“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.”
– James Hansen, 2006 (“The Threat to the Planet,” New York Times Review of Books)
“We cannot afford to put off [climate policy] change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”
– James Hansen, 2009 (“President ‘has four years to save Earth’“, The Guardian, January 17)
Science historian Thomas Kuhn warned of “scientists … behav[ing] differently” and experiencing “pronounced professional insecurity” when one of their long-held beliefs comes under increasing pressure from new science (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. 1962. Reprint. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1970, pp. 24, 67–68).
Enter NASA scientist James Hansen, who had had a history of putting his foot where his mouth is. It is not only his immutable certainty where equally reputable scientists disagree. It is his bizarre personal behavior (getting arrested, etc.).
Add to this his declaration that Al Gore’s depiction of manmade global warming is “scientifically accurate … a coherent account of a complex topic that Americans desperately need to understand,” and one wonders if Dr. Hansen can be trusted at all.
What is next from James Hansen? The world is smartly going against his intellectual commands, forcing his hand to do something even more dramatic. Might a hunger strike be in the offing?
His false alarms, which are continuing in his regular updates, are getting old.  In a 2009 interview in The Guardian, he stated that President Obama has “four years to save the earth.” This latest incarnation of his great climate alarm is mostly based on a projected rise in sea level rise, a scenario that climate scientist Chip Knappenberger analyzed critically at the time here at MasterResource (and has criticized since.)
Hansen’s grand-daddy prediction relates to a 2006 essay he published in the New York Review of Books:
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.
The clock is now ticking on Hansen’s 10th and final year. Will he head to the hills, as did the Club of Rome’s Limits to Growth authors in 1972 to await the collapse? Or will the climate crusader just give thanks that ‘we still have a little time’ and bark out fee-and-dividend, a revenue-neutral carbon tax by another name.
Exaggeration, Hate Speech
Hansen has analogized conventional electricity-generation to the Holocaust:
If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains — no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.
He has also defended criminal obstruction at UK coal plants.
Most chillingly, Hansen has stated:
CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.
James Hansen the private citizen can engage in hate speech; as a man in power he would be the tyrant, the despot, that F. A. Hayek warned about in the Road to Serfdom.
Is Hansen a scientist behaving strangely, as his increasing bets on climate alarmism are contradicted by Mother Nature? Only the future will tell. But given the inability of the political process to address his alarm, the rest of us may want to shift public-policy course to favor adaptation to climate change rather than (ineffectual) mitigation.
Resources are scarce, and tradeoffs must be made. The optimal carbon tax is zero, if not negative under real-world assumptions in place of perfect knowledge and the environmental Pope.
 Hansen’s latest from June 26th of this year: “The only way to win the carbon war soon enough to avert unacceptable casualties of young people and other life on the planet is to carry out the battle on several fronts simultaneously.”