talking to the media.

James Hansen

I’ve tried to be a straight scientist doing the science and reporting it as best I can.

James Hansen

You can’t tie a rope around the ice sheet. You can’t build a wall around the ice sheets.

James Hansen

I tend to be naive and gullible, I guess, but I try to believe that governments believe what they say.

James Hansen

Recent warming coincides with rapid growth of human-made greenhouse gases. The observed rapid warming gives urgency to discussions about how to slow greenhouse gas emissions.

James Hansen

Coal is responsible for as much atmospheric carbon dioxide as other fossil fuels combined and it still has far greater reserves. We must stop using it.

James Hansen

What makes tar sands particularly odious is that the energy you get out in the end, per unit carbon dioxide, is poor. It’s equivalent to burning coal in your automobile.

James Hansen

As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government.

James Hansen

Some Democrats deserve to be criticized.

James Hansen

You can’t turn on your television without seeing these advertisements about clean coal, clean tar sands and the claim that there’s more jobs associated with fossil fuels than other industries. That’s of course not true. But they’re hammering that into the voters’ heads.

James Hansen

Talking nice about sun and wind and green jobs is just greenwash.

James Hansen

What we are doing to the future of our children, and the other species on the planet, is a clear moral issue.

James Hansen

Jail threats did not dissuade Martin Luther King – and intergenerational justice is a moral issue of comparable magnitude to civil rights.

James Hansen

We have known since the 1800s that carbon dioxide traps heat in the atmosphere. The right amount keeps the climate conducive to human life.

James Hansen

The fact is fossil fuel carbon will stay in the surface climate system for millennia.

James Hansen

I was lucky to grow up at a time when it was not difficult for the child of a tenant farmer to make his way to the state university.

James Hansen

The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired power plants are factories of death.

James Hansen

After spending three or four years interacting with the Bush administration, I realized they were not taking any actions to deal with climate change. So, I decided to give one talk, and then it snowballed into another talk and eventually to even protesting and getting arrested.

James Hansen

Because cap and trade is enforced through the selling and trading of permits, it actually perpetuates the pollution it is supposed to eliminate.

James Hansen

Consider the perverse effect cap and trade has on altruistic actions. Say you decide to buy a small, high-efficiency car. That reduces your emissions, but not your country’s. Instead it allows somebody else to buy a bigger S.U.V. – because the total emissions are set by the cap.

James Hansen

Being at NASA and having the access to both computing capability and satellite observation capability is kind of the ideal research situation to try to understand global climate change.

James Hansen

With a fourth generation of nuclear power, you can have a technology that will burn more than 99 percent of the energy in the fuel. It would mean that you don’t need to mine uranium for the next thousand years.

James Hansen

Money has too big an influence on our politics in Washington and somehow we need to do something about that.

James Hansen