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Category — Hansen, James

James Hansen’s War Against Canada

“Hansen’s most recent editorial has received sharp criticism for the over-reach of his claims about climate science. But what the media isn’t covering is an unprecedented call for an environmental trade war with America’s largest trading partner. Let’s hope they catch up to that aspect of the story.”

In a recent editorial assault on Canada’s oil-sands, climate activist extraordinaire James Hansen (NASA) has basically declared war on Canada’s economy (not to mention our own). Hansen wrote:

Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

He goes on to suggest that the U.S. actually take actions against the interests of our neighbors to the north:

President Obama has the power not only to deny tar sands oil additional access to Gulf Coast refining, which Canada desires in part for export markets, but also to encourage economic incentives to leave tar sands and other dirty fuels in the ground.

This is truly astonishing: a high ranking official at NASA has taken to the pages of the New York Times to lobby the President of the United States to physically embargo Canada’s oil, and impose economic sanctions against Canada to force them to eschew tar-sand development and export. [Read more →]

May 16, 2012   19 Comments

Dear James Hansen: Climate Non-Alarmists Are Intellectually Grounded & Well Intentioned (Sir, are you suffering from a ‘fatal conceit’?)

“The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.”

- James Hansen, “Climate Forcings in the Industrial Era,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, October 1998, p. 12753.

“In view of the immense power of natural weather and climate fluctuations and the great buffering capacity of the Earth, especially the ocean, it is easy to be skeptical about whether small anthropogenic changes of atmospheric composition can have important practical impacts.”

- James Hansen et al., “How Sensitive Is the World’s Climate?,” National Geographic Research & Exploration, 9(2): 1993, p. 157.

“Climate is always changing. Climate would fluctuate without any change of climate forcings. The chaotic aspect of climate is an innate characteristic of the coupled fundamental equations describing climate system dynamics.”

- James Hansen et al., “How Sensitive Is the World’s Climate?,” National Geographic Research & Exploration, 9(2): 1993, p. 143.

James Hansen has been at the forefront of the alarmist wing of climate scientists regarding the human influence on global climate from 1988 until today. But at least earlier in his career he showed some humility in the face of the enormous complexity of his subject–and the limitations of his own mind. The above three quotations from the 1990s indicate as much. (1)

Humility is out. This NASA scientist has taken a ‘Greenpeace’ approach to the environment. He KNOWS both the problem and the answer to the problem, bringing to mind F. A. Hayek’s warnings about intellectuals who claim to know social problems so well that WE (the world) must adapt their coercive solutions. Beware of what Hayek called The Fatal Conceit.

Dr. James Hansen’s latest communication, Cowards in Our Democracies: Part 1 (January 27, 2012), (parsed in red below) is interspersed by my comments (in green). My critique will continue with Hansen’s just published Part II in the near future. [Read more →]

February 1, 2012   3 Comments

James Hansen Smacks Renewable Energy (“The Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy”–and Lovins as dreamer)

“Suggesting that renewables will let us phase rapidly off fossil fuels in the United States, China, India, or the world as a whole is almost the equivalent of believing in the Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy.”

Climate and energy alarmists war with reality. And now and again, the incentives line up for a particular alarmist to blow the whistle on some aspect of the governmental ‘cure’ to their problem. The incendiary Joe Romm, for example, trots out free-market-type arguments against carbon sequestration and nuclear (both too expensive).

Hansen on Cap-and-Trade

NASA scientist and uber-climate-alarmist James Hansen informed the climate policy debate in 2009/2010 with his blistering criticism of CO2 cap-and-trade. “The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course,” he said. “It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless….”

Joe Romm complained against Hansen’s “needlessly (and pointlessly) provocative attacks” as being “filled with right-wing and left-wing myths — and very little understanding of the basics of either this bill or cap-and-trade systems.” But California’s rethink of a state-level cap-and-trade program suggests that Hansen’s concerns of a highly political approach to mitigating carbon-dioxide emissions was on the mark.

