Quote of the Week – NYT on James Hansen & Bill McKibben's 'boneheaded' efforts


Whoo-boy. NASA’s James Hansen disses McKibben in an email to an NYT reporter. Hansen was speaking candidly, never thinking this email would see the light of day. But that’s not the punchline…

Hansen on the highly inflated 350.org Keystone XL protest this weekend, in an email to NYT’s Joe Nocera:

“Yes, I know, the merits of this continuing activity may be dubious, but Bill is working his butt off so hard that I can’t refuse.”

Interestingly, Nocera thinks Obama should approve the Keystone XL pipeline saying:

And the climate change effects of tar sands oil are, all in all, pretty small.

In fact, this should be a no-brainer for the president, for all the reasons I stated earlier, and one more: the strategy of activists like McKibben, Brune and Hansen, who have made the Keystone pipeline their line in the sand, is utterly boneheaded.


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February 19, 2013 6:28 pm

No more boneheaded than Obama himself. This know-it-all gives boneheads a bad name.

February 19, 2013 6:45 pm

The truth hurts so good!

Crispin in Waterloo
February 19, 2013 7:08 pm

It is good that helpful and positive advice is offered so candidly. How uncommonly virtuous.

John F. Hultquist
February 19, 2013 7:28 pm

From the linked article in the nytimes: Hansen “…told me he would like to see oil companies pay a fee, which would rise annually, based on carbon emissions. He said that such a tax could reduce emissions by 30 percent within 10 years.
Insofar as there is nothing to replace carbon based fuel within the next 10 years this Plan A has a big problem. All major countries would have to participate by taking the tax collected and recycling it to the less well off whose fuel related costs are a high proportion of their expenditures. They would spend their new money on the higher priced needs. The velocity of money will increase (not what, I think, the greens want). Without that magic fairy dust – a new energy source – “carbon emissions” (sic) would not really change much in 10 years. The influence of all this on climate would be zero or sufficiently small as to be undetectable. I wonder if there is a plan B?

February 19, 2013 7:29 pm

You don’t think Hansen’s geting tired of being arested over this, do you?

February 19, 2013 7:59 pm

….. and this guy is in charge of the temperature record ?
Am I hallucinating ?

February 19, 2013 8:02 pm

Oh my, being an old DJ, this was something that popped into my head after reading this post.
Just sayin, I feel the pain of those who are seeing a developing gap in their consensus 🙂
Ya think?

February 19, 2013 8:18 pm

The fact that carbon dioxide is stupendously beneficial to the biosphere never reaches their boneheaded brains.
And they said dinosaurs were cranially challenged.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)
February 19, 2013 8:22 pm

Schitzree sais on February 19, 2013 at 7:29 pm:

You don’t think Hansen’s geting tired of being arested over this, do you?

Nah, he’s got the routine down pat, no bother for him.
This makes what, fourth time he’s been arrested?
So why should he stop? Just one more to go, and his lawyers will give him his next defense at half off!

February 19, 2013 8:33 pm

John F. Hultquist,
“I wonder if there is a plan B?”
Human extinction?

February 19, 2013 8:43 pm

When we get to Gen IV nuclear producing fuel cell hydrogen, in 35 years, we’ll
Be on our way. This is too bad, because the atmospheric CO2 will start

February 19, 2013 8:45 pm

Ya suppose he’s beginning to wonder what his grandchildren will think of him?

Rick Bradford
February 19, 2013 8:53 pm

It’s too bad for Jimmy & The Boneheads that Mother Nature herself is now clearly a “denier”.

February 19, 2013 8:57 pm

Really Now Little Jimmy.
I will suggest for a start that you refrain from charging your ‘NY county lock-up jail time’ to your NSF grants please. ‘Giving butt to an inmate at County is not the kind of ‘OutReach’ the poor deprived and defunct old NSF had in mind now did they ever.

February 19, 2013 9:04 pm

kim says:
February 19, 2013 at 8:45 pm
Ya suppose he’s beginning to wonder what his grandchildren will think of him?
Ha ha yes
Hey Grandpappy Momma tells me you’re so famous ….. what did you do ??
I was a professional liar, political stooge, fabricator of data and climate clown.
It took about $100 million to recreate the actual temperature record. What about them apples !!!

Tom Belstler
February 19, 2013 9:05 pm

I think Hansen should have been told to cease and desist from attending demonstrations long ago. He is paid by the US taxpayer and supposed to be engaged in scientific research, also paid for by the US taxpayer. His conclusions can be expressed in published peer reviewed papers. I am not happy that I am paying for a civil disobedience campaign by a taxpayer funded bureaucrat.
If he was working for a private corporation and they found that he was out demonstrating against company policies and writing letters to the editor disparaging and attacking company policies and management he would have been out on his ear a long time ago.

