Climate Change Hansen to Obama:  You Have Only 4 Years Left to Save the Earth

Published on January 18th, 2009 | by Jennifer Lance


Hansen’s Grim Warning to Obama: You Have Only 4 Years Left to Save the Earth

You Have Only 4 Years Left to Save the Earth

Four years, aka one presidential term, is all the time Obama has to save the Earth according to NASA scientist James Hansen.


Hansen testified to Congress over twenty years ago alerting the world that climate change was under way.  Five presidential terms later, Obama is left with a crisis of epic proportion.  Hansen warns:

“We cannot afford to put off change any longer.  We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”

Hansen’s advice to Obama to act quickly and decisively on climate change policy by:

  • Urgently investigating the current state of the polar ice cap
  • Imposing a carbon tax because cap-and-trade has failed
  • Placing a moratorium on new coal burning power plants

The Observer describes Hansen’s sense of urgency on global warming:

After eight years of opposing moves to combat climate change, thanks to the policies of President George Bush, the US had given itself no time for manoeuvre, he said. Only drastic, immediate change can save the day and those changes proposed by Hansen – who appeared in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and is a winner of the World Wildlife Fund’s top conservation award – are certainly far-reaching.

In particular, the idea of continuing with “cap-and-trade” schemes, which allow countries to trade allowances and permits for emitting carbon dioxide, must now be scrapped, he insisted

…Thus plans to include carbon trading schemes in talks about future climate agreements were a desperate error, he said.

Obama has stated on the campaign trail that he did support cap-and-trade.  Hansen believes the world is “imminent peril” and calls the Kyoto climate treaty “weak tea”.  The grandfather of climate change believes carbon trading is greenwashing, and Obama must act within his first administration to halt climate change. Geniune climate change policies must be part of the hope and change Obama promised American voters.  At least Obama won’t try to silence Hansen and other NASA scientists like George W. Bush did in his administration.

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About the Author

Jennifer lives on 160 acres off-the-grid in a home built with her own two hands (and several more skilled pairs of hands) from forest fire salvaged timber. Her home is powered by a micro-hydro turbine, and she has been a vegetarian for 21 years. Jennifer graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in art education and has been teaching art to children for over 16 years. She also spent five years teaching in a one-room schoolhouse before becoming the mother of two beautiful children. Jennifer has a Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education and is currently teaching preschool, as well as k-8 art. She enjoys writing, gardening, hiking, practicing yoga, and raising four akitas. Jennifer is the founder and editor of Eco Child's Play ( "I’ve always been concerned about the earth and our impact upon it. Now that I have children, I feel compelled to raise them with green values. From organic gardening to alternative energy, my family tries to leave a small carbon footprint." Please visit my other blog:

7 Responses to Hansen’s Grim Warning to Obama: You Have Only 4 Years Left to Save the Earth

  1. Kevin says:

    I thought is was Global waming. The climate always changes. Wow it's cold out right now.

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  3. Ed Crelin says:

    Hansen has been making screaming claims for twenty years you are correct, can you list, or even make any list of any of the predictions that have even been remotely accurate? His hurricane projections have been dead wrong each and every year and the warming that was to have enveloped us has not occurred in fact quite the opposite, we have been cooling slowly since 1998. Sea ice is back with a vengeance. Does the fact that he keeps yelling make him a qualified scientist? He IS quite correct about cap and trade, that is all hokum anyway, but the entire premise is baloney and is being proven out every day…

  4. Bob says:

    Have any of you looked at the contribution of water vapor and non-human contributions to greenhouse gases?

    To ignore natural sources of greenhouse gas is irresponsible and costly.

  5. Kevin, climate change is scientifically a more accurate term, as we are experiencing more severe weather. It is true that the temperatures are rising, but we are having more severe storms and some areas may be cooling. Here’s the link to a post I wrote about the two terms, if you are interested.

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