Regarding international climate-change action, Hansen also called out

The fraudulence of the Copenhagen [Summit] approach – ‘goals’ for emission reductions, ‘offsets’ that render even iron-clad goals almost meaningless, an ineffectual ‘cap-and-trade’ mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics-as-usual.

And now Renewables ….

Most recently, Hansen turned his attention to just what wind and solar in particular could do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to reverse out the human influence on climate.

Steve McIntyre at Climate Audit (Hansen, WG3 and Green Kool-aid) has analyzed Hansen in the context of the IPCC’s amateurish pro-renewables report; I simply reproduce significant parts of the Hansen’s July 29, 2011, critique.

          James Hansen on Renewable Energy

There is a consensus that renewable energies need to be part of the solution to the energy security and climate matters.  But we must be realistic about their contribution.  So now let’s look at the progress of renewable energies after several years of strong government incentives.

Renewable sources [in 2009] provide 10.7% of the electric energy.  But … almost two-thirds of this is hydroelectric.  Wind has grown to almost 17% of  the renewable energy, so it is approaching 1.8% of U.S. electricity.  Solar power is only 0.2% of the renewable portion or 0.02% of electricity.

[Globally] … in 2008 … renewable energies provide 19% of electricity, but most of the renewable energy is hydroelectric.  Wind provides 1% of global electricity and solar energy less than 0.1%….

Renewables may be small, but they are growing rapidly, exponentially, right? [Data] reveals that growth of electricity in the past two decades in the U.S. has been mainly from fossil fuels…. [Read more →]

August 22, 2011   5 Comments

Halloween Hangover: Ehrlich, Holdren, Hansen Unretracted

“If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000.”

- Paul Ehrlich, quoted in Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), p. 35.

“As University of California physicist John Holdren has said, it is possible that carbon-dioxide climate-induced famines could kill as many as a billion people before the year 2020.”

-  Paul Ehrlich, The Machinery of Nature, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1986, p. 274.

In the name of science, Paul Ehrlich, John Holdren, and James Hansen (et al.) have made doom-and-gloom predictions about business-as-usual in an attempt to shock humanity into immediate legislative action and lifestyle changes.

It did not work. The elapsed predictions have failed to come to pass. Little wonder that new installments of climate alarmism, such as Juliet Eilperin’s “25% of Wild Mammal Species Face Extinction: Global Assessment Paints ‘Bleak Picture,’ Scientists Say, and Figure of Those at Risk Could Be Higher” in the Washington Post (October 7), don’t register with voters.

Worsening their predicament, the perpetrators will not renounce their specious predictions. They remain the smartest guys in the room–versus all of us commoners, we the hundreds of millions of market-failure-ites.

Here are the Big Three: 1) the dean of modern alarmism, Paul Ehrlich; 2) Al Gore’s influential climate scientist James Hansen; and 3) Obama’s “dream ‘green’ team” member John Holdren.

Let’s start with Dr. Holdren.

Holdren’s Billion Deaths

It was Ehrlich who outed his protege on what is perhaps the most outlandish prediction of forthcoming doom of all: one billion potential deaths by 2020. That is about ten years and one in seven of us. Are you scared? [Read more →]

November 1, 2010   48 Comments

(Book Review) James Hansen’s “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity” (alarmism on steroids)

Many scientists are concerned about the future and continue to study various aspects of our environment, including the climate. But, for Dr. James Hansen there is no doubt. Our world is headed for disaster unless we take immediate and drastic action to control greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide (CO2).

You have to give the man credit: He actually believes what he preaches. He shows pictures of his wonderful grandchildren and his concern for them is certainly evident. There is only one problem with what he shares: There is little evidence to support what he says.

