A Free-Market Energy Blog

“Fraud, Fake” … James Hansen on Paris (Trump should take note)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- May 9, 2017

“Watch what happens in Paris carefully to see if all that the leaders do is sign off on the pap that UN bureaucrats are putting together, indulgences and promises to reduce future emissions, and then clap each other on the back and declare success.”

“Big Green consists of several ‘environmental’ organizations, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), each with $100+M budgets, each springing from high-minded useful beginnings, each with more high-priced lawyers than you can shake a stick at. EDF …was chief architect of the disastrous Kyoto lemon. NRDC proudly claims credit for Obama’s EPA strategy and foolishly allows it to migrate to Paris.”

– James Hansen, “Isolation of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: Part I,” November 27, 2015.

“[The Paris agreement] is a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”

– James Hansen, quoted in Oliver Milman, “James Hansen, Father of Climate Change Awareness, Calls Paris ‘A Fraud’.” The Guardian, December 12, 2015.

James Hansen has weighted in the Paris agreement, which is now on the firing line with the U.S. threating to set into motion a pullout. Hansen’s disfavor of this global climate agreement, setting voluntary targets for greenhouse gas reductions globally, might rival that of President Trump, but for contrary reasons.

The good news is that the father of climate alarmism has repeatedly spoken truth to power when it comes to the politics of energy and climate.

The bad news? On the science of climate sensitivity to the enhanced greenhouse effect, Hansen has staked out an incurable alarmist position in the face of contrary lines of evidence. He is stuck on the inevitability of the problem and no means to address it. Surrender and adaptation, anyone?

In previous posts, I have noted Hansen’s recalcitrance toward cap-and-trade, whether federal, state (California), or in another country (Australia or Quebec/Ontario). He lambasted Copenhagen (COP20) for its interest in cap-and-trade too. Ditto for COP21, the Paris agreement, Obama’s signature climate agreement.

And who can forget his immortal words about the feasibility of large-scale renewable energy: “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.”

Pre-COP21, Hansen was hopping mad about what is developing in Paris. He wanted a right-now global fee-and-dividend approach, which would require border tariffs for all of the sovereign nations of the world. (Forget that too, Sir.) And an enforcement mechanism for 195 or so world governments? Forget that too.

Hansen correctly saw lots of imaging and alligator-shoe posturing at COP21, not a real plan to government-forced decarbonization. Although he has gone silent recently on Paris, these quotations can guide the Trump Administration that Paris, in addition to harming the US, absolutely and relatively, is a road to nowhere.

“[We] cannot let developed countries use payments [to developing countries] to buy business-as-usual. The future of people in all countries requires rapid phasedown of fossil fuel emissions. An across-the-board carbon fee is needed to achieve rapid emissions reduction, avoiding the Kyoto debacle.”

“Merkel is suggesting that others adopt the German approach: close nuclear power plants, subsidize renewables, reduce emissions via resulting high electricity prices and a cap & trade scheme, and export production of many products for domestic consumption to other countries (where fossil fuels may be used). Result: global emissions decline little, if at all.”

“[It] is disquieting that Germany is building coal-fired power plants and other nations are building gas-fired power plants. If this continues, the “technology lock-in” from long-lived power plants could guarantee expanded fracking and high CO2 emissions through most of this century.”

“The danger that Paris may mimic Kyoto is heightened by the ‘guard rail’ concept, which allows governments to promise future emission reductions rather than set up a framework that fosters rapid emissions reductions. Climate science does not define a safe guard rail; instead science indicates that atmospheric CO2 is already into the dangerous range, as shown by a group including world experts in the carbon cycle, paleoclimate and other relevant areas.”

“The valid scientific message is that emissions must be reduced as rapidly as practical. And in turn, that implies the price of fossil fuels must be made honest by adding a rising carbon fee.”

“However, instead, in pre-Paris negotiations each nation is being asked how much it will reduce emissions. These pledges are then used to estimate whether global temperature will be within the ‘guardrail’. Meanwhile low fossil fuel prices continue, guaranteeing that more fossil fuel infrastructure will be built and high emissions will continue. Valuable time is wasted.”

“Big Green consists of several ‘environmental’ organizations, including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), each with $100+M budgets, each springing from high-minded useful beginnings, each with more high-priced lawyers than you can shake a stick at. EDF, with purblind equation of the sulfur and carbon pollution problems, was chief architect of the disastrous Kyoto lemon. NRDC proudly claims credit for Obama’s EPA strategy and foolishly allows it to migrate to Paris.”

“Obama still has a chance at a positive climate legacy, if he ditches Big Green. Better to sit down with the Chinese leaders, who are technically trained, rational, and understand we are together in the same boat. We had better figure out how to plug the leaks together or we sink together.”

“Watch what happens in Paris carefully to see if all that the leaders do is sign off on the pap that UN bureaucrats are putting together, indulgences and promises to reduce future emissions, and then clap each other on the back and declare success.”

Let freedom ring post-Paris without Paris–the agreement, that is. The Malthusian train needs to stop and the slow deboarding started.

7 Comments


  1. Jon Boone  

    Regarding Hansen’s soothsaying capabilities, Rob, I defer to one of Glenn Schleede’s favorite bon mots: Even a stopped clock is correct twice a day.

    There is something psychotic about Hansen’s intelligence, which seems considerable. Perhaps it’s induced because he finds himself in zugzwang, where any move forward in his worldview is a bad one. The basic problem for anyone contemplating substantial reductions in the amount and rate of humanity’s carbon emissions is what modern societies have wrought: longer life; better life quality; much less toil and travail; and seemingly inexhaustible niches through which to pursue happiness. Although none of this can insure happiness, the overwhelming consensus seems to be that it’s a great start. Few want to opt out.

    Indeed, it’s a good bet that much of the rest of the world will want their share of modernity. Hansen surely understands this. The self-evident take from this is that the next century will see a veritable tsunami of CO2 emissions rising up and over humanity. And nothing will be able to stop it.

    The simple truth is that energy dense fossil fuels enable modernity. It’s not just that they’re relatively cheap (as Hansen admits). Rather, it’s because: THEY WORK. At scale. And, except for nuclear technology (which may be held hostage for another century by relentless superstition), there is nothing remotely on the horizon that can replace them. Which is why carbon taxes and rationing will not work, anymore than they would for air and water. Fossil fuels are modern society’s fundament.

    So Hansen’s rant should be seen for what it is, a weird kind of displacement behavior akin to what many birds do when placed in a fight or flight situation: they peck their feet. Faced with zugzwang, Hansen’s footpecking actually aligns with the footpecking inherent in the Paris Climate Accord. Each signifies nothing in the natural world.

    Reply

  2. Joseph Reynen  

    My comments are written in the link below including those concerning Hansen.

    http://www.tech-know-group.com/papers/Sensitivity_overview.pdf

    Reply

  3. Rosco  

    I think all of these zealots should congregate in a city and turn off all fossil fueled energy. They could ride bicycles, use horse drawn transport for produce and food supplies.

    They obviously would have no problems with relying on renewable energy.

    Such a scheme would have two benefits – the first would show it is impossible, and the second would result in their disappearance from the discussion as their would be no Internet, communication and probably no food, water or sewage.

    They wouldn’t last a month.

    Reply

    • sam  

      Tires are typically made out of styrene-butadiene (SBR) rubber. And this chemical comes from oil processing/refining, so yes…tires come from oil!
      Guess they will have to walk.

      Reply

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