‘As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government.’
James Hansen, the NASA scientist credited with raising the earliest and most consistent alarm over the dangers of human-caused global warming and climate change has announced that he’s leaving his government job so that he can put his full energies into the climate movement he helped spur.
After almost half a century working for the government, he told the New York Times on Tuesday he now considered it appropriate to step outside so he could more fully join the political and legal fight to limit greenhouse gases and runaway climate change.
“As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,” he told the Times in an interview.
Bill McKibben, co-founder of the climate action group 350.org—which takes its names from the scientific number 350 parts per million that Hansen himself warned was the safe upper limit for carbon in the atmosphere—called Hansen the “patron saint” of the organization and hero for the global climate justice movement that has formed in recent years.
“As much as for his science,” McKibben continued, “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.”