Take this example:

Planet Earth, creation, the world in which civilization developed, the world with climate patterns that we know and stable shorelines, is in imminent peril. The urgency of the situation crystallized only in the past few years. We now have clear evidence of the crisis, provided by increasingly detailed information about how Earth responded to perturbing forces during its history (very sensitively, with some lag caused by the inertia of massive oceans) and by observations of changes that are beginning to occur around the globe in response to ongoing climate change. The startling conclusion is that continued exploitation of all fossil fuels on Earth threatens not only the other millions of species on the planet but also the survival of humanity itself—and the timetable is shorter than we thought. (Emphasis Added P. IX)

Now, the one thing that Dr. Hansen is not going to share with us is the “clear evidence” of a coming crisis. In fact there is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Dr. Hansen may understand some scientific principles but he seems to lack any common sense. He talks about plants becoming extinct because they cannot migrate because cities and farms are in the way. Yet, any person who has ever planted a garden knows that seeds find a way of getting where they want to go.

Dr. Hansen, along with a number of other climate change alarmists (like Al Gore), believes that man is the chief cause of global warming, and that warming is generally harmful. In fact more people die from cold than die from heat. Not only that but increasing levels of carbon dioxide are generally beneficial to plants, enabling them to survive with less water. [Read more →]

August 20, 2010   42 Comments

‘The People vs. Cap-and-Tax’: James Hansen and the Left’s Civil War on Climate Policy

“Washington appears intent on choosing a [cap-and-trade] path defined by corporate greed. Unless the public gets engaged, the present Administration may jam down the public’s throat just such an approach, which, it can be shown, is not a solution at all.”

“Cap-and-trade’s complexity provides a breeding ground for special interests…. [T]ry reading the Waxman-Markey 2,000-page bill to figure out who would get the money! Why do those special interests deserve it anyhow?”

- James Hansen, “The People vs. Cap-and-Tax,” paper delivered to the Chairperson of the Carbon Trading Summit, New York City, January 12, 2010.

James Hansen is losing patience. He is upset at the Obama Administration and its advisors, such as John Holdren (read his futile letters). Hansen is mad at the New York Times; after all, he got suckered by their editors and by Paul Krugman regarding his pre-Copenhagen opinion-page editorial.

All this and more is in Dr. Hansen’s latest 3,600-word attack–reproduced in its entirety below–on the political establishment in what is a widening civil war on the Left regarding climate policy.

Temperature trends, climategate, and Copenhagen are major problems for climate alarmism/neo-Malthusianism in theory and practice. But add to this ‘perfect storm’ the problem of Enronesque climate policy. What is the party in power to do?

Some Hard Questions for Dr. Hansen

It is fair to ask some hard questions to the father of climate alarmism in the United States. Hansen said years ago that we had to quickly and fundamentally reverse the world’s energy mix to avoid his modeled doom. That is not going to happen. Is it time for him, both as a scientist and a layperson, to rethink the whole issue and reverse course? If climate stabilization is indeed a futile crusade, James Hansen should be part of the solution rather than continue to be part of the problem.

Here are some questions I have for Dr. Hansen that could help him get on track. I invite readers to add questions in the comments to this post.

  1. Climate science and the empirical record of temperature and climate change are more unsettled than ever. You once even admitted that “The prospects for having a modest climate change impact instead of a disastrous one are quite good, I think.” Will you show humility by constructing a non-alarmist scenario within the error bars of ‘settled’ and ‘unsettled’ science as an alternative scenario?
  2. In your very public criticisms of cap-and-trade, you do not bring up Enron. Yet Enron is the father company of the U.S.-side push of cap-and-trade, and Enron-ex Jim Rogers brought the Ken Lay political model of climate alarmism/cap-and-trade to the electricity sector.
  3. You speak below of “a clean energy future.”Why not talk about Enron’s quest to become the world’s leading renewable company and the fact that Enron’s very first crime involved its wind subsidiary? (Hint: government-dependent energy investments, not only cap-and-trade, enable the “corporate greed” you lament.
  4. You forthrightly state that “fossil fuels are the cheapest form of energy.” Will you explore what is really the more important fact: that fossil energies used to firm up intermittent energies such as wind and solar create inefficiencies and incremental emissions compared to a grid without intermittent resources? (Hint: wind and solar are not major CO2 mitgators.)
  5. You were very articulate on the David Letterman Show. Why not debate an intellectual opponent? Or why not recommend that a Richard Lindzen spend a few minutes with Letterman to explain why we are not doomed? After all, as you once said: “Climate is complex. People have different opinions about the extent to which humans are causing climate change.”
  6. You have powerfully spoken against the political waste of the climate-policy debate. Can you weigh the fact of “government failure” against “market failure” in your analysis of what the government can really be expected to do to address the alleged problem?
  7. Is it time for you to shift from a mitigation to a adaptation strategy for dealing with future climate change, as Robert Murphy has argued? Your ten-years-or-else alarm of 2006 (“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions”) is rapidly running its course.

