Amy Goodmanâ€™s Marxist Democracy Now! program hit the jackpot last week by introducing its viewers to National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) climatologist James Hansen, a man whoâ€™s views on man-made global warming are so radical that he thinks even Al Gore doesnâ€™t get it!
Hansen wants the climate talks (currently taking place in Copenhagen) to actually fail, since, in his view, the talks are fatally flawed and any agreements reached will be inadequate in averting the pending climate catastrophe. In fact, he believes that the entire negotiations should be started from scratch, but only after we stop burning all fossil fuels.
From the Democracy Now! report:
James Hansen: As long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy, theyâ€™re going to continue to be used and their use will increase. So we have to put a price on carbon. And the money that is collected from this price must be returned to the public 100 percent, either as a monthly dividend or a payroll tax deduction or a combination of those. If we do those things, the problem becomes solvable. If we donâ€™t, it is the biggest inter-generational injustice in the history of the world. Weâ€™ll be leaving our children and grandchildren with a situation out of their control. So weâ€™ve got to begin to influence the policies that are being talked about. And what is being talked about in Washington now and in Copenhagen now is totally inadequate. Itâ€™s greenwash. Itâ€™s cap and trade with offsets, which will be just like the Kyoto Protocol. It will do nothing to reduce global emissions.
In an interview with The Guardian last week, Hansen went so far as to equate any compromise on the use of fossil fuels to slavery or Nazism:
James Hansen: This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill. On those kinds of issues you cannot compromise. You can’t say let’s reduce slavery, let’s find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%.
In Hansenâ€™s view, he is the only one with the grasp and honesty to confront the issue of manâ€™s ruination of the atmosphere, and President Obama, Al Gore, and other politicians and scientists have failed to meet what he regards as this great â€œmoral challenge of our age.â€ He went so far as to call Obamaâ€™s climate policies â€œhalf-assed.â€
Many scientists who have worked with Hansen in the past, however, disagree with Hansenâ€™s self-assessment.
Retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon, Hansenâ€™s former supervisor, publicly declared that Hansen has â€œembarrassed NASAâ€ with his alarming climate claims.
NASA Physicist and Astronaut Walter Cunningham is also no Hansen fan. Cunningham has described Hansen as:
A political activist who spreads fear even when NASAâ€™s own data contradicts him. NASA should be at the forefront in the collection of scientific evidence and debunking the current hysteria over human-caused, or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Unfortunately, it is becoming just another agency caught up in the politics of global warming, or worse, politicized science.
Hansen has in the past called for the arrest of those who disagree with him, and while at NASA has been accused of manipulating data which resulted in false and misleading conclusions. He is a leading critic of the coal industry, and was arrested last summer protesting at a West Virginia coal mine.
What Hansen lobbies for indefatigably, however, is an immediate â€œcarbon taxâ€ on fossil fuels–a tax that is so outrageously high that all manufacturing would be brought to an immediate standstill.
Such a tax would, in Hansenâ€™s view, be the most likely to have the desired effect of â€œforcing us to change our ways.â€
Notice Hansenâ€™s preferred method of change: the use of force.