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United States Senate, Dr. James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Scientific Papers or Reports

Regional Focus

Global, North America, United States, USA - Northeast, Washington D.C.



Statement of Dr. James Hansen to Congress - 1988

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  • This is a transcribed verbal statement Doctor James Hansen made to Congress regarding global warming.
  • The statement is one section of a larger report prepared as a transcript of a hearing in front of the Committee On Energy And Natural Resources.
  • The hearing was the first session on the greenhouse effect and global climate change.
Teaching Tips


  • Useful in a lesson or unit about primary sources, this transcribed statement proves that information regarding global warming has been acknowledged since, at least, 1988.
  • This document will be an excellent starting point for a discussion about the history behind the science of studying climate change.
  • The report predicts the extreme weather events of today as a direct result of the greenhouse effect.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should have prior knowledge of global warming and climate change.
  • The report contains rigorous vocabulary. Teachers may wish to provide a definition list as extra support.
  • Information is presented as a small portion of a much larger document, so teachers should closely monitor to ensure student focus.
  • "Viewgraphs" and "figures" that are mentioned are located further in the document and not included in this verbal statement.


  • Since the information is presented methodically, with clearly delineated topics, teachers can assign sections of the transcript to small groups, then conduct a round robin discussion of verbal summaries.
  • Connections can be made in math and statistics classes when learning about data analysis.
  • Educators who teach annotations will find this document helpful since the resource can be downloaded.  After downloading, students will be able to annotate either individually, or as a  small-group jigsaw activity.
Scientist Notes
The US Senate has helped to pass laws that could reduce greenhouse gases since 1988, and this resource includes scientific proof of climate change. This resource offers background data on particular industries that contribute to climate change and planning tools for strategically implementing legislative changes to address the global warming challenge. Educators should use this resource in class.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2 Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-5 Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-6 Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Language (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.4 Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.6 Analyze the author's purpose in providing an explanation, describing a procedure, or discussing an experiment in a text, defining the question the author seeks to address.
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts, attending to important distinctions the author makes and to any gaps or inconsistencies in the account.
    • Writing: History, Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.WHST.9-10.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
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