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July 6, 2016

James Hansen’s Failed Ultimatums: A Free Market, Anyone?

July 6, 2016
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Predictions and ultimatums by learned, qualified scientists should be taken seriously. In the case of the father of the global warming scare, James Hansen, formerly a climate scientist with NASA/GISS, and now a full-time scientist/activist, the time is up on a remarkable ultimatum made ten years ago in the New York Review of Books.

“We have at most ten years—not ten years to decide upon action, but ten years to alter fundamentally the trajectory of global greenhouse emissions,” he wrote in his July 2006 review of Al Gore’s new book and movie, An Inconvenient Truth. “We have reached a critical tipping point,” he assured readers, adding “it will soon be impossible to avoid climate change with far-ranging undesirable consequences.”

Several years later, with the publication of his 2009 manifesto Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save the Planet, he shared “some bad news” (p. 139) with readers:

The dangerous threshold of greenhouse gases is actually lower than what we told you a few years ago. Sorry about that mistake. It does not always work that way. Sometimes our estimates are off in the other direction, and the problem is not as bad as we thought. Not this time.

“The climate system is on the verge of tipping points,” Hansen stated (p. 171). “If the world does not make a dramatic shift in energy policies over the next few years, we may well pass the point of no return.”

Also in 2009, he told the press:

We cannot afford to put off [climate policy] change any longer. 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.

Four years from 2009? If anything, the ten-year window Hansen foresaw in 2006 may have gotten shorter.

Fossil Fuels Still Dominant

So has there been a trajectory change with fossil fuels to avert disaster for Hansen? Hardly!

In 2005, the market share of natural gas, coal, and oil was 86 percent, according to the US Energy Information Administration. In 2015, a decade later, the market share of fossil fuels was an identical 86 percent, according to the BP Statistical Review.

EIA forecasts that fossil fuels will supply 79 percent of all energy in the year 2030, down from 86 percent predicted a decade ago but hardly suggesting a major trajectory change.

Hansen’s window for action has been missed. This has left him nonplussed with President Obama and the whole international climate-change crusade. Calling the Paris agreement “a fraud,” Hansen added:

It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.

This climate scientist has even led a federal lawsuit against the Obama Administration for

… willfully ignored this impending harm. By their exercise of sovereign authority over our country’s atmosphere and fossil fuel resources, they permitted, encouraged, and otherwise enabled continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels, and so, by and through their aggregate actions and omissions, Defendants deliberately allowed atmospheric CO2 concentrations to escalate to levels unprecedented in human history, resulting in a dangerous destabilizing climate system for our country and these Plaintiffs.


Recently, though, James Hansen seems to have forgotten about his closing-window ultimatums. There, as yet, is not a new point-of-no-return. Instead, he talks vaguely about the challenge ahead. “What makes [the climate change issue] all the more difficult is the fact that our solutions are going to require changing the energy system, and that requires decades,” Hansen said just last month. “So it’s a very difficult problem.”

Hansen as the scientific father and leader of climate alarmism should not get off so easily. His ultimatum was wrong, as was his science behind it. Which leaves his former high-pressure sales tactics for censure.

“Deadlines are designed to force you into a sale before you’ve had time to think,” the Better Business Bureau warns. Hansen’s tactics are somewhere between an over-eager salesman and a scammer, to which the BBB recommends:

Pay attention to your emotions. This may sound touchy-feely, but high pressure sales are all about manipulation. If you start to feel overwhelmed, anxious, rushed or like you just can’t think clearly, come to your own rescue. Walk out of the room. Hang up. Tell the salesperson to leave.

Wrong-again James Hansen should lose the confidence of his audience. The sky has not fallen and is not about to fall.

Free-market wealth-is-health adaptation is a better strategy than political shenanigans and a government-directed energy future. In fact, it is a strategy whose time has come now that we are out of Hansen’s window of reversal.

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    Man-Made climate change has ALWAYS been a lie. The “Progressives” used it to trick people like they do on a regular basis. Never trust any thing a “Progressive” says. They are only interested in controlling people. Learn the real history and this is obvious. This is an interesting paper I was given back in the 2007 time frame: It was written by a person in their late 70s for a family member. I got permission to distribute it under the condition I redact his name. He did not want people, especially the climate scammers, harassing him. Feel free to pass it around.

