Dec 04

Tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal editorial notes James Hansen’s parting with Al Gore and the rest of his alarmist cohorts on implementing a straight carbon tax rather than the cap and trade system favored by Gore et al. Specifically Hansen says a carbon tax is the only “honest, clear, and effective” way to reduce emmissions and that all revenues be rebated in their entirety to consumers on a per-capita basis. “Not one dime should go to Washington for politicians to pick winners,” he says.

The Journal:

The risks of fossil fuels remain speculative, but if they really are the apocalypse of Mr. Hansen’s prophecies, then the cleanest remedy is a tax. That would raise energy and all other prices as the incentive for new technologies and investments. But a tax would be neutral, eliminating the market distortions caused by subsidies and regulation, and the proceeds could be used to offset other taxes. The transition to a world in which growth is not tied to carbon would still be long and extremely expensive, but a tax would be the least painful way to get there.

“A tax should be called a tax,” Mr. Hansen writes. “The public can understand this and will accept a tax if it is clearly explained and if 100 percent of the money is returned.” Clearly the man is not standing for elective office.

Beltway sachems prefer posturing that disguises the cost of rising energy prices, such as cap and trade. This “subterfuge,” as Mr. Hansen terms it, shifts the direct burden onto businesses, which then pass it along to consumers. Congress may flatter itself that it is saving mankind, but what the Members really want is a cap-and-trade windfall that they can redistribute in the green pork of Mr. Obama’s “new energy economy,” whatever that means.

Unrealistically, Mr. Hansen also favors a complete phase-out of coal-fired electric power, arguing that it be replaced by advanced nuclear, which could be capable of recycling radioactive waste within a decade. He adds: “It is essential that hardened ‘environmentalists’ not be allowed to delay the R&D on 4th generation nuclear power.” We’d like to see him debate Al Gore on that one.
Mr. Hansen can usually find a journalistic stenographer for his pronouncements. This one evaporated without a trace. Perhaps it’s because the Obama transition is drowning in position papers. Or perhaps his candor is merely too embarrassing.

Clearly, Hansen has thrown the usual talking points in the trash. Al Gore will not be happy.

So what gives? I don’t know, but I’ll speculate. Perhaps Hansen is just getting sick of having to cooking the GISS books to produce Al Gore’s global warming. As Hansen’s GISS data is increasingly scrutinized and found to be incorrect, the pressure on Hansen is getting to be unbearable. Meantime, Al Gore has gone all in on the global warming scam. His legacy and his retirement depends on cash-cow solutions being implemented, before the public figures out that the earth is not warming. To Al Gore, Gore-made global warming is now “too big to fail”.

Therefore, Hansen may be getting sick and tired of playing the game, and repeating the talking points verbatim. So, now he’s exercising his secret desire to tell people what he really thinks. I’m not saying that he doesn’t believe in global warming, just that he may have some divergent opinions on what ought to be done. Who knows? Only James Hansen really knows what lurks in the the heart of James Hansen.

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