Jul 02
No cap & trade!

No cap & trade!

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel tells the now familiar tale of “suppressed” EPA employee, Alan Carlin, and thinks that James Hansen ought to be defending Carlin.  She’s got a point.

Wherever Jim Hansen is right now — whatever speech the “censored” NASA scientist is giving — perhaps he’ll find time to mention the plight of Alan Carlin. Though don’t count on it.

Mr. Hansen, as everyone in this solar system knows, is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Starting in 2004, he launched a campaign against the Bush administration, claiming it was censoring his global-warming thoughts and fiddling with the science. It was all a bit of a hoot, given Mr. Hansen was already a world-famous devotee of the theory of man-made global warming, a reputation earned with some 1,400 speeches he’d given, many while working for Mr. Bush. But it gave Democrats a fun talking point, one the Obama team later picked up.

Read the rest at the Journal.

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Jul 02

Letter writer who says reducing CO2 emissions is a ‘no-brainer’ candidly adds, ‘Global warming is essentially a politically motivated behavior-change device.’

By Editor James Hansen, Letter to the Editor Comments Off on Letter writer who says reducing CO2 emissions is a ‘no-brainer’ candidly adds, ‘Global warming is essentially a politically motivated behavior-change device.’

Anti-cap and trade black ribbon

Anti-cap & trade black ribbon

From The Oregonian:

Paul Krugman is the latest to suggest that anyone who dissents from the orthodox scientific view on global warming is not just mistaken but irresponsible, traitorous and yes, immoral — in short, a heretic (“Committing treason against the whole planet,” June 30).

This is about as unscientific a view as I can imagine and smacks of nothing so much as the church’s earlier attempts to silence those who disagreed with its interpretation of the Bi
ble.

However, Krugman is right on when he compares the threat of global warming to the Bush administration’s fear-mongering regarding terrorism.

Global warming is essentially a politically motivated behavior-change device. The only reason predictions have recently become more dire is that the less dire predictions failed to scare people into action. This is both unnecessary and silly. Lowering carbon emissions is a no-brainer and shouldn’t require resorting to junk science and apocalyptic rhetoric.

GARY MIRANDA
Southeast Portland

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Jun 23

Don’t forget that Hansen takes part in these protests while he’s on a paid vacation funded by myself and my fellow Americans.

From the YouTube notes:

Daryl Hannah, NASA scientist James Hansen and former W.Va. Congressman Ken Hechler were among 31 people arrested at a non-violent protest of mountaintop removal coal mining near Massey Energy’s Goals Coal processing plant on June 23, 2009.

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Jun 23

Not that James Hansen’s arrest was a surprise, since that was his goal.

Via Climate Depot, SFGate’s Thin Green Line is reporting:

Actress Daryl Hannah was arrested this afternoon in West Virginia along with NASA climatologist James Hansen, local activist Michael Brune of Rainforest Action Network, Goldman Prize winner Judy Bonds, 94-year-old former U.S. Representative Ken Hechler and more than a dozen others.

They were protesting at an elementary school threatened by a 2.8-billion-gallon coal sludge impoundment where coal dust in the air exceeds acceptable limits. Protestors trespassed on land owned by coal giant Massey Energy.

The protest is part of a string of increasingly dramatic actions objecting to the Obama Administration’s announcement that the EPA will reform, but not abolish, mountaintop removal mining. Later this week, Congress will host a hearing titled, “The Impacts of Mountaintop Removal Mining on Water Quality in Appalachia.”

Many will now (and have) called for Hansen to be fired from his post at NASA. As noted on our post of March 18, 2009, Hansen will likely offer up the same lame excuse that he does his protesting while he’s on vacation. An excerpt from his video interview during a coal plant earlier this year:

Interviewer: Are you here as an employee of NASA?

James Hansen: No! Of course not. I’m here, I’m on vacation today.

Interviewer: You’re here as a private citizen then?

Hansen: Yes, of course.

Interviewer: Some people are going to say, “But you’re James Hansen, you’re always, you’re always identified with NASA”, and they’re saying you’re splitting hairs.

Hansen: I’m also a Columbia University adjunct professor, I mean I, uh, haven’t given up my rights as a US citizen, and freedom of speech is one of them.

The video of that protest earlier this year:

Note that the interviewer seems unconvinced by Hansen’s lame excuse.

I wonder how many paid vacation days Hansen has left for this year?

I also wonder if I’m the only person who is bothered by the fact that Hansen is going on these little adventures courtesy of our tax dollars?

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Jun 17

To paraphrase Tom Nelson, more raving madness from James Hansen.