February 19, 2013 9:08 pm

Warren Buffet will not be pleased if the XL pipeline is built. The oilsands production is presently rail hauled on Buffets railroad at great profit to him and his company. To lose a $7 billion a year haul might be enough for him to personally lobby against the pipeline. For some reason the Ecos think that the pipeline is needed to exploit the oilsands. They are not through thinkers. So what is new about that.pg

February 19, 2013 9:26 pm

Look. Nocera is right. It would be sheer lunacy to even imagine the Alberta tar sands will not be developed. Unless, of course, miles thick ice sheets appear over Canada before they can dig them up. If not, then these hydrocarbons WILL be burned by someone.
The alternative, for late-Holocene Homo sapiens so inclined, is to buy them and take them off the market.
Those are the 3 ends to this story.
Somebody burns them, you make a post-sentient park out of them, or they will still be available in the next interglacial, because, for lack of any other alternative hypothesis, we just didn’t figure that out in time…….

February 19, 2013 10:30 pm

Wow – Nocera has a lot of clueless readers/commenters – some of them from Eastern Canada. They should do some research on the real cause of the spread of the pine beetle in Western Canada – not climate change but poor forestry practices and unbelievable stupid “controlled” burns that sent the beetles thousands of feet into the air and over the Rockies into Alberta. Lots of papers on this that no one in government or the green side wants to admit to it but the forestry companies get it.
As for oil sands, it IS somewhat locked in although quite a lot more is already is flowing south trough modifications of existing pipelines than most people know. Many of the activist groups opposing Keystone are funded by US foundations which is in the US interest for many reasons. Completely understandable but now Canadian and multi-national companies and governments are looking at options like shipping oil to the Alaskan port of Valdez or to the Irvin Oil refineries in Nova Scotia. With the differential between what Canada is paid and world price, alternative routes or even refining product in Canada will soon become economic. The oil will flow before the ice covers it again. The loser will be the Government of the United States. But losers often don’t realize why they are losing until it is too late and the genie can’t be put back in the bottle. Now, John Kerry is in State and had a vested interest in blocking the pipeline given his relationship with Warren Buffet and Heinz foods.
The people being hurt are the producers in the Dakotas since Warren Buffet is the only carrier; the producers in Alberta who get significantly less than world price and the people of the USA who are paying higher gasoline prices than with the pipeline; and the thousands of union members who would be employed building, operating and maintaining the pipeline.
I wonder how many of those commenters on Nocera’s article have any idea how much petrochemical products they use every day. Probably none.
I remember in the early 60’s being told that a computer is nothing but “a fast idiot”. I am trying to think of an appropriate simile for these folks – “slow geniuses” maybe /sarc off

February 19, 2013 10:54 pm

I don’t understand all this talk of a pipeline through BC as an alternative to Keystone. It would be cheaper to build a pipeline across the prairies to Churchill instead. With the arctic soon to be ice free, ships would be able to transport the oil to China, Europe and the US. If the ice free arctic doesn’t materialize, they can sue NASA/GISS and HadCrut for their losses. Its a no lose proposition!

February 19, 2013 11:45 pm

I can’t work out why “real” Greenies don’t keep reminding the public that free energy from the universe is available to mankind, with no environmental damage, whenever the subject of man-made CO2 is discussed. The only reason it is not harvested is because of vested financial individuals who think that it is their right to rule over everybody. By the way man does does not produce CO2, he only RELEASES it earlier than Nature would have.

February 20, 2013 12:35 am

One can’t help wondering if Hansen is doing all (or some) of this activism whilst ostenibly on GISS time. Will we ever find out?

wayne Job
February 20, 2013 1:27 am

There is the odd few large suppliers of fuel in the world that have the technology to build refineries. They can value add on site near the tar sands and have a large supply of valuable product. I would imagine it is not beyond the capabilities of the Canadians to sell it to whom they want. I have noticed from afar that the Canadian government are not stupid in fact they are very rational, America build the pipe line or you maybe second fiddle.

Olaf Koenders
February 20, 2013 3:19 am

That settles it. Anyone with a “ban the XL pipeline” sticker or some stuff on their car should be refused petroleum products of any kind. Maybe that’ll learn ’em. They’ll have to make their own clothes out of hemp as the machinery making them out of nylons etc. need oil for their bearings, at the very least.
Oil drilling saved the whale and the auto industry saved the horse. It sounds like greenies want us to go back to squishing whales and whipping horses.
I remember greenies protesting against a hydro dam being built in Tasmania decades ago having “No Dams!” stickers on their cars. Thing is, they were on the mainland. The impact of any dam in Tasmania having no impact on the mainland at all. It’s easy to protest from afar.
If they don’t appreciate electricity, heat, fuel, clothes and medicine then they should have nothing.

