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Hansen – 30 years on, world is failing ‘miserably’ to address climate change

June 20, 2018

By Paul Homewood



From the Guardian:



Thirty years after a former Nasa scientist sounded the alarm for the general public about climate change and human activity, the expert issued a fresh warning that the world is failing “miserably” to deal with the worsening dangers.

While Donald Trump and many conservatives like to argue that climate change is a hoax, James Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.

Hansen provided what’s considered the first warning to a mass audience about global warming when, in 1988, he told a US congressional hearing he could declare “with 99% confidence” that a recent sharp rise in temperatures was a result of human activity.

Since this time, the world’s greenhouse gas emissions have mushroomed despite repeated, increasingly frantic warnings about civilization-shaking catastrophe, from scientists amassing reams of evidence in Hansen’s wake.

“All we’ve done is agree there’s a problem,” Hansen told the Guardian. “We agreed that in 1992 [at the Earth summit in Rio] and re-agreed it again in Paris [at the 2015 climate accord]. We haven’t acknowledged what is required to solve it. Promises like Paris don’t mean much, it’s wishful thinking. It’s a hoax that governments have played on us since the 1990s.”

Hansen’s long list of culprits for this inertia are both familiar – the nefarious lobbying of the fossil fuel industry – and surprising. Jerry Brown, the progressive governor of California, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, are “both pretending to be solving the problem” while being unambitious and shunning low-carbon nuclear power, Hansen argues.

James Hansen: ‘Promises like Paris don’t mean much, it’s wishful thinking. It’s a hoax that governments have played on us since the 1990s.’

There is particular scorn for Barack Obama. Hansen says in a scathing upcoming book that the former president “failed miserably” on climate change and oversaw policies that were “late, ineffectual and partisan”.

Hansen even accuses Obama of passing up the opportunity to thwart Donald Trump’s destruction of US climate action, by declining to settle a lawsuit the scientist, his granddaughter and 20 other young people are waging against the government, accusing it of unconstitutionally causing peril to their living environment.


Read the full story here.

  1. June 20, 2018 4:28 pm

    You almost have to feel sorry for the chap. As some of us will recall from our childhood, once you tell a big lie you are almost forced into keeping the lie going; in the vain hope that your parents will eventually believe you! As an adult Hansen should be past this type of behaviour by now. Constantly chanting the climate change mantra in the face of all the contrary evidence is very sad.

  2. Broadlands permalink
    June 20, 2018 4:39 pm

    What is quite amazing is that Dr. Hansen doesn’t seem to realize (and hasn’t yet acknowledged) that his long-time goal of lowering atmospheric CO2 down to what it was in 1987 (350 ppm) is an impossibly large amount. Fifty ppm of CO2 is more than 100 gigatons of CO2 to capture and safely bury somewhere. Renewables don’t help. No amount of action by all nations could possibly hope to achieve that goal. And even if they could it would cost mega-money. Do the math on the cost-per-ton of 100 billion tons. And finally, where would that get us hundreds of years from now? Back to the weather and the climate 30 years ago. This is a stunning misunderstanding or lack of knowledge on his part…as well as on the part of others recommending “urgency”.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 20, 2018 8:02 pm

      “…where would that get us hundreds of years from now?”

      Lake Nyos – equivalent – somewhere when the sequestration erupts?

    • Tom O permalink
      June 21, 2018 2:53 pm

      Actually, the goal is attainable, but at the cost of billions of lives, not of billions of units of money. And I agree, the price is too high. Hansen also believed, as I recall, CO2 was the cause of the believed oncoming ice age that was being predicted in the 1970s. To Hansen, yes, CO2 truly is the miracle molecule – but for all the wrong reasons.

  3. June 20, 2018 5:06 pm

    CO2 400 ppm.

    Arctic is fine.
    Climate is fine.
    Sea-level rise slow.
    Earth is greening.

    Yes there’s cold snaps; always was.
    Yes there’s heat waves; always was.
    And yes, floods and droughts occur and always have.