The following exchange can be found at about 8:30 in the video.

Softball question for James Hansen:

…I wonder if that’s not another part of the reason that the public has a certain trouble connecting this is ’cause we in the press for so long mimicking you, with all due respect, in the scientific world.  Most of your models were talking about the year 2100 as when we would REALLY feel the impacts, and hasn’t climate change arrived 100 years sooner than you scientists expected?

To which Hansen deadpans:

…The climate models were not, uh, are more sluggish than the real world has turned out to be.

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Feb 03

Cartoon: James Hansen as Chicken Little

By Editor James Hansen Comments Off on Cartoon: James Hansen as Chicken Little

Created by Day by Day Cartoon (Chris Muir).

Hat tip: No Runny Eggs

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Jan 29

Andrew Freedman seems to be losing faith in James Hansen:

It normally does not make news when the American Meteorological Society (AMS) gives out awards at its annual meetings, but this year is an exception. At their 2009 meeting in Phoenix earlier this month, the AMS bestowed its highest honor, the “Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal,” to James (Jim) E. Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen is arguably the country’s (if not the world’s) most prominent climate scientist, but he also is a well-known climate activist who has been pushing for significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

By honoring Hansen, the AMS has raised questions about the proper role of scientists in a world that is facing complex challenges that mix science and politics. A key issue is whether it is appropriate for prominent scientists to serve dual roles as researchers and advocates for political change, or if must there be a clear separation between the two. In Hansen’s case, the line between science and politics has been blurry, as I discussed in a column last summer.

In bestowing the Rossby medal upon Hansen, the AMS cited his “outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena.”

His body of work is not at issue, as Hansen is widely admired in the climate science community for his breakthrough advances in climate modeling and for his contributions to the knowledge of changes in atmospheric composition. Rather, the problem arises due to the AMS’ recognition of Hansen’s public communication work on climate change.

On the one hand, Hansen has done more than any other scientist to bring the challenge of global climate change to the public’s attention, starting with his congressional testimony in 1988 when he stated unequivocally that human activities were causing the climate to warm up. But his tactics and tone have sharpened considerably as policy makers have moved slowly (much too slowly, in his view and the view of many others) to enact emissions curbs.

Last year, for example, Hansen testified in a British court in support of six Greenpeace climate activists who were on trial after they scaled a smokestack at a coal-fired power plant and painted the name “Gordon” down the stack (in reference to the U.K. Prime Minister, Gordon Brown). The activists were cleared of charges in September. Hansen has called for a global freeze of coal fired power plant construction due to the associated carbon dioxide emissions, and issued a public letter [pdf] to the Obama administration containing his scientific views and policy recommendations. Further examples of his politically-oriented work can be found on his Columbia University web site.

Some AMS members have taken issue with Hansen’s outspokenness and political advocacy on climate change, and the reaction from some meteorologists has been harsh. Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo was quoted on the New York Times’ Dot Earth blog as saying that the AMS’ decision to honor Hansen was “a sad day and embarrassment for a once great society that has lost its way.” D’Aleo, like many meteorologists who specialize in day-to-day weather rather than long-term climate trends, is skeptical that human activities are causing climate change, and indeed has disputed whether the climate is warming at all. However out of step he may be with mainstream climate science, he represents a significant constituency of the AMS.

In general, scientists tend to steer clear of political advocacy, in part because of the risk that their subsequent work will be seen as conforming to their political agenda rather than being based on scientific evidence. Hansen’s vocal support for steep greenhouse gas emissions cuts and a ban on coal-fired power plants has caused some critics to dismiss his scientific findings as biased in favor of his political goals.

Such sentiment was expressed by Craig James, an AMS member and retired television meteorologist who discussed his views on the “Icecap” blog. “I believe Dr. Hansen’s political ideology has taken over his science and renders him no longer qualified to be the keeper of the global temperature data,” James said.

Personally, I am torn by Hansen’s situation. He is an eminent scientist who has spent decades studying the global climate system, only to grow more and more alarmed by what he has been observing. Yet at the same time, many politicians have failed to heed his and other researchers’ warnings that greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced. In the face of this situation, it’s understandable that he has turned to more activist-oriented activities in order to avoid the potentially disastrous fate that his scientific research predicts.

But the AMS, which is a scientific society comprised of about 12,000 atmospheric scientists who mainly specialize in weather and have disparate views of climate science, erred in honoring such a lightning rod of controversy, despite the tremendous value his research has been to the scientific community.

Read it all at WaPo.

Hat tip: Marc Morano

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