Saturday, April 27, 2013

Harper Cons Are "Neanderthals" - James Hansen

Take that, Joe Oliver.  Retired NASA Goddard Space Laboratory director James Hansen says Harper and his underlings are lashing out at him because they're getting very worried.   Pipeline Minister A  (Oliver) recently attacked Hansen, accusing him of making "exaggerated comments" and "crying wolf."  Oliver said Hansen should be ashamed.

"I think he's beginning to get worried because the secretary of state, John Kerry, is well-informed on the climate issue and he knows that his legacy and President Obama's is going to depend upon whether they open this spigot to these very dirty, unconventional fossil fuels," Hansen said about Oliver. "We can't do that without guaranteeing disasters for young people and future generations."

"The current government is a Neanderthal government on this issue, but Canada can actually be a leader," he said. Hansen mentioned British Columbia's carbon tax as a positive step. "I have hopes that Canada will actually be a good example for the United States but the present government is certainly not."


Owen Gray said...

Kudos to Hansen, Mound. He does not suffer fools lightly.

Lorne said...

it did my heart good to see someone standing up to Oliver's bullying, Mound. As usual, Harper and company are outclassed in every meaningful way.

The Mound of Sound said...

I've been wondering ever since Oliver's outbursts how long it would take to hear from Hansen.

When it comes to bitumen peddling, climate change is unclear, exaggerated, alarmist. Yet we are an Arctic country where the disappearing sea ice, thawing and burning tundra and sea level rise are impacting our nation, creating threats and dubious opportunities.

No minister in a government of an Arctic country can dismiss global warming because we live it.

Oliver is a despicable creature who has voluntarily relieved himself of any vestige of integrity.

Anyong said...

You make no mention that Hansen is in favour of Carbon Taxes and was covered by CBC reporting on "The House" this morning. He managed to mention it more than once. Carbon tax does NOTHING to stop the unwholesome environmental condition we are facing. Carbon tax is a money grab.

The Mound of Sound said...

No, Anyong, I didn't mention carbon taxes because that's not what I was writing about. Your dismissal of carbon taxes, however, is ill-informed.

We need to price carbon somehow either that or invoke some sort of fossil fuel "prohibition.' What's important is not only that carbon be priced adequately to deter consumption but that the revenues generated be put to appropriate purposes.

Dan Moutal said...

Sigh. This war of words really isn't helping. I recommend that everyone go read Simon Donner's post on the issue:
"In the end, round one of Oliver v. Hansen says more about overly cartoon-ish discussion about climate change, than it does about the climate science and the oil sands. Oliver's argument has some merit. So does Hansen's. Rather than deal with the grey, we force all this into black and white. Outspoken scientists are messiahs. Conservative politicians are oil-soaked, climate deniers. It makes for great video and easy outrage on twitter. It does not advance the conversation or lead to any solutions."

And while I have your attention this post on Medium is worth reading as well (it is tangentially related)

The Mound of Sound said...

I read Donner's post. Sort of his standard, mushy stuff. Sorry, Dan, but I've never been wild for Donner's prose. As for the other link, it was pretty rambling for the modest point it was trying to make.

Absent from Hansen's argument is the narrow window he contends we have remaining to deal with this, something that is also missing from Donner's take.

As I've pointed out before, I see AGW in the context of a far-greater man-made assault on the planet. It is one of the cornerstones but just one and it's rendered almost meaningless when it's taken in isolation. Taken alone, AGW loses context and distracts from the greater, overall problem and the solutions we must accept to solve them.

Dan Moutal said...

The take away from Donner's piece (at least what I took away from it) is that focusing on the extremes doesn't lead to solutions.

At this point, given our long history of inaction I have little patience for anything that doesn't move us towards solutions. Portraying certain people as 'bad guys' is probably not entirely inaccurate (and if you look through everything I have written though the years you might find that I too have used the word Neanderthal), but ask yourself will it lead to solutions?

I don't think so, and I'll try to temper my extreme disappointment in our leaders for failing to end our inaction and focus on things that might help us clear the hurdles in front of us.

The Mound of Sound said...

I guess I have to ask, Dan, what Donner suggests will succeed in the time we have remaining to initiate an effective carbon policy? How does Hansen's response to Oliver's smear-job leave us less likely to achieve a solution in any realistic sense? Or is this just Donner getting his two cents worth in?

Hansen has a considerable following that looks to him to respond aggressively to this sort of smear. That dynamic seems to be lost on Donner perhaps because he's not familiar with it.

Tell me again because I missed it the first time, what "will lead to solutions?"

Dan Moutal said...

I need to be clear, that my initial sigh was not only directed at Hansen, but was at least equally directed at Oliver. In fact of the two men I only respect one of them greatly, the other I have no respect for.

"Tell me again because I missed it the first time, what "will lead to solutions?"

The truth is we don't know. But that doesn't mean we are blind to things that wont work. And I am quite sure that an escalating war of words isn't going to lead to a desired outcome.

Anyong said...

Dan Moutal...."But that doesn't mean we are blind to things that won't work". Thank you. It is thought a carbon tax would help change destructive environmental behaviour and it would be welcomed by privately-owned utilities in particular so they can justify clean technology to their profit-demanding shareholders. The thing is the behaviour change would be leveled at the ordinary consumer while indeed shareholders would welcome it. The oil producers ought to be forced to invoke clean production techniques or taxed so as new clean energy techniques can be developed. If a tax on oil producers was to be applied, the monies collected ought to be spent on alternative energy including solar and wind. This tax also should to be applied to foreign countries purchasing oil. Another argument against is so-called green taxes are really just a revenue grab by desperate governments; that they create artificial winners and losers in the economy and that; if they are not at least done in step with other countries, they will simply drive jobs and business offshore to cheaper locales and in North America we have had far too much outsourcing and is one reason there is so much emphasis placed upon oil.

Dan Moutal said...

"The thing is the behaviour change would be leveled at the ordinary consumer

I think that is exactly where it should be. It is easy to blame Exxon and Koch Industries (and they do deserve the blame), but it is the ordinary consumer who buys their products so as difficult as it might be to accept we all deserve some of the blame.

Anyong said...

Indeed! We do deserve some of the much is spent on advertising by companies encouraging the ordinary person to buy oil, and big gas guzzling vehicles, and not to listen to people who know what is happening to the enviroment due in part to oil production and the use there of??? The amount of money spent in convincing people to buy could be spent on building solar panels for schools and hospitals.