James Hansen's Hissy Fit

Posted: Jul 02, 2008 11:08 AM
James Hansen's Hissy Fit

NASA scientist James Hansen, a high-ranking government employee, appeared in a Congressional committee meeting room June 23 to say CEOs of fossil energy companies “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Their crime: Disagreeing with him.

No word on the form of energy he used to travel to the inquisition.

Hansen further claimed that federal laws to mandate restrictions on U.S. carbon dioxide emissions have been “blocked by special interests, focused on short-term profits.”

Um, no.

Eleven Congresses -- five Democrat, six Republican -- have declined to limit greenhouse gas emissions since Hansen’s much-celebrated testimony before Colorado Democrat Tim Wirth’s Senate Committee in June 1988.

As in, they don’t want to.

As in, they really, really don’t want to.

Twenty years to the month after James Hansen had his big break at a sweaty hearing (the liberals running the show opened the windows to retard the air conditioning), the present liberal-run Senate was unable to get even 45 votes for its supposedly anti-global warming “cap and trade” bill.

Hansen blames campaign contributions by lobbyists wearing alligator shoes for the decision of Senators such as Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) to oppose the bill’s limits on energy use.

A Rockefeller bribed by a handful of $2,000 campaign gifts? Get real. Say what you will about Jay Rockefeller (and I have), or Robert Byrd, Sherrod Brown, Jim Webb, Carl Levin, Debbie Stabenow, Claire McCaskill, Blanche Lincoln and the others; there’s no evidence they’ve been bribed.

No, the explanation lies elsewhere -- in Rockefeller’s case, in West Virginia, actually, where most people prefer having a job to not having one and who, all things considered, would rather have a low utility bill than a high one.

Sort of like the residents of most states, except perhaps Maine and California and a few others collectively known as the “P.T. Barnum” states.

The truth Hansen won’t admit is that at least 55 Senators support one or more of the following: 1) economic liberty; 2) the welfare of constituents; or 3) their self-interest, as there is an advantage of letting voters in their home states believe they believe in numbers 1 & 2.

Bad news for Hansen = good news for America.

Compared to the House, the Senate’s been a powerhouse -- with offsets, one assumes -- of global warming alarmism.

The House leadership hasn’t even gotten a global warming bill to the floor, which saves Nancy Pelosi the embarrassment of telling the Volvo-driving anti-energy left why it failed.

Give Pelosi credit. She’s creative. She delegates.

In the case of global warming, to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, which she created as a holding pen for Congressional global warming alarmists while real Congressional business continues down the hall. There alarmists are free to bleat eternally about the benefits of energy-suppression measures that, even if adopted, would have no measurable impact on climate.

One can just imagine them thinking: Who cares if the laws work, when it feels so good to advocate them?

The global warming committee is chaired by Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey, who first became famous for opposing clean nuclear power. Oh, and for opposing Reagan’s approach to winning the Cold War.

Guess he was wrong on that one.


It was in Markey’s ghetto committee that Hansen delivered his remarks.

There were plenty of chairs for the interns.

Hansen’s thrown his blame-the-captains-of-industry hissy-fit before.

When Canadian mining engineer Steve McIntyre discovered in 2007 that the U.S. government’s NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies -- led by Hansen -- had screwed up its figures and erroneously (and conveniently, for Hansen) reported that 1998 is the warmest year on record instead of 1934, Hansen flipped out. He referred to those who caught the error as “court jesters,” charging they did the bidding of unnamed captains of industry.

If so, these captains of industry did a public service. All things considered, the public likes its data accurate. Especially if fake data is used by government employees to lobby Congress for higher fuel prices and unemployment.

But if data collection and analysis is not Hansen’s strong suit -- fair-minded people can hardly expect NASA to have the resources of a Canadian mining engineer working in his free time -- he’s even weaker when it comes to understanding Congress.

Hansen somehow fails to realize that if the energy industry had had eleven successive Congresses wrapped around its proverbial pinkie finger, its “alligator-toed” lobbyists would have eliminated federal gas taxes, limits on energy exploration, new CAFE standards, ever-increasing ethanol mandates and a great deal more besides.

(That the public would have been better off for it will be left for discussion on another day.)

Hansen would have us believe the energy industry is all-powerful when it comes to global warming legislation, yet impotent on everything else.

As that’s a genuine example of Hansen’s logic, it’s a good thing eleven Congresses in a row have been decidedly wary of Hansen’s raise-taxes advice on global warming.

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