Hysterical Hansen Hype: Obama 'Has Four Years to Save Earth'

This is a hopefully good news, bad news post.

First, the bad news: James Hansen, head of NASA's the Goddard Institute of Space Studies is still bloviating about the catastrophes that await us because of what yours truly and others refer to as globaloney (the belief that the earth is dangerously warming, that human activity is the cause of the warming, and that radical steps that would cause huge reductions in standards of living around the world are required to save the planet from extinction). Reporter Robin McKie carries Hansen's latest "we'd better act or else" warning at the UK Guardian.

The hopefully good news is that Hansen's warning is thus far getting very light press coverage. A 9:45 a.m. Google News search done on "Hansen climate" (not in quotes) for January 16-18 came back with all of 24 items (the first page of results says there are 267, but there are really only 24.

Here are the first five paragraphs of McKie's article, if you can bear reading them (bolds after title are mine):

President 'has four years to save Earth'
US must take the lead to avert eco-disaster

Barack Obama has only four years to save the world. That is the stark assessment of Nasa scientist and leading climate expert Jim Hansen who last week warned only urgent action by the new president could halt the devastating climate change that now threatens Earth. Crucially, that action will have to be taken within Obama's first administration, he added. 

Soaring carbon emissions are already causing ice-cap melting and threaten to trigger global flooding, widespread species loss and major disruptions of weather patterns in the near future. "We cannot afford to put off change any longer," said Hansen. "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."

Hansen said current carbon levels in the atmosphere were already too high to prevent runaway greenhouse warming. Yet the levels are still rising despite all the efforts of politicians and scientists.

Only the US now had the political muscle to lead the world and halt the rise, Hansen said. Having refused to recognise that global warming posed any risk at all over the past eight years, the US now had to take a lead as the world's greatest carbon emitter and the planet's largest economy. Cap-and-trade schemes, in which emission permits are bought and sold, have failed, he said, and must now be replaced by a carbon tax that will imposed on all producers of fossil fuels. At the same time, there must be a moratorium on new power plants that burn coal - the world's worst carbon emitter.

Hansen - head of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies and winner of the WWF's top conservation award - first warned Earth was in danger from climate change in 1988 and has been the victim of several unsuccessful attempts by the White House administration of George Bush to silence his views.

Space and time don't allow me to correct every error or to debunk every shoddy argument being made, but here are three egregious busts: 

  • The US is not the world's greatest carbon emitter. China became the biggest 18 months ago. This was noted in an article carried in .... the UK Guardian. A June 2008 article in the New York Times reported that China had increased its lead.
  • Sea ice is back to 1979 levels.
  • The alleged White House campaign to "silence" Hansen is an urban legend (scroll down a bit at link).

Of course, by posting on this I am giving Hansen's global warming and "climate change" hysterics wider play. But I figure that commenters can offset the negative impact of the increased exposure with additional debunking of their own. So have at it.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Economy Environment Media Bias Debate Global Warming Obama transition Foreign/Non-English Media James Hansen Carol Browner

Sponsored Links