    • geek49203

      Proposing a friendly amendment here… the movement is a lie, the hye is a lie, but *if* a butterfly flapping its wings in Iowa can influence a storm in Hong Kong, I guess that humans *do* have some impact.

      Now — are they poised on the brink of ruin due to man-made CO2-induced global warming? Hardly.

      • Donald Campbell

        I would say that if you urinate in the ocean, you will be polluting the water. Now, I don’t think that the negative impact of this act will adversely impact anything (after all, fish have sex in the ocean), but like you suggest, it indeed is man-induced acidification of the ocean.

    • Kranky Old Guy

      I will believe that Global Warming is a serious problem, when the people who keep telling me that Global Warming is a serious problem, start acting themselves like Global Warming is a serious problem.

      • papertiger0

        Lets face it. If the global warmers, like Hansen, swore off electricity, lived in a Yurt utilizing only natural daylight to scrawl their dire predictions in the dirt with a twig, I for one would point, and laugh.

      • richard40

        Right. A good tipoff is when you see all the global warming advocates selling off their beachfront properties, adn start buying land in Canada, which would get a longer growing season with global warming.
        That may be a tipoff they may really believe it, not before.

  • J_H_C

    Look, folks; it really is this simple: If they can not take the known environmental factors of 50 years ago, feed them into their models, and predict the observable climate of today, then there is no reason to believe they can predict the unknown climate of 50 years from now. If “the science is settled”, why do they keep tweaking their models?

    • DudeAbiding

      Nailed it.

    • Larry J

      Precisely. I’ve argued that point for over 10 years, only to be told “we don’t have time to validate our models! We must act now!”

  • DirtyDave

    You forgetting Hanson has a nice government job, pension and benefits to protect and develop. Much beyond that, accuracy and honesty are for chumps.

  • Humility

    At least the cults have the decency to off themselves after their nutcase dire predictions do not come true.
    This is Chicken Little with the force of corrupt government behind him. “I said the sky is warming! Now give me all your money in carbon credits or I’ll take it from you in fines and lock you up for disagreeing with me.”

  • CO2isGood

    Gov. Cuomo seems to have heeded the Global Alarmists threats, (I mean warnings), and banned fracking to the detriment of Upstate New York.

    • keith12345

      The environmentalists thought natural gas was GREAT, until we actually started using it. Then it was bad. The environmentalists though wind power would be GREAT, until power producers proposed building Cape Wind in Massachusetts. Then it was bad. They thought biomass was GREAT. Until they started building biomass power plants. Then it was bad. And so on. The only good source of power are the ones we’re not using. But as soon as they come into use, they’re to be vilified in favor of some new idea.

      • JollyGreenChemist

        Exactly. the greenies only support vaporware-type solutions. The only good energy source is a non-existent one.

  • Terenc Blakely

    The politicians and media who are all for an all powerful statist government memory-hole these false doomsday predictions. Gotta keep that ‘narrative’ pristine.

  • Alan

    “ a full-time scientist/activist” — should read “…now a full-time ‘science’-scare scam artist”.

    Projections are not proof. Bad projections, based on unreliable data, are not a basis for doing much of anything.
    At most, with the data we have, we should do some realistic planning on how to mitigate the effects of major climatic changes (since those happen every so often anyway) when and if they come.

    • far_side

      Every living thing on the planet has been adapting to gradual climate change for billions of years. Trying to stop climate change, as governments are proposing, is an impossibilty short of altering the orbit of the Earth. The Club of Rome and the U.N. started the scaremongering process decades ago; the U.N. and governments today are just cashing in on the alarmism to extract more money from taxpayers. It’s time they were all sent packing.

  • skoobie

    Not that the outcome of these false predictions is news to the simple educated person, I ask you this… What is it about the most elect in this world that they believe they can control the planet, when they cannot even handle a few guys in pajamas running around in the desert beheading people? Maybe they should start with something smaller like..say.. a tornado, perhaps a hurricane or even a flash flood, gradually progressing towards the gravitational pull of the earth. Why set yourself up for failure?

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