Hansen accuses energy execs of crimes against humanity and nature

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Top climate scientist to Congress: Act fast before time runs out

The director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, one of the world’s top experts on climate change, told a congressional briefing yesterday that delays by business and politicians have “used up all slack in the schedule for actions needed to defuse the global warming time bomb.”

Unless action is taken quickly, James Hansen said, “it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.”

Hansen, who first testified to Congress on global warming 20 years ago, blamed U.S. inaction on a deliberate campaign of misinformation financed by the oil and coal industries.

“Solution of the climate problem requires that we move to carbon-free energy promptly.

“Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future. Instead of moving heavily into renewable energies, fossil companies choose to spread doubt about global warming, as tobacco companies discredited the smoking-cancer link. Methods are sophisticated, including funding to help shape school textbook discussions of global warming.

“CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Hansen testified that “the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is no more than 350 ppm (parts per million) and it may be less.” The earth has already past that point.

“Carbon dioxide amount is already 385 ppm and rising about 2 ppm per year. Stunning corollary: the oft-stated goal to keep global warming less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) is a recipe for global disaster, not salvation.”

Read full text of Hansen’s testimony here. (PDF, 74 kb)


  • I find the comments of “Dirck the Noorman” (a pseudonym for a neo-con crank) quite offensive. He say in his blog that Hansen is not a credible scientist. Hansen, in fact, is recognized by the world’s scientific community as one of the leading climatologists. “Dirck” also takes a part of his 1988 testimony out of context to suggest that Hansen was wrong; in fact Hansen has been proven right on all points (sadly for the Earth and its inhabitants). So why is Hansen going to all this trouble and making waves? Because he has a conscience and is moved to act in a morally upright manner to protect current and future generations at risk from climate change. The neo-cons care only about themselves, their money and their power. They are willing to smear and malign anyone who is able to reveal them for what they are. Hansen is a hero to billions for standing up to the fossil fuel industry and the United State energy policy. For displaying that audacity they hate him and put him down. To “Dirck” or whoever you are: crawl back under the rock you came from and stop defending mass murderes and climate criminals!

  • Strange no one has bothered to actually go back and look at the predictions Hansen made in his 1988 testimony?

    The last page of his prepared remarks had a historical time-series of global mean temperature through 1987, plus predictions for various scenarios through 2019.

    Well, we have 20 more years of data now – how do his predictions look so far? Wildly wrong.

    Check it out – all the data here: