NASA's climate change evangelist, James Hansen, recently visited New Mexico.
He was speaking in Santa Fe at the Lensic Theater with a follow-up presentation the next day at the Santa Fe Institute. Both were primarily attended by fans carrying copies of his book: Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. However, four scientists also attendeda meteorologist, a
physicist, a biologist, and a geologist.
No transcript of the speech is available, however the Santa Fe New Mexican covered Hansen's presentation at the Institute, during which he predicted catastrophes, such as rising seas and species extinctions "if carbon-based fuels continue to be used at the same rate as today." He believes "efforts to stem climate change will be ineffectual as long as fossil fuels remain
the cheapest form of energy," and therefore he "proposed a new tax for carbon emissions from oil, gas and coal." Yet, he stated: "Government shouldn't be making decisions as to what the next energy sources are. Let the marketplace make the decision." He wants a tax to make fossil fuels unattractive, but the government should let the marketplace decide? Clearly he doesn't understand how the "marketplace" works.
"That wasn't the only nonsensical idea he presented," the scientists told me. Robert Endlich, the meteorologist, reported: "One item after another struck me as being completely at odds with measurements. For instance, Hansen claimed Earth's energy balance is out of balance, and we are warming rapidly, but recent global surface temperatures of land and water have not increased and, in fact, many measures show cooling over the past 17 to 19 years. In the US, there has not been a new state maximum temperature record set since 1995, and, in spite of the claims to the contrary, July1936, is still the warmest month on record, set when CO2 was less than 300 parts per million. CO2 is now 395 PPM."
Bernie McCune holds degrees in both engineering and biology and has worked with both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency and NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. "Hansen admitted there is still some question," McCune said. "But, his presentation was mostly political and didn't prove that CO2 is the problem; it didn't show that humans had anything to do with it."
Jerry Clark, the physicist, who has spent 30 years tracking data from the relay satellite system, talked to one of the organizers before the meeting. The young man was surprised to learn that not all scientists agreed with Hansen. Clark feels frustrated because "the opportunity for opposing views to receive equal time and billing with Dr. Hansen does not exist; nor will
the apologists engage in data comparisons." Instead of the short-term charts Hansen presented, Clark wants to see the data and the real records. Drawing from his experiences on his college debate team, Clark was surprised that "Hansen didn't even try to justify his thesis of man-made global warming."
John Clema looks at the geologic history when he says: "Hansen's claim of "extinction of 30 percent to 50 percent of animal species' is nothing more than shameless spreading of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. More than 98% of all the plants and animals that we currently know of are from the fossil record. There is no evidence that connects CO2 to these extinctions other than the strong possibility of linking huge volcanic activity to some timeframes where extinctions have occurred. In the geologic record, there are times when we've had much higher CO2 than at presentyet there are few recognizable extinctions. Nor is there any link between CO2 from fossil fuels and global warming. We are still in an interglacial period were warming could be expectedbut Hansen can't prove any part of this is due to human activity. Warm and wet is good for our species, cold and dry is not."
At the end of Hansen's presentation, there was a brief question and answer time. Only four questioners got answers. In response to Endlich's question:
"Observations show 10 years of warming from 1988 to 1998, but steady and by many measures, even falling temperatures sincea period over 17 years where the temperature has not risen at all. The total rise since 1988 has been only 0.2-0.3 C. To what do you attribute the poor performance of that prediction?" Hansen first acknowledged the sun's involvement, then he denied that the globe had not warmed.
Even Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change acknowledges a "17-year pause in global temperature rises, confirmed recently by Britain's Met Office." At Melbourne's Deakin University, Pachauri said: "People have to question these things and science only thrives on the basis of questioning." He continued: "no doubt about
it," it is good for controversial issues to be "thrashed out in the public arena."
Pachauri's Australian speech invited traditional scientific give and take, yet Hansen refused additional discussion with the scientists. When Endlich showed data from the Vostok and the Greenland ice cores, Hansen blew him off, saying: "you are wrong!" End of discussion.
The Santa Fe New Mexican's headline for Hansen's visit was: "a steep energy tax to curb global warming." Was Hansen tipping his hand, confirming the rumor that Obama will approve the long-delayed, but much-needed Keystone pipeline if Congress will approve a carbon tax?
Just what our teetering economy needs: new taxes = higher energy prices.
The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens' Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations' combined efforts serve as America's voice for energy.