NASA's James Hansen: Copenhagen should fail

James Hansen

‘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 collapse.

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 scratch.

“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.

Read the entire article here at the Guardian:

Copenhagen climate change talks must fail, says top scientist


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Scott Covert

That’s right Jimmy boy, claim victory win or lose!

Erik Anderson

Wow, I never thought the day would come when I’d find myself in agreement with James Hansen!

Gary Hladik

“May the good fairy what sits in the sky grant yer ev’ry wish.” — Spam, in Bored of the Rings


I agree with him.

Mark M

Damage limitation.
Not much else he can say since it will produce nothing of any substance now that the developing economies, led by China, have produced their own message for the first world nations that roughly translates into english as a two fingered gesture of anglo-saxon origin


Surely a world turned upside down.


Copenhagen will be a complete success in my book. The man-made global warming theory will die and the deniers that claim climate change is not man-made will win.

OK, did Al Gore stop sending him his monthly stipend?
Just wondering.

Evan Jones

“May the good fairy what sits in the sky grant yer ev’ry wish.” — Spam, in Bored of the Rings
“Insult not the White Wizard, for I have many powers. Here, pick a card. Any card.”
– ibid


“the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist” In the sense that ‘climate-scientist’ is rapidly becoming a synonym for incompetent hack or worse then perhaps he is. World’s preeminent chicken little would perhaps be more accurate.
Lord Monckton is particular scathing of his failed predictions in his comprehensive document on Climategate.
Obviously Hansen knows how to pay the media game. It doesn’t matter how many ridiculous and failed predictions you made in the past. You will never be called to account. What gets the headlines is the next prediction of global doom.
At least he sees the nonsense of selling indulgencies.

Bruce Eckhoff

It may be Jimmy doesnt want further exposure to his own lies. Like proclaiming Oct 08 the warmest month ever when using September data from Russia, or saying the 90’s were the hottest decade when he forgot (conveniently) that his own data showed the 30’s were as hot or hotter. Or maybe even someone would dig up the fact that this totally unbiased scientist was a research assistant in the 70’s on a paper that purported to show that man’s use of fossil fuel was responsible for
(ta-da) the coming ice age! Brrrrr.

Note the clear skies in the background, with a few clouds. The photo of him would have been much more effective if he’d been standing in front of a large parabolic cooling tower at a nuclear power plant that was spewing vast amounts of water vapor (greenhouse gas) into the air.


Hansen and the Sceptics. What strange bedfellows.
As the old saying goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend”
Welcome Jim.


“• James Hansen’s book Storms of My Grandchildren is published by Bloomsbury, £18.99”
He differs only over the method of implementation of tax, not the underlying issues.
Still, another talking point in the MSM in the run up to Copenhagen… it even got a mention at the end of BBC’s Newsnight tonight when they covered tomorrow’s front pages.


While I don’t agree with James Hansen 99.99% of the time – on this point he is 100% correct. Copenhagen should fail….for many reasons.
Even if “Global Warming” was the problem the faithful (because it is nothing more than a faith-based cult at this point) claim it is, Copenhagen would do absolutely zero (in fact less than zero given the amount of wasted time, paper, money and energy already devoted to the process) to solve it.
Its the equivalent of paying $1000 extra a year on car insurance, to prevent your house from being infested with termites.

Obama “believes” the scientists who’ve been caught lying: “We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now, that this [global warming] is a matter of urgency and national security and it has to be dealt with in a serious way and that’s what I intend my administration to do.”

Steve Schapel

As I understand it, this is the attitude that Hansen has consistently taken for a long time. This article does not indicate any change, and should come as no surprise.

I always knew that Hansen was a shill for Shell.
(BTW, where’s my check this month?)


Hansen has always opposed ‘cap and trade’ – he is a ‘carbon tax’ advocate. Along with his support of nuclear energy makes him not always popular with the green crowd.

Greg Goodknight

“The grapes are sour anyway”, said the fox.


