James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress – in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming – to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the “perfect storm” of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.
Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.
In an interview with the Guardian he said: “When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that’s a crime.”
He is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated. Hansen’s speech to Congress on June 23 1988 is seen as a seminal moment in bringing the threat of global warming to the public’s attention. At a time when most scientists were still hesitant to speak out, he said the evidence of the greenhouse gas effect was 99% certain, adding “it is time to stop waffling”.
He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.
The current concentration is 385 parts per million and is rising by 2ppm a year. Hansen, who heads Nasa’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says 2009 will be a crucial year, with a new US president and talks on how to follow the Kyoto agreement.
He wants to see a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, coupled with the creation of a huge grid of low-loss electric power lines buried under ground and spread across America, in order to give wind and solar power a chance of competing. “The new US president would have to take the initiative analogous to Kennedy’s decision to go to the moon.”
His sharpest words are reserved for the special interests he blames for public confusion about the nature of the global warming threat. “The problem is not political will, it’s the alligator shoes – the lobbyists. It’s the fact that money talks in Washington, and that democracy is not working the way it’s intended to work.”
A group seeking to increase pressure on international leaders is launching a campaign today called 350.org. It is taking out full-page adverts in papers such as the New York Times and the Swedish Falukuriren calling for the target level of CO2 to be lowered to 350ppm. The advert has been backed by 150 signatories, including Hansen.
Source: The Guardian
Listen here to his appearance on the Diane Rehm show.
Somebody’s having a temper tantrum because people disagree with him, and he is urging the government to jail the people who hold differing opinions which, the last time I checked, is completely unconstitutional. He needs to grow a pair. And what the hell is wrong with NASA, anyway? If he would have publicly called for all CEOs of, say, cat food companies to be seized and put on trial, surely somebody somewhere would have said “I do not think that you should be doing this as a representative of NASA; therefore, I suggest you undergo psychological testing and counseling or seek a job elsewhere. Now.” I can just imagine he’s a joy for the underlings that have to work with him, too. “I said COKE, not DIET COKE! Seize him and hold him for trial for high crimes against humanity and nature!”
I would characterize myself as a huge doubter. I suppose all of us that have doubts about anything that a megalomaniac decides to proclaim as the great cosmic truth of the day should be tossed in jail and tried as doubters as well. I, however, receive no financial support whatsoever for looking at research that completely contradicts his and making my own decisions. He, on the other hand, has gotten HUGE amounts of money to promote global warming. So who is purer than the driven snow here?
The problem Mr. Hansen is having is that there are people in the USA above the (mental age) of 12 and physical age of, say, 40 who remember the 70s and all the grim prognostications then about how we were all gonna DIEEEEEE if we didn’t quit doing whatever it was that we were doing.
Now stupid people are reporting about how “global warming” caused the floods in the midwest when any moron could look at the temperature map while it was occurring and note that the states in question had below normal temperatures for this time of year which the warm, humid air (normal for this time of year) from the gulf coast collided with, thus creating monster thunderstorms. I hold him responsible for the dumbing down of the media which is, of course, a high crime against humanity and nature. Put him on trial! (Update: Whoops. Perhaps I’ve been too harsh on the media. They were just quoting Jim Hansen.)
What the hell is high crimes against humanity and nature, anyway? Sounds like somebody went out goat raping.
Meanwhile, I’m a little aggravated that I haven’t gotten any prominence from the oil companies (you gotta listen to his statements on the Diane Rehm show.) Of course, I’m just one of those easily confused members of the public that aren’t capable of listening to him and a scientist that does not believe in his theories debate and then make the correct decision.