DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN — Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), will give a talk, “Human-made Climate Change: A Scientific, Economic and Moral Issue,” on Tuesday, May 8, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at New York City College of Technology (City Tech), 300 Jay St. The free lecture is open to the public.
In addition to heading NASA GISS, Dr. Hansen is adjunct professor of earth and environmental sciences at Columbia University’s Earth Institute. Since the mid-1970s, Hansen has focused on studies and computer simulations of the Earth’s climate for the purpose of understanding the human impact on global climate.
He is best known for his congressional testimony on climate change in the 1980s that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. In recent years, Hansen has drawn attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed.
Hansen disputes the contention, made by fossil fuel interests and governments that support them, that fossil fuels can be burned indefinitely, with their combustion products safely discharged into the atmosphere. Instead, he has outlined steps that are needed to stabilize climate and provide for a cleaner atmosphere and ocean, and he emphasizes the need for the public to influence government and industry policies.
Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995, Hansen was designated by Time magazine in 2006 as one of the 100 most influential people on Earth. He has received numerous awards, including the Carl-Gustaf Rossby and Roger Revelle research medals, the Sophie Prize and the Blue Planet Prize.
Hansen was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa, where he received his PhD in 1967. His early research on the clouds of Venus helped identify their composition as sulfuric acid.
The Hansen lecture marks the first public event sponsored by City Tech’s new Center for Remote Sensing and Earth System Sciences, which specializes in the broad, interdisciplinary study of environmental and global change primarily via ground-based and satellite remote sensing. The center’s activities are focused on preserving, enhancing and sustaining the Earth and its environment.