Hansen’s post is reproduced in its entirety below because of its importance. [Read more →]

January 17, 2010   7 Comments

James Hansen on Cap-and-Trade & Copenhagen

“The fraudulence of the Copenhagen approach – ‘goals’ for emission reductions, ‘offsets’ that render even iron-clad goals almost meaningless, an ineffectual ‘cap-and-trade’ mechanism – must be exposed. We must rebel against such politics-as-usual.”

- James Hansen, “Never-Give-Up Fighting Spirit,” November 30, 2009

There is a civil war on the Left against cap-and-trade as the centerpiece of a U.S. climate bill. Among the leading critics is NASA scientist and Al Gore mentor James Hansen, who reiterated his opposition in Sunday’s The Observer with Copenhagen’s climate summit in mind:

“Cap and trade with offsets … is astoundingly ineffective. Global emissions rose rapidly in response to Kyoto, as expected, because fossil fuels remained the cheapest energy.

Cap and trade is an inefficient compromise, paying off numerous special interests. It must be replaced with an honest approach, raising the price of carbon emissions and leaving the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground.”

Hansen also stated earlier this month:

“Cap-and-trade is a hidden regressive tax, benefiting the select few who have managed to get themselves written into the 2000-page bill…. Think revolving door between the government and Wall Street.  Think revolving door between Congress and lobbyists.”

Hansen’s earlier criticisms of HR 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (Waxman-Markey climate bill), apply to the current Senate companion, Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act of 2009 (Kerry-Boxer climate bill).

Hansen’s bottom line on Waxman-Markey was as follows:

“The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless….”

-James Hansen, “Strategies to Address Global Warming,” July 13, 2009.

During debate on the original version of HR 2454, Hansen complained:

“Governments are retreating to feckless ‘cap-and-trade,’ a minor tweak to business-as-usual….

“Why is this cap-and-trade temple of doom worshipped?  The 648-page cap-and-trade monstrosity that is being foisted on the U.S. Congress provides the answer.  Not a single Congressperson has read it.  They don’t need to – they just need to add more paragraphs to support their own special interests.  By the way, the Congress people do not write most of those paragraphs—they are ‘suggested’ by people in alligator shoes.”

And Hansen spanked harder on the final version: [Read more →]

November 30, 2009   13 Comments

John Holdren and the "Argument from Authority" (Revisited)

[Editor Note: An earlier series at MasterResource on John Holdren, President Obama's science and technology advisor, is being reprinted given the recent controversy surrounding Dr. Holdren's earlier views. This original post is dated January 22, 2009]

Paul Ehrlich treated his intellectual rival Julian Simon with great disrespect during Simon’s lifetime. Ehrlich refused to debate Simon or even meet him in person. He insulted Simon in print. Ehrlich even scolded Science magazine for publishing Simon’s 1980 breakthrough essay “Resources, Population, Environment: An Oversupply of Bad News,” with the words: “Could the editors have found someone to review Simon’s manuscript who had to take off this shoes to count to 20?” (quoted in Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource II, 1996, p. 612)

Such intolerance for reasoned dissent, unfortunately, has also been a trait of Ehrlich protégé John Holdren. After I published my review of John Holdren’s criticism of Bjorn Lomborg in 2003, I emailed  Holdren my paper, “The Heated Energy Debate,” and alerted him to a new book I had coming out, Climate Alarmism Reconsidered. I also asked why in his course he did not see fit to assign any non-alarmist readings to his Harvard class on environmental sustainability.