    No crises, no catastrophe.

    Predictions of 30 years ago failed to materialize.
    He was spectacularly wrong. It’s that simple.

    • John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia permalink
      June 20, 2018 5:40 pm


    • Climate Heretic permalink
      June 20, 2018 6:55 pm

      Double indeed

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      June 20, 2018 7:32 pm

      … and I’m still being grossly penalised for ownership of a off-road vehicle

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 20, 2018 8:03 pm

      Extremely good summary!

  4. Phoenix44 permalink
    June 20, 2018 5:26 pm

    If he cannot see that declaring he was 99% certain in 1988 was a big fat fib, then he has learnt nothing.

    You could not even make that claim now. thirty years later, so how can he possibly justify it?

    • June 21, 2018 5:56 pm

      Maybe ‘certain’ should read ‘ceritifiable’ if he keeps on seeing a crisis that isn’t there.

  5. HotScot permalink
    June 20, 2018 5:38 pm

    “Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.”

    That’s Trump in the clear then.

  6. Mike Jackson permalink
    June 20, 2018 5:48 pm

    Thirty years is supposdly long enough to call it “climate”. We’ve had 30 years.

    Thirty years was all the time we had, he said. We’ve had 30 years.

    When is it going to start, James? I’m waiting.

    • dennisambler permalink
      June 21, 2018 10:29 am

      They have always known that 30 years is meaningless. After this conference, all talk of uncertainty disappeared and climate certainty became the order of the day, literally:

      Proceedings of the ECLA T-2 Helsinki Workshop , 14-16 April, 1999
      A Concerted Action Towards the Impr oved Understanding and Application of Results from Climate Model Experiments in European Climate Change Impacts Research ( Co-ordinated by UEA)

      The climate system, as a complex non-linear dynamic system, is also indeterminate (Shukla, 1998) and even with perfect models and unlimited computing power, for a given forcing scenario a range of future climates will always be simulated.

      Climatologists commonly describe the present-day climate using observations from a recent thirty-year period (e.g. 1951-80 or 1961-90). The performance of GCMs at simulating present climate can be tested with reference to such information, although measurement errors, interpolation errors and sampling errors lead to considerable uncertainty regarding the true baseline climate (e.g. New et al, 1999).

      Climate is also known to vary naturally on multi-decadal (e.g. 30-year) time scales and for reasons that have nothing to do with anthropogenic forcing. Determining what is the true level of natural climate variability on 30-year time-scales is not therefore straightforward.

      Observational data are limited to at most usually 100 years or so (and in any case may already contain an anthropogenic signal). Another way of obtaining estimates of multi-decadal variability is to use multi-century unforced GCM simulations.

      However, with only a limited observational record and uncertain multi-century paleoclimatic reconstructions of climate (Jones et al.,1998) available for comparing with model outputs, it is difficult to judge how effectively such model simulations represent the true natural variability of climate.

      Then along came Michael Mann!

      • June 21, 2018 12:10 pm

        So to a non-computer, common sense driven chap that sounds like GIGO?!

  7. June 20, 2018 6:44 pm

    It’s a bit rich describing Hansen as a former NASA scientist, since he eschewed the scientific method. It would have been better to describe him as a political activist.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      June 20, 2018 8:09 pm

      …A former NASA astrologer? (per ardua ad astra[zeneca] drugs?) He must have been on something.

      • June 20, 2018 10:08 pm

        Joking apart, Harry makes an important point. Both Mann and Hansen are of a generation that soaked their brains in drugs, LSD as well as weed etc. which causes often irreversible damage. Is it surprising that their so-called science is so weird?

  8. Edward B permalink
    June 20, 2018 6:57 pm

    Paul, take a look at the Telegraph Business supplement today “Action not argument needed to halt climate change”. Two climate profs trying to sell their book and dip into the taxpayers’ pockets.

