Professor James Hansen of Columbia University, former Director of NASA
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was invited to visit the School of Physics
Peking University during December 21-22, 2015. Professor Hansen had a group
discussion with students and faculty in the Department of Atmospheric and
Oceanic Sciences, and delivered the Peking University Global Fellowship speech.
His visit received extensive attention from the mass media, including interviews
with Sanlian Lifeweek, Sohu and Tencent.
During the panel discussion in the morning of Dec. 21, Prof. Hansen patiently
answered many questions and concerns raised by the students and faculty. He
introduced, in great scientific detail, the cause, consequence and potential
solutions of climate change. He argued that the combination of carbon fee and
next-generation nuclear power would effectively reduce our use of fossil fuel,
and therefore reduce CO2 emission and mitigate global warming. It was further
pointed out that China’s rapid economic development, along with an increasing
demand of energy, provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to promote the study
of global change and the transition to clean energy, ensuring China’s leading
role in related fields and industries. Prof. Hansen had close and extensive
exchanges with more than 30 students and faculty members, on topics such as
global warming hiatus, an unprecedented El Niño event in 2015 and advancements
in climate simulation etc.
In the afternoon, Prof. Hansen was warmly welcomed by Prof. Gao Song, Vice
President of Peking University, in Yingjie Exchange Center. He later delivered a
passionate speech entitled Climate Change Problem & Opportunities: Finding a
Realistic Pathway to Clean Energy & Stable Climate, hosted by Prof. Hu Yongyun,
Vice Dean of the School of Physics and Chair of the Department of Atmospheric
and Oceanic Sciences. More than 200 students and scientists from PKU and other
universities and institutions attended this lecture. A 40-minute long Q&A
session was held following the speech.
Prof. Hansen is a world-renowned climatologist. He is best known for his
paper on Science regarding climate change and his testimony to congressional
committees in the 1980s, which helped raise public awareness of the global
warming issue. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1995 and
received numerous awards including the Carl-Gustaf Rossby and Roger Revelle
Research Medals, the Sophie Prize and the Blue Planet Prize.