“Storm Troopers In Clown Shoes”
That’s how Instapundit refers to James Hansen, apparently the most intemperate of the global warming alarmists (yes, he’s worse than Gore because he’s Gore’s science advisor). Here’s Hansen’s latest proposal:
James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech (pdf) to the US Congress – in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming – to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the “perfect storm” of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.
Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.
Hansen isn’t clear as to which court would have jurisdiction, nor is he very specific on any other details. Frankly, any attempt to prosecute people for their opinions like this strikes me as authoritarian and something that should be avoided. In addition, when scientists become activists I find it pretty alarming; they’re supposed to be dispassionate about their conclusions and should be aiming for the truth. Maybe they are, but episodes like this make me question their objectivity.
It’s a shame it comes down to something like this as well. As a non-scientist I am forced to trust people who do understand these things to make informed judgments of my own. It’s difficult to trust their conclusions when they put someone like Hansen front-and-center and he makes statements like this. I suspect it does more harm to their cause than good.
For my own part, I’m content to go with what the scientists say on this issue, mostly. One very basic item would make it much easier to go along with the scientists unequivocally. In all I’ve read about climate change in the popular press, I haven’t seen that they even have a model that can predict the earth’s average temperature from one year to the next, much less decades into the future (if anyone can point me to an example of this, please put it in the comments). Hopefully this is something they took care of long ago.
Also, whether climate change is true or not, that doesn’t tell us what, if anything, needs to be done about it. My personal preference would be a revenue neutral, distribution neutral carbon tax.