By Alan Caruba
It is one thing to be mistaken when developing and administering government programs. It is another to be nuts.
“The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains. Coal-fired plants are factories of death.”
Would someone please get the net and throw it over Dr. James Hansen, the Director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies? The above is a direct quote.
Recently, Dr. Hansen, the man who has the dubious distinction of predicting back in 1988 to a congressional committee that we were all going to die from global warming, had an insane diatribe published in The Guardian, a liberal newspaper published in Great Britain.
“A year ago, I wrote to Gordon Brown asking him to place a moratorium on new coal-fired plants in Britain,” wrote Dr. Hansen. “I have asked the same of Angela Merkel, Barack Obama, Kevin Rudd, and other leaders. The reason is this—coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet.”
On January 24, I posted a commentary, “Coal, Glorious Coal”, on the website of The National Anxiety Center, my clearinghouse for information about “scare campaigns” designed to influence public policy and opinion.
I noted that Stephen Chu, the Secretary of Energy, is on record saying, “Coal is my worst nightmare” and pointed out that coal provides over 50% of all the electricity in the nation.
At least Dr. Chu isn’t writing to the leaders of Europe telling them that the entire human race is doomed if they don’t shut down all the coal-fired plants producing electricity. Well, not yet. But Dr. Hansen is.
By contrast, Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. is the former director of the University of Colorado's Center for Science and Technology Policy Research and an associate professor of environmental studies. He is a scientist with the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Together with Radford Byerly, Jr, he was the editor of “Prediction: Science, Decision Making, and the Future of Nature” published in 2000. His PhD is in political science.
“Our planet is in peril,” wrote Dr. Hansen.
Dr. Pielke, who like many of his colleagues has grave reservations about the global warming hoax, has written that Dr. Hansen’s rants can be characterized as “scientific authoritarianism”, noting that “The idea that one person’s policy views should carry so much weight in democratic societies is an indication that Hansen believes that expertise should carry decisive weight in decisions.” Dr. Hansen trained as an astronomer, not as a climatologist or even as a meteorologist.
That may account for why recent assertions by the Goddard Institute about the warmest years and other “warmest” this and that have been soundly criticized and debunked. Using a government agency to spread lies is not new, but it puts a strain on the public’s knowledge of what is real or not.
“Hansen’s argument includes,” noted Dr. Pielke, “his complaint that policy makers have not followed his advice, which apparently, Hansen believes should take precedent over all other views. Indeed, he dismisses the views of the public as being too poorly informed, too distracted or unsophisticated to contribute to decision making on the climate issue.”
Meanwhile, poll after poll, indicates that the public has concluded in ever growing numbers that global warming is pure hogwash.
I recently wrote about a paper by a leading authority on “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” who concluded that President Obama gives ample evidence of it. One might conclude that Dr. Hansen has the same problem. Indeed, Dr. Pielke said that Hansen’s commentary “swerves from scientific authoritarianism to megalomania.”
Anyone who can write that “Coal is the single greatest threat to civilization and all life on our planet” is surely irrational and in need of the same sequestration that Hansen wants for carbon dioxide.
The problem for the rest of us is that people like Dr. Hansen, Secretary Chu, and all of President Obama’s science and environmental advisers hold genuinely crazy ideas about coal, oil, solar and wind energy, biofuels, and global warming that will be implemented as government policy and law.
It is worth noting that perhaps the looniest of the whole bunch, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, recently said, “The new Administration is stopping the headlong rush to open offshore areas of drilling”, commending Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar for “wisely initiating a review of the potential that offshore renewable energy projects can proceed in an environmentally-responsible manner.”
In other words, the 85% of the nation’s continental coast will continue to remain unexplored and untapped for the billions of barrels of oil and natural gas it is estimated to contain.
Try to square this up with the Administration’s claim that it wants America to become more “energy independent.” You can’t because the two statements are diametrically opposed. That’s why only crazy people can keep two such opposing ideas in their heads at the same time.
Meanwhile, absolutely nothing stopped the “headlong rush” to pass the most massive spending bill in the history of the nation with Speaker Pelosi leading the charge along with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
This isn’t the way our government is supposed to function. This is the real threat to the lives and welfare of all Americans.