Political Climate
Jul 05, 2008
The James Hansen Crusade Against Fossil Fuels

By Dr. Fred Singer

Dr. James Hansen, chief of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, came to Washington on June 18 at the invitation of Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass) to recreate his famous testimony of the hot, drought-stricken summer of 1988.  In this testimony, presided over by Senator Tim Wirth, he had claimed, with 99 percent certainty, that global warming (GW) was manmade; it had a lot to do with starting the craze of climate catastrophism.  At that time, Hansen predicted huge temperature increases and apocalyptic consequences, such as sea level rise and catastrophic weather events, unless we stopped burning fossil fuels to generate energy. 

It was this hype that led me, first to publish an op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal, then a more detailed article (with oceanographer Roger Revelle and energy expert Chauncey Starr), and finally to studies which concluded that climate change was caused by natural forces rather than by man’s emission of greenhouse gases. Twenty years later, we find that temperatures have hardly increased—in fact they have been falling in the last ten years—and that sea level is nowhere near the levels predicted.  None of this has diminished Hansen’s stature as a “prophet” to “true believers” in GW.  The acolytes of Al Gore consider Hansen to be the oracle of climate science and have adopted his views uncritically.  He himself has not wavered; he now claims certainty “exceeding 99 percent.”

But Hansen has become delusional and this has affected his science adversely.  He is possessed by the idea of a “tipping point” - an irreversible change in climate.  He is also completely out of step with the “mainstream,” defined as the UN-sponsored group of climate experts, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), who also assert that the cause of climate change is mostly human.  Hansen is certainly in complete disagreement with the growing number of “climate skeptics,” who believe that the cause is mostly natural. It has become impossible to carry on a scientific discussion with Hansen.  His belief in climate catastrophes has reached a religious fervor; he sees himself as a lone figure, “muzzled” by evil forces, while “crying in the wilderness.” In his appearance in Washington last month he called for oil executives to be tried for “high crimes against humanity and nature.” It is Hansen, and people like him who are spreading disinformation by demonizing carbon dioxide, an innocuous gas and natural component of the atmosphere.  Strangely, we support his suggestion for a trial because it would allow the whole matter to be brought into a court of law where evidence has to be produced and cross-examination is permitted.  This may be the only way to stop the climate alarmism and quasi-religious movement of which Hansen has been a prime instigator. See English translation of this Italian Newspaper story here.

Icecap Note: Thanks to SPPI for this Hansen letter to Japanese Prime Minister. Hansen continues acting as international lobbyist and crusader again hydrocarbons. Pity he is so muzzled by the Bush Administration.

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