I can see the headlines now;


What Jim is really saying is that the whole thing snowballed and got away from him.
He handed it over to the pols, who made a game out of it, and finding in the ranks of scientists those whom they could buy, ran with it.
Hansen needs to be very specific about what he had in mind.
How is this “Shut CopenHagen Down” any different than “Shut all the Coal Plants Down”?
If I caught his drift, anything he does not agree with should be shut down, including dissenting opinion.
Did I miss anything?


Don’t be fooled. Hansen wants a global carbon tax administered by the UN. He’s just objecting to the “offset” part of Carbon Offsets. He would be more than happy to reduce the human footprint on this planet thru whatever means are available.


This appears to be a CYA move by Jimmy, as well as play the media.
I am sure he knows he is culpable.
I think Obama and others who may not really be willing to “understand” the fraud that has been ongoing since the inception of AGW.
The players may just proceed as if they must save the world now.

P Wilson

carry on like this and we’re done for. We’ll be toast. 3 years to go. It’ll all happen after that. Copenhagen must fail thus.
There’s still hope though through direct carbon tax.


based on info here we can safely assume that Mann will be resigning soon North story

P Wilson

RConnelly (15:33:35)
its interesting. Lovelock is similarly rasputinesque about human involement in the planet and how we’re done for no matter what we do.. And he’s a nuclear advocate too.


So, what is his alternative plan then? I didn’t see one. Not that his opinion should count for anything anyway. Leave politics to the politicians. The scientists should stick to science. Post normalism in science is how we got into this mess in the first place.

Thermageddon prophet Hanson is worried that the Earth may become Venus, with parboiled seas and an atmosphere so heavy it will squash bugs, except there won’t be any bugs at 1000 degrees K.
His solution: tax, tax, tax, and tax some more.
So when you say you “agree” with Jimbo, you might want to qualify it slightly, lest people start thinking that you’re nuts to the bone, too.


I understand him. He actually believes in AGW, so he wants effective measures to decrease CO2, not new taxes. Of course he disagrees with the politicos.

Kevin Kilty

Hey, the close up of Hansen is uncalled-for. Ick.


“He has irked some environmentalists by espousing a direct carbon tax on fuel use.”
Nobody ever said that a carbon tax per se is carbon neutral. In fact, all it stands to achieve is a redistribution of CO2 emissions from the private sector to the public sector.
We can hardly start to imagine all the things our governments will do to waste the sudden and massive increase in tax revenue. There would be a huge expansion in public sector expenditure and that means employment. All of those extra public sector employees would spend their wages on goods and services which produce CO2 – probably CO2 emissions in other countries as production moves abroad to avoid the tax.
There would be huge incentive for businesses and individuals to minimise their tax bills. Think about the large bureaucracy involved in administration and policing of CO2 emissions and the taxation. Think about how the taxation system would steadily become more complex and difficult to administer as successive govenments tinke with it to address weaknesses and to achieve political goals.
And when governments are enriched by these additional tax revenues, they could find the money burning a hole in their pocket. What to do with it? More armaments? More foreign policy initiatives in far away lands?
Now some argue that the carbon tax could be spent on development and promotion of low carbon technologies. But the flaw in that argument is that if they really believe that line of reasoning, there is nothing to stop them from making their own investments in those technologoes right now. In the private sector.
Whene people push the taxation route, it only shows how they don’t have the courage of their convictions to put their own money where their mouth is. If they cannot invest privately in green technologies, why should anybody listen to them about a tax.
Carbon taxation = another flawed argument. Sorry to be so negative.


Methinks the Astro Physicist (not climatologist) Dr. Hanson could not find a way to get a pass on the payolla wagon for the industrial indulgences for carbon sins. I think he is maneuvering for another Sorros/Heinz payday. His transparency is commendable – – NOT!


Michael (15:37:08) :
I can see the headlines now;

I keep repeating my self here, but to be politically correct that should actually be:


CBS just ran an article
The tide really is turning!!!!!
This is history in the making – the wall put up by the MSM is finally cracking!!


[thanks, but no]

P Wilson

Just another red herring, or a diversion. When a fraud begins to unveil, you have to create another know-better-than-thou statement, aloof from the two *opposing* sides, yet siding with the one you helped create. He plays climate science like Talleyrand played politics.

