by Andrew Follett
The former NASA climate scientist who predicted parts of New York City would soon be underwater now says he’s not a global warming “alarmist.”
“I don’t think that I have been alarmist — maybe alarming, but I don’t think I’m an alarmist,” James Hansen, who used to head up NASA’s climate arm, told Yale Environment 360 in an interview republished in The Guardian Tuesday.
Hansen, dubbed the “godfather” of global warming, was interviewed about a study he co-authored last month, which claimed future global warming would be worse than predicted. The study found global warming would cause massive sea level rise, flooding of major cities such as New York and enormous super storms. But that’s not the first time Hansen made dire sea level rise predictions.
In 1988, a Washington Post reporter asked Hansen what a warming Earth would look like in 20 or 40 years in the future. Hansen reportedly looked out a window and said New York City’s “West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water.”
“And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change,” he said.
Hansen also predicted that global warming would cause a drastic rise in crime in the Big Apple, because “you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.”
Hansen may have been talking about a sea-level rise 40 years from 1998, but that wouldn’t make any difference as the level of rise Hansen was predicting still hasn’t happened.
Hansen blamed the general public’s lack of science education for why he’s been criticized as an “alarmist,” saying “we have a society in which most people have become unable to understand or appreciate science, and partly that’s a communication problem which we need to try to alleviate.”
Hansen also claimed that New York and other coastal cities are still at risk from global warming, despite his previous record of failed predictions.
“There’s no argument about the fact that we will lose the coastal areas,” Hansen said to Yale Environment. “It’s only a question of how soon.”
Other climate scientists claim that the mechanisms Hansen uses to explain extreme global warming are “pure speculation.”