Jim Cripwell
February 20, 2013 3:58 am

philincalifornia writes “Am I hallucinating ?”
No. Think about it a little. There are 5 main sources of global temeprature data; two of them based on satellites measuring temperature at 600 mbars, and three data from ground based stations. These five sources are in basic agreement. If global temperatures do not start rising soon, what can Hansen do to bias the data?; apart from nothing. And if his data shows that CAGW is not happeniong, it will be all the more believable by our politicians, The Royal Society, The American Physical Society, etc.
Yes, we need to encourage Hansen to go on keeping his temeprature data.

Alberta Slim
February 20, 2013 5:13 am

Up here in Alberta, there are conventional oil wells that are not connected to a crude oil gathering system. In these cases, the crude is trucked to the refinery.
Now, if one of those trucks crashes and there is an oil spill, the “environmentalists” demand that the affected area be immediately dug up and every last drop of contaminated soil be trucked to a soil cleaning depot, where the crude is extracted and the clean soil is put back in its original location.
Isn’t that exactly what the oil sands companies are doing right now at one of the world’s largest natural “oil spills” ?
Yet, that is a no-no.
Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Thank you.

February 20, 2013 7:11 am

Congratulate Hansen on a good point, but don’t overpromote it.
Consider “Even the Surgeon General thinks hot dogs taste good”. Does not mean the SG is backing down from recommending a high fibre diet.

john robertson
February 20, 2013 8:16 am

Ridicule is the only response for these loonies, using the truth to ridicule their hypocrisy even more fun;
The Athabasca Bitumen deposit being the biggest natural oil spill known to man.
The Peace and Athabasca Rivers flow through this deposit any contaminants collected get carried through the Mackenzie River to the Beaufort Sea.
Oil is modern civilization, if you truly protest oil use, stop using it yourself.
If a minor fuel spill must be cleaned up in panic, as the authorities now insist with diesel fuel home heating tanks, why and how could the oil sands be exempt?\
In the emotive terms of the eco-…….: We Canadians are cleaning up Gods Oil Spill, What you want to prevent us cleaning up an oil spill? What kind of planet hating never-do-well would want us to stop?

Steve Oregon
February 20, 2013 9:26 am

Anthony summed up the AGW “campaign” in two words..
Purposefully mendacious.
Someone else here made a point here which is my second favorite.
Something about how the alarmists have been relying upon constant attributions of observations to warming that has not yet occurred.

February 20, 2013 9:41 am

S. Borenstein had a post recently on what’s really behind the push to prevent Keystone.
“Let’s face it. The opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline isn’t about dirty oil. It’s about oil. James Hansen and the other leading opponents focus on the GHGs that will be released when all of the oil in the Canadian tar sands (Canada’s relabeling as “oil sands” just hasn’t stuck with me) is extracted, refined, and consumed in vehicles and other uses.
Sure, on a lifecycle basis getting your oil from the
oil sands creates 14%-20% more greenhouse gases than from the average source. But the bottom line is that saving 14%-20% of GHGs on what will never account for more than 5% of world oil supply isn’t going to change world GHG emissions by even 0.5% in any year. (Remember that crude is less than half of GHG emissions.)”……………..

February 20, 2013 10:32 am

“Yes, I know, the merits of continuing the Killing Fields may be dubious, but Pol Pot is working his butt off so hard that I can’t refuse.” – Brother number 5 James Hansen
“Yes, I know, the merits of continuing the death camp operations may be dubious, but Himmler is working his butt off so hard that I can’t refuse.” – Reichsführer-SS James Hansen
“Yes, I know, the merits of this Marxist Agitation may be dubious, but Bill is working his butt off so hard that I can’t refuse.” – Useful Idiot James Hansen
Can we also expect, that when he finally recants years after he retires, that he will defend his actions by claiming that he was just following orders? Or that he saw nothing, and was unaware of what was actually going on?
Hansen = a fool, an imbecile of the first order, and a cruel joke.

February 20, 2013 10:44 am

The comments at the original NYT article and disinformation spouted there by ignorant eco activist New Yorkers is appalling.

February 20, 2013 4:22 pm

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
Is there some organization that could help restore Dr,John Daly pages?

February 21, 2013 5:12 pm

Is there some organization that could help restore Dr,John Daly pages?
All pages are available here:

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