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Global Warming is NASA's Legacy? How Space Agency Led Way on Climate Change

Image: Global Warming is NASA's Legacy? How Space Agency Led Way on Climate Change
Dr. James E. Hansen. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images, file)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 08:02 PM

In the summer of 1988, Dr. James E. Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies presented Congress with expert testimony on global warming. Hansen's research conclusions were alarming. His testimony brought the issue into the spotlight and put NASA in the role of leading the charge against climate change.

Dr. Hansen presented details of his research on the "greenhouse effect" to members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and his testimony caused several senators to call for action. Hansen claimed the three principle conclusions of the research done by NASA:

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1. "The earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements."

2. "The global warming is now sufficiently large that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship to the greenhouse effect."

3. "In our computer climate simulations the greenhouse effect now is already large enough to begin to affect the probability of occurrence of extreme events such as summer heat waves." 

The New York Times' report, "Global Warming Has Begun, Expert Tells Senate" stated: "Until now, scientists have been cautious about attributing rising global temperatures of recent years to the predicted global warming caused by pollutants in the atmosphere, known as the 'greenhouse effect.' But today Dr. James E. Hansen of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration told a Congressional committee that it was 99 percent certain that the warming trend was not a natural variation but was caused by a buildup of carbon dioxide and other artificial gases in the atmosphere." 

After NASA's research findings on the greenhouse effect were presented to Congress in 1988, the space agency continued its extensive research into climate science. NASA remains a leading proponent of anthropogenic global warming today.

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After 46 years at the helm of NASA's Goddard Institute, Dr. Hansen retired in 2013 so that he could spend less time working for NASA and more time as a climate change activist pushing for carbon reductions in both the political and legal sphere.

In April 2013, 26 years after The New York Times reported that "Global Warming Has Begun," it reported "Climate Maverick to Retire From NASA," calling Hansen "the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming."

According to the article, Hansen had ruffled a few feathers at NASA with his climate activist actions, which included being "arrested or cited half-dozen times." Hansen indicated that NASA would be happier without the "sideshow" and said, "As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government.”

According to the former NASA scientist, at 72 years old, he is not worried about having an arrest record; he has a moral obligation to continue his fight against global warming. 

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In the summer of 1988, Dr. James E. Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies presented Congress with expert testimony on global warming. Hansen's research conclusions were alarming.
global, warming, at, NASA
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2014-02-09
Tuesday, 09 Dec 2014 08:02 PM
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