Fred from Canuckistan . . .

“the world’s pre-eminent climate scientist,”
That’s some mirror you’ve got there Jimmy.
dDes it make you look 20 pounds lighter as well?


Here is another disillusioned one that persists…

Enough posturing politics. Time to let the experts lead
“We can only marvel at the disarray. Here we are, 17 years after the signing of the UN framework convention on climate change, two years after the decision in Bali to agree a new climate policy, one year after Barack Obama’s election, and days out from the Copenhagen conference. Yet a real global strategy to avoid catastrophe remains elusive.”

Tim S.

I have to say that Jim Hansen is my favorite climate scientologist. He really knows how to simplify climate scientology for the journalists.
The rest of the pro-AGW muppets, such as Phil Jones and Mike “Nature trick” Mann, aren’t nearly so skilled when it comes to media relations.

And I didn’t realize he is as tall as a giant!


Shouldn’t the third paragraph begin: In an interview, Jim Hansen who USED TO BE one the world’s preiminet…..?


Meanwhile in the Aussie political scene – opposition (new) leader Tony Abbott is pursuing a new & improved climate change policy which is tax free! Yes, it is to be based on land use changes and energy efficiency incentives:
This lad wasn’t a Rhodes scholar for nuttin ya know. It is going to be interesting to see this battle in upcoming months.


Okay, I’ll take Hansen’s statement as sincere, not any sort of CYA bail-out. He’s right about Copenshagen for the wrong reasons, but he’s still right. And he’s right about nuclear power for the wrong reasons, too.
Yeah, Kevin, the fisheye lens was unkind; this was not Hansen’s best mugshot. But you must admit he’s really quite handsome compared to, say, Rajendra Pachauri, yes?
Would you buy a used climate model from this man?

Pressed Rat

Wow. Look at that [snip] grin. He’ll need it real soon.


P Wilson (15:40:58):
Lovelock is similarly rasputinesque about human involement in the planet and how we’re done for no matter what we do.

Can anyone actually be sure that he’s wrong?
Do we know how much of a forcing would be required to trigger an unstoppable transition to a much warmer, ice-free world?

Bruce Cobb

But, COP15 president Connie Hedegaard said “failure in Copenhagen is not an option”. She called it a “window of opportunity” , and that it would be “irresponsible not to use the momentum now”.
Of course, that was before Climategate. Doh!
Finally, she says:
“If the whole world comes to Copenhagen and leaves without making the needed political agreement, then I think it’s a failure that is not just about climate. Then it’s the whole global democratic system not being able to deliver results in one of the defining challenges of our century. And that is and should not be a possibility. It’s not an option,” Connie Hedegaard tells in an interview.
“The needed political agreement.” Plenty of wiggle room there. Guaranteed, whatever happens, no matter how ridiculously pathetic, it will be called something like a “good start to what will certainly be more ambitious talks next year” and “a triumph of man vs human nature”, or some such climate doublespeak.

Thomas J. Arnold.

Hansen suspects what many here already know, Copenhagen will be a total fudge to please the politicians, half made empty promises and pap.
All hot air, something for dead duck PMs like Brown to show his ‘adoring’ nation.
I hope the conference is a failure, not for Hansen’s reasons though.
I hope this will bring about the end to global ‘consensus’ on AGW.
Something which we would do better researching far more openly with published data sets -the CO2/ water vapour/methane/aerosols GHG forcing conundrum.
And let there be a little pragmatism a lot more science and less backbiting, instead of the chicken little approach.
Before we start taxing the Western World back into the middle ages.

Pressed Rat

I submitted this to the RealClimate site:
The lights flash, blink, and then extinguish leaving you in the freezing dark. You feel the cold sea water surge around your ankles and calves. The deck tilts and you feel the world slide sickeningly into the abyss. Your heart pounds in your chest. Its all over. Your God is dead.
For some reason, it wasn’t posted.

The man-made global warming theory will die and the deniers that claim climate change is not man-made will win.
I think about now nearly everyone thinks it is man-made. The only remaining question is it only the theory that is man-made or is the warming man-made ?