Climate scientist James E. Hansen has championed global warming awareness for the length of his career – and he just announced that he plans to retire from NASA to focus on fighting greenhouse emissions in the courts. Hansen spent 46 years at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and although his retirement will take a key scientist out of the research lab, he’s looking forward to challenging federal and state governments on emissions and climate legislation.
Hansen is best known for presenting the idea of climate change to congressional committees back in 1988, highlighting global warming and its dangers. However, working for NASA and the government, he wasn’t able to legally press the issues against them. Hansen has been known to get his hands dirty, having been arrested several times at climate protests, but now with his resignation from NASA, he is able to take is advocacy to the next level.
Hanging up his hat at his office in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University in Manhattan, the 72 year old plans to dedicate time to lobbying European leaders to place taxes on the greenhouse emission-yielding oil derived from tar sands. With plans to work from a converted barn on his farm in Pennsylvania, Hansen plans to spend the rest of his days still publishing scientific papers for NASA, but also actively advocating to lessen greenhouse emissions legally, in both the United States and in Europe.