  9. John F. Hultquist permalink
    June 20, 2018 8:28 pm

    Off topic, but this is important:
    OMG !

    Pubs could run dry of beer and fizzy drinks as Britain is hit by the worst shortage of carbon dioxide in decades

    • Eric Johnson permalink
      June 20, 2018 9:44 pm

      John, agree, except yeast produces the CO2 in beer, so as long as there’s hops, or equivalent, The the following will hold true (or something similar), “Beer for my horses and water for my men!”. Fizzy drinks sequester how much CO2?

      • Tom O permalink
        June 21, 2018 2:58 pm

        ” Fizzy drinks sequester how much CO2? ” Depends on how much you burp.

      • Eric permalink
        June 21, 2018 6:19 pm

        Tom O
        You just raised a huge, FRIGHTENING specter!
        Differential taxes on containers based upon chug-a-bility vs sipping. Straws are being banned, so no more demured drinking, which returns us to taxing burping???

        Remember, lowest common denominator politicians have no concept of conservation of mass/energy. But they’re excellent at devising new and creative taxes!

    • Sheri permalink
      June 21, 2018 8:38 pm

      How does that happen?

    • Old Englander permalink
      June 22, 2018 10:03 am

      All the people who followed this subject (“climate change”) are already having a huge laugh about this story. See GWPF as well as here.

      Must be a mistake in the news management somewhere. I can just see Winston Smith in “1984” getting his orders to wipe out the story, references to CO2 shortage being a crisis are “doubleplusungood, rectify”.

      Or maybe it’s that the idiot politicians really believe the problem is “carbon” emissions (dirty, nasty soot ?) and that CO2 is a harmless food ingredient after all.

    • John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia permalink
      June 22, 2018 11:50 am

      In Russia, the shortage is not because of CO2 but because of the Aussies.

  10. June 20, 2018 10:57 pm

    Reblogged this on WeatherAction News and commented:
    Tony Heller’s article Thirty Years Of The James Hansen Clown Show looks at how the predictions are faring three decades later

  11. Henning Nielsen permalink
    June 21, 2018 3:21 am

    Everyone has failed me! Everyone is guilty! That’s the mindset of persons who are too full of themselves.

  12. M E permalink
    June 21, 2018 5:59 am
    “Carbon dioxide is a critical byproduct of beer brewing and is essential to the product packaging process.It also happens to be dangerous……..”

    • Ben Vorlich permalink
      June 21, 2018 8:57 am

      In certain situations CO2 is dangerous. Colourless, odourless and will suffocate you.

      • paul weldon permalink
        June 21, 2018 10:51 am

        Not forgetting of course that it is the lack of oxygen rather than CO2 specifically that is dangerous. And the fact that you will not know it is there. I guess you could substitute any other non-toxic gas for CO2 and you would have the same danger.

      • Sheri permalink
        June 21, 2018 8:38 pm

        In certain situations, water is dangerous.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      June 21, 2018 12:55 pm

      Yes, fermentation produces co2 and the blanket helps protect the fermenting wort from contamination. No it is not essential in packaging because if you bottle-condition or cask-condition it is created from within. Ale breweries will be rubbing their hands with glee at increased sales.

  13. Sheri permalink
    June 21, 2018 8:37 pm

    “accusing it of unconstitutionally causing peril to their living environment.” I believe that translates to causing peril to the income from the scam that was foisted on the world, but I’m not sure.

  14. Athelstan permalink
    June 21, 2018 9:32 pm

    Uncounted the billions wasted or helping the rich get richer, on combatting a figment, a myth generated as a tax grab.

    rot in hell Hansen, it’s plenty hot down there and where you belong.

  15. John of Cloverdale, WA, Australia permalink
    June 22, 2018 5:08 am

    Here is one brave scientist, ex-Professor Ridd (sacked for his scientific views of the Great Barrier Reef by James Cook University) talking about the robust nature of corals that go against the dogma spruiked by his colleagues and other scientists in Australia’s marine science institutions.

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