24 June 2008

Staged Climate Propaganda

Yesterday, Global Warming / Climate Change (GWCC) guru James Hansen gave a 20-year anniversary speech in Washington touting his expert view on what could stop man-made GWCC. According to the Washington Post, Mr. Hansen claims that we cannot stop the world from using oil “because that's owned by Russia and Saudi Arabia…But what we could do is stop the coal."

That’s right: stop using coal. Unless coal-fired power plants in the US capture CO2 emissions, Mr. Hansen wants to “[p]hase out coal as promptly as is practical.” His suggestion brings up an interesting dilemma: because we cannot stop “Russia and Saudi Arabia” from exporting oil, we ought to stop using coal ourselves and, presumably, stop allies like Australia from selling their coal abroad. From a cynical point of view, it would seem that Mr. Hansen’s goal is more to let others off the hook while holing Western democracies (India notwithstanding) responsible for “saving the planet from GWCC.”

Mr. Hansen’s answer for our power problem sans coal is – wait for it – “solar, wind and other renewable energy.” If that other renewable energy is not nuclear, and if that nuclear power is not the bulk of the replacement energy, then Mr. Hansen is simply full of hot air. But then again, I believe he is full of hot air anyway.

As a side note, it is very curious that, while Mr. Hansen advocates a self-imposed moratorium on coal, he sees energy executives as “criminals.” In an interview with the Guardian, Mr. Hansen posits, “When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime.” His statement has been inflated to mean that he would want energy firm bosses “put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature.” The hyperbole couldn’t get much higher.

To the contrary, the students I have taught are hyper-conscious of the environment. That sort of hyper-consciousness doesn’t happen by accident; it must be taught. Somehow, I don’t think that parents are going engaging in this activity. As might be expected, teens’ hyper-consciousness about the environment is largely displayed speech only – most teenagers couldn’t give a hoot what their personal actions do to the environment or most other things for that matter. Who to sue over that?

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