I reproduce pertinent parts of our email exchange from September 17, 2003: [Read more →]

August 18, 2009   2 Comments

McCain Echoes Hansen: Waxman-Markey is a 'Farce' (The Civil War widens among climate alarmists)

“[The Waxman-Markey] 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities…. I would not only not vote for it. I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”

- Senator John McCain to Stephen Moore, Wall Street Journal, August 1-2, 2009, p. A9.

“The truth is, the climate course set by Waxman-Markey is a disaster course. It is an exceedingly inefficient way to get a small reduction of emissions. It is less than worthless….”

-James Hansen, “Strategies to Address Global Warming,” July 13, 2009.

The death of federal climate legislation in 2009 will not only be because traditional Republicans and conservative Democrats said “no”. It will also be because true believers like Senator John McCain realize that politicized cap-and-trade is all pain and no gain. A scorched earth economic policy that does not meaningfully address a feared “scorched earth” to come is worse than no policy at all.

Consider the conversation between Stephen Moore and Senator McCain in last weekend’s Wall Street Journal:

Since Mr. McCain was the co-sponsor of the McCain-Lieberman bill last year to limit CO emissions through a cap-and-trade system, I ask him about the climate change bill that passed the House last month and he surprised me with his opposition. “I believe climate change is real . . . but this 1,400-page bill is a farce. They bought every industry off—steel mills, agriculture, utilities,” he says.

So you wouldn’t vote for the House bill? “I would not only not vote for it,” he laughs, “I am opposed to it entirely, because it does damage to those of us who believe that we need to act in a rational fashion about climate change.”

And compare this to what NASA scientist, climate alarmist, and Al Gore confidant James Hansen has said about the original version of Waxman-Markey: [Read more →]

August 3, 2009   14 Comments

Enron and Waxman-Markey: Response to Joe Romm

Enron Lives! in Waxman-Markey. The sooner the public, media, and intelligentsia realize this, the faster cap-and-trade can be put in the dustbin of bad ideas.”

- Cap-and-Trade: The Temple of Enron, MasterResource, May 14, 2009.

Joseph Romm holds a Ph.D. (in physics) from MIT and works for a 501(c)3 foundation. Being highly educated and in the education business, to most of us, means being careful and fair in our arguments–and avoiding reckless ad hominem argument. But not so with Joe as evidenced by his very inaccurate recent post against me.

In “George Will and WattsUpWithThat embrace a proud former shill for a man convicted on fraud and conspiracy charges,” Romm argues that I must be corrupt because of my former association with Enron and Ken Lay–and thus George Will and the mega-site WattsUpWithThat are party to corruption too.

I am surprised that Romm has taken this tack, for I have continually turned the tables on him regarding Enron. I am disappointed (but not surprised) that he ignored my posts and other readily available information that contradicts his argument and insinuations.

As I will again document for Romm’s information, I was a whistle blower against Enron’s climate alarmism and rent-seeking activities as director of public policy analysis and Ken Lay’s speechwriter.

But more than that, Enron’s fate is the perfect argument against the Romm-beloved HR 2454, the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, or what I call the  Enron Revitalization Act of 2009. Last year I did a reason.tv video about Enron, Obama’s Enron Problem, and I have posted repeatedly about how Enron’s failure and fraud were closely related to its “sustainable energy” strategy with solar, wind, and energy efficiency.

And to complete the argument, guess what company is antithetical to Enron in terms of corporate culture, energy strategy, and financial results? It is the company Romm loves to hate–Exxon Mobil, the anti-Enron!

Challenging Enron at Enron

At the website Political Capitalism, I have penned a short history and posted memos on my public-policy conflicts at Enron, information that Romm has ignored. Some Enron executives wanted me to be fired, and I reached an agreement with Ken Lay personally to not publish anything critical of windpower in order to stay with the company (Enron Wind was struggling, and we could not sell it when we needed to, which resulted in Enron’s first crime.) [Read more →]

July 2, 2009   8 Comments