Below is a press release following NASA climate scientist James Hansen’s talks in New Zealand. Only minor variations have been made for the purposes of this blog.

At the end of his tour of New Zealand, eminent climate scientist Dr James Hansen has written an open letter to Prime Minister John Key on behalf of New Zealand’s youth, calling on him to ‘exercise leadership on behalf of their future.’

In the letter, penned on the last day of his visit, Dr Hansen said ‘I recognize that New Zealanders, blessed with a land of rare beauty, are deeply concerned about threats to their environment.’

He advised Mr Key to ‘leave the massive deposits of lignite coal in the ground, ‘and instead develop New Zealand’s ‘natural bounty of renewable energies and energy efficiency’.

‘Your leadership in helping the public understand the facts and the merits of actions to ameliorate climate change will be important, as will New Zealand’s voice in support of effective international actions,’ he said.

‘The fact is that we, the older generation, are on the verge of handing young people a dynamically changing climate out of their control, with major consequences for humanity and nature.’

Aaron Packard of, said that around 4500 people saw Dr Hansen speak on his standing-room-only lecture tour of the country, and many thousands more had watched one of his lectures online, or heard or read about him in the media.

‘James Hansen has helped people understand the dangers of inaction on climate change, and galvanized that into demands for greater action from the government. As young people, we encouraged Dr Hansen to write this letter to John Key to help us preserve our own future on this planet,’ he said.

To read the letter James Hansen wrote to John Key click here.