Wednesday, 07 January 2009

NASA's James Hansen Pushes Carbon Tax in Letter to Obamas

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James HansenJames Hansen, who runs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), has struck again. The political activist/scientist, global-warming guru, and boon companion to Al Gore has written a letter to Barack and Michelle Obama, imploring the president-elect and his wife to "decarbonize" the economy by imposing a steadily increasing "carbon tax" on coal, oil, and gas.

He also urges them to implement a "moratorium and phase-out of coal plants," this country's primary source of electrical generation. "Coal plants are factories of death," Hansen charges, and their continued use will increase global carbon-dioxide emissions to a point where "the number of species that would be exterminated (committed to extinction) is one million."

So, how would Hansen have us power the United States in his post-carbon world? According to his third and final recommendation to the Obamas, this would be accomplished through ... (drum roll) ... nuclear power. However, before rejoicing that another militant greenie has embraced nuclear energy (which has been brought to a standstill in the United States, while the rest of the world races ahead with this technology that America developed), it should be noted that Hansen's recommendation comes with a critical caveat. You see, like many supposedly "reasonable environmentalists," he is all for nuclear power — but not with the currently available nuclear power technology. He's in favor of shutting down our current carbon-based economy even before his proposed new "clean" nuclear power plants are available. Under Hansen's plan, billions of tax dollars would be pumped into research and development projects aimed at producing "4th generation nuclear power (4th GNP)" that would be "cleaner" than the current generation.

Hansen's letter, cosigned by his wife and fellow activist, Anniek, was sent to Obama's recently appointed White House science adviser Prof. John Holdren with the request that he deliver it directly to the president-elect. The Hansens' letter is the ultimate in political correctness; not only does it invoke apocalyptic urgency to save a "planet in peril," it also eschews all formality, addressing the Obamas on a familiar first name basis (although, apparently, they have never met) and placing Mrs. Obama in the position of primacy: "Dear Michelle and Barack."

One of Hansen's more amusing statements in his letter to Prof. Holdren is his expression of frustration with "the minority of vehement anti-nuclear 'environmentalists'" who oppose even his "clean" nuclear power proposals. "It seems to me that it is time to get fed-up with those people who think they can impose their will on everybody, and all the consequences that might imply for the planet," Hansen tells Holdren. Of course, many people are fed up with Hansen for that very same reason; few policy advocates have been as adamant and arrogant as the NASA scientist-politician in attempting to "impose their will on everybody."

If not for the cover provided by his allies in the major media, Hansen's notorious exaggerations, data corruption, and bending of science for political purposes would have ended his career at NASA and GISS long ago. He has been caught repeatedly fudging statistics and has been forced to admit that temperature figures released by GISS are wildly wrong. (Click here, here, and here.)

Christopher Booker wrote recently in the Telegraph, the British daily:

If there is one scientist more responsible than any other for the alarm over global warming it is Dr Hansen, who set the whole scare in train back in 1988 with his testimony to a US Senate committee chaired by Al Gore. Again and again, Dr Hansen has been to the fore in making extreme claims over the dangers of climate change. (He was recently in the news here for supporting the Greenpeace activists acquitted of criminally damaging a coal-fired power station in Kent, on the grounds that the harm done to the planet by a new power station would far outweigh any damage they had done themselves.)

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Hopefully, public antics such as those mentioned in the Telegraph, and Hansen's record of disseminating false data and wild predictions, will limit the political usefulness of his recommendations to President-elect Obama.

Photo: NASA