Spending a few minutes with James Hansen at Wired's town hall event last Thursday for the opening of "An Inconvenient Truth" was a personal highlight in a week filled with highs. The "Elvis" of global warming, Hansen has demonstrated unbelievable courage by speaking out for two decades against his employers' (i.e. administrations past and current) dishonest efforts to rewrite and alter scientific climate reports, and by steadfastly pursuing the truth, no matter how inconvenient. When Hansen speaks, softly but authoritatively, I lean in and hang on every word. "We are at a point where we are going to go up two degrees more," he told me. "But two more degrees is the highest we dare go."
Hearing Jim say that sent shivers down my spine.
Paul Krugman wrote yesterday about the persecution Hansen endured in the years following his early warning -- delivered 18 years ago -- that global warming was real and should be taken seriously. Footage from 1989 in which Hansen reveals to then-Senator Al Gore that his work had been altered by the first Bush White House is one of the many chilling moments in "An Inconvenient Truth."
But don't take my word for it. Go see the movie. Take your kids, take your parents. Organize a school field trip, sponsor a science class. We've been warned before. We're being warned again. This time, we need to listen.