NASA’S DR. JAMES HANSEN THINKS SO. BLAMES SPECIAL INTERESTS FOR STALLING TRANSITION TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
Dr. James Hansen, a noted climatologist and director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, in a posting on the NASA Web site, has called for the incarceration of fossil fuel executives for “spreading disinformation about global warming”. Dr. Hansen, an outspoken environmental advocate, is recommending that the executives be “tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”
Special interests, according to Dr. Hansen, have blocked our society’s “transition to our renewable energy future.” Their “methods are sophisticated, he notes, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.” “They (the fossil fuel companies) are aware of the long-term consequences of continued business as usual,” Hansen continued, as he likened their actions to those of the tobacco companies who initially attempted to “discredit the link between smoking and cancer”.
Now, this is not the first time that Dr. Hansen have taken the heads of polluting industries to task. He has been a thorn in the side of the oil and coal industries ever since initially sounding the alarm about global warming in an appearance before a Senate subcommittee over twenty years ago. It was this appearance that is credited with helping to “raise broad awareness” of the global warming issue.
In the intervening two decades, Dr Hansen has angered the Clinton administration, advised Al Gore in his highly successful evolution into America’s environmental conscience, and been censored by the Bushies. He did all this while pissing off the fossil fuel companies to the extent that they tried and failed to have their flunkies in the Bush administration rein him in.
This took the form of everything from having senior NASA administrators attempt to coerce him to change his public statements about the causes of climate change, a move which, of course, failed, to ordering NASA public relations staff to review his public statements and interviews. The latter was instituted following a 2005 lecture at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
But the attempts to silence him did not end there. During a appearance on the iconic, 60 Minutes, Hansen revealed that White House staffers had edited his climate-related press releases with the intention of “making global warming seem less threatening”. To make matters worse, the person charged with doing the editing was a former oil company executive, who after being outed for his part in this fiasco resigned from government and returned to the waiting arms of Big Oil.
At the time Hansen commented that in three decades in the government, he had “never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public.”
Among Dr. Hansen’s other unpopular positions – unpopular for the fossil fuel companies, that is – are his calls for retiring all coal-fired power plants that don’t capture carbon dioxide emissions by 2025. Currently there is no practical technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions.
His contention is that society will reach a “global tipping point” by 2016 if the human population is unable to reduce greenhouse gases.