Posted November 21, 2013
by Jerry Alatalo
Dr. James Hansen was one of the first scientists to publish and speak about the weather related issues and concerns about fossil fuels energy, more commonly called climate change. Any person who has done any amount of research on climate change will agree that there has been a great amount of debate, sometimes becoming overly contentious in my view, on whether the whole concept is real or not.
It seems that recently, very recently if one takes Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines into consideration, the debate over whether climate change is real or not has tilted in the direction of its reality. In the past few years, since James Hansen and other scientists have introduced the people to their findings, where these scientists have been warning of some dire consequences of continuance of the fossil fuels status-quo, there has been a kind of scientific warfare taking place between the climate-change affirming scientists and those scientists who claim that it is a hoax – non-existent.
I remember reading about a “climate change is not real” study which was signed by around 20 scientists – the scientists were contacted and it turns out that none of them had signed off on the document. This manufactured science, where industries create “studies” that “prove” their position is correct, is part of the climate change debate. This is manufactured science, and finds a relative in the field of economics, illustrated in the Academy Award winning documentary “Inside Job” by Charles Ferguson, about the true story of the 2008 economic crisis.
So, we find university professors hired by coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear companies creating papers which coincide in their findings with the industry that pays them. It is the same with university economics professors, hired by the largest banking corporations, and creating studies and papers which coincide with the banks, forwarding the agenda of the most powerful and wealthy stockholders. So, we find situations where university trained scientists will sell out to the highest bidder, many times making a great deal of salary in the process.
In essence, there are very intelligent professors/academics who are willing to step across ethical and moral lines to gain personally. Now, we can ask a few questions about who gains and who doesn’t gain in climate change, economics/banking, and other ongoing debates on the existence or non-existence of problematic realities, reforms, and proposed actions.
Let me say that, as far as Dr. James Hansen’s integrity and sincerity has come into question, my view is that Mr. Hansen is genuinely concerned about the future of today’s young people as well as future generations. After listening to a number of his speeches he comes across as thoughtful, measured, and honest – without the least bit of pretense. Some may not consider his action of getting arrested in a White House protest against the XL Pipeline, with over 1,200 others including Robert Kennedy Jr. and Daryl Hannah, as anything significant with regard to his commitment and genuineness.
Others may not feel that this in any way makes James Hansen’s climate change science, or his proposal(s) for solutions to the crisis, any more true simply because he practiced non-violent civil disobedience and got himself arrested. There are some who consider those 1,200+ men and women who were arrested in front of the White House a group of “seed-eaters” and “tree-huggers” who want to take down the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries – to take away the people’s freedom.
So, we see British Petroleum (BP) running advertisements of men and women who look just like everyone, in polo shirts as opposed to three-piece suits, standing on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico which was in effect killed by BP’s catastrophic oil spill. The men and women in the ads tell the viewers that “everything is fine, no change in energy policy is needed, we are on top of this, go back to sleep…”.
James Hansen has said that new types of nuclear reactors, called fast reactors and thorium reactors, are a suitable form of nuclear energy production as the negative by-products of radioactive waste, along with the problems associated with safe disposal, are minimal. This is proof to me that his views are sincere and based on solid science – not based on some type of anti-fossil fuels, leftist ax-to-grind vendetta. He also calls out those who assert that renewable energies are the be-all-end-all for solving the climate crisis.
Mr. Hansen has proposed a “fee and dividend” on fossil fuels to begin the fight to cut climate change emissions in the most rapid manner. Fees on fossil fuels would be attached at ports of entry and extraction facilities at an escalating rate, with those fees distributed to every citizen in the form of a monthly dividend check. He makes certain to emphasize that the monies collected must go to only the people, 100%, with zero going into government coffers.
His proposal makes a lot of sense to me, and my guess is that the American people, once they become aware of his proposal, would vote for it. Mr. Hansen suggests that America and China could begin the program through agreement, and that other nations around the world would quickly join in agreement as well, setting up their own “fee and dividend” systems dealing with fossil fuels emissions reductions.
So, those of you reading these words can decide whether you agree with the logic of James Hansen’s proposal. He has noted/admitted that it is a form of wealth redistribution. People will need to figure out whether he has been motivated by an altruistic concern for the health of humanity and all life forms or a personal vendetta against big oil, natural gas, and coal fossil fuel corporations and their stockholders.
Would implementing James Hansen’s “fee and dividend” proposal result in good, positive effects for people, animals, and plants?
In other words, would a “fee and dividend” system implementation on Earth have good consequences? In the simplest terms, would such an action be a real improvement? Would there be fewer extreme weather events in the future directly related to the “fee and dividend” proposed by Dr. Hansen? Fewer droughts, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, hurricanes, and extinctions? A decrease in the warming of ocean waters, which leads to polar ice melts, which leads to sea-level rise, which leads to ocean warming, ice melt, ocean warming – the status-quo?
Would Dr. James Hansen’s “fee and dividend” proposal really make the difference by preventing inundation of coastal mega-cities and island nations in the future from continually rising ocean levels? Should his proposal be seriously considered? Would life on Earth be better?
Would humanity be wise to listen to Dr. James Hansen?
- James Hansen on climate – citizen David vs tar sands Goliath (redgreenandblue.org)
- No right to deny. No time to delay. (decarbonisesa.com)
- Top US climate scientists support development of safe nuclear power (theguardian.com)
- Nuclear power ‘is vital to slow warming’ (eco-business.com)