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Re: [carfree_cities] James Hansen and Copenhagen

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  • Chris Bradshaw
    Annie Leonard, the lady who did the Story of Stuff animated film, has now done one on Cap n Trade. http://www.storyofstuff.com/ Chris Bradshaw @Ottawalk ...
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 6, 2009
      Annie Leonard, the lady who did the "Story of Stuff" animated film, has now
      done one on Cap'n'Trade.


      Chris Bradshaw

      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
      To: <carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Wednesday, December 02, 2009 16:10
      Subject: [carfree_cities] James Hansen and Copenhagen

      Hi All,

      James Hansen is calling for Copenhagen to fail. He says,
      and I agree, that cap-n-trade is a bad deal. It's time
      for a carbon tax:




      Copenhagen climate change talks must fail, says top scientist

      'We don't have a leader who is able to grasp [the issue] and say what is
      really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual,' say
      James Hansen. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA

      The scientist who convinced the world to take notice of the looming danger
      of global warming says it would be better for the planet and for future
      generations if next week's Copenhagen climate change summit ended in

      In an interview with the Guardian, James Hansen, the world's pre-eminent
      climate scientist, said any agreement likely to emerge from the negotiations
      would be so deeply flawed that it would be better to start again from

      "I would rather it not happen if people accept that as being the right track
      because it's a disaster track," said Hansen, who heads the Nasa Goddard
      Institute for Space Studies in New York.

      "The whole approach is so fundamentally wrong that it is better to reassess
      the situation. If it is going to be the Kyoto-type thing then [people] will
      spend years trying to determine exactly what that means." He was speaking as
      progress towards a deal in Copenhagen received a boost today, with India
      revealing a target to curb its carbon emissions. All four of the major
      emitters - the US, China, EU and India - have now tabled offers on
      emissions, although the equally vexed issue of funding for developing
      nations to deal with global warming remains deadlocked.

      Hansen, in repeated appearances before Congress beginning in 1989, has done
      more than any other scientist to educate politicians about the causes of
      global warming and to prod them into action to avoid its most catastrophic
      consequences. But he is vehemently opposed to the carbon market schemes - in
      which permits to pollute are bought and sold - which are seen by the EU and
      other governments as the most efficient way to cut emissions and move to a
      new clean energy economy.

      Hansen is also fiercely critical of Barack Obama - and even Al Gore, who won
      a Nobel peace prize for his efforts to get the world to act on climate
      change - saying politicians have failed to meet what he regards as the moral
      challenge of our age.

      In Hansen's view, dealing with climate change allows no room for the
      compromises that rule the world of elected politics. "This is analagous to
      the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced
      by Winston Churchill," he said. "On those kind of issues you cannot
      compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and
      reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%."

      He added: "We don't have a leader who is able to grasp it and say what is
      really needed. Instead we are trying to continue business as usual."

      The understated Iowan's journey from climate scientist to activist
      accelerated in the last years of the Bush administration. Hansen, a
      reluctant public speaker, says he was forced into the public realm by the
      increasingly clear looming spectre of droughts, floods, famines and drowned
      cities indicated by the science.

      That enormous body of scientific evidence has been put under a microscope by
      climate sceptics after last month's release online of hacked emails sent by
      respected researchers at the climate research unit of the University of East
      Anglia. Hansen admitted the controversy could shake public's trust, and
      called for an investigation. "All that stuff they are arguing about the data
      doesn't really change the analysis at all, but it does leave a very bad
      impression," he said.

      The row reached Congress today, with Republicans accusing the researchers of
      engaging in "scientific fascism" and pressing the Obama administration's top
      science adviser, John Holdren, to condemn the email. Holdren, a climate
      scientist who wrote one of the emails in the UEA trove, said he was prepared
      to denounce any misuse of data by the scientists - if one is proved.

      Hansen has emerged as a leading campaigner against the coal industry, which
      produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other fuel source.

      He has become a fixture at campus demonstrations and last summer was
      arrested at a protest against mountaintop mining in West Virginia, where he
      called the Obama government's policies "half-assed".

      He has irked some environmentalists by espousing a direct carbon tax on fuel
      use. Some see that as a distraction from rallying support in Congress for
      cap-and-trade legislation that is on the table.

      He is scathing of that approach. "This is analagous to the indulgences that
      the Catholic church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of
      money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties liked that arrangement
      despite its absurdity. That is exactly what's happening," he said. "We've
      got the developed countries who want to continue more or less business as
      usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what
      they can get through offsets [sold through the carbon markets]."

      For all Hansen's pessimism, he insists there is still hope. "It may be that
      we have already committed to a future sea level rise of a metre or even more
      but that doesn't mean that you give up.

      "Because if you give up you could be talking about tens of metres. So I find
      it screwy that people say you passed a tipping point so it's too late. In
      that case what are you thinking: that we are going to abandon the planet?
      You want to minimise the damage."

      . James Hansen's book Storms of My Grandchildren is published by Bloomsbury,

      ----- ### -----
      J.H. Crawford . Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... . http://www.carfree.com


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