Legendary climate activist James Hansen has cut loose at everyone over their climate failings, and has not spared politicians whom he says are “fraudulently” claiming to be taking climate action. But James Hansen’s rant sheds light on an unlikely figure who took a final opportunity to do the right thing.
Ex-Nasa scientist: 30 years on, world is failing ‘miserably’ to address climate change
While Donald Trump and many conservatives like to argue that climate change is a hoax, James Hansen, the 77-year-old former Nasa climate scientist, said in an interview at his home in New York that the relevant hoax today is perpetrated by those leaders claiming to be addressing the problem.
Hansen’s long list of culprits for this inertia are both familiar – the nefarious lobbying of the fossil fuel industry – and surprising. Jerry Brown, the progressive governor of California, and the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, are “both pretending to be solving the problem” while being unambitious and shunning low-carbon nuclear power, Hansen argues.
There is particular scorn for Barack Obama. Hansen says in a scathing upcoming book that the former president “failed miserably” on climate change and oversaw policies that were “late, ineffectual and partisan”.
Hansen even accuses Obama of passing up the opportunity to thwart Donald Trump’s destruction of US climate action, by declining to settle a lawsuit the scientist, his granddaughter and 20 other young people are waging against the government, accusing it of unconstitutionally causing peril to their living environment.
“Near the end of his administration the US said it would reduce emissions 80% by 2050,” Hansen said.
“Our lawsuit demands a reduction of 6% a year so I thought, ‘That’s close enough, let’s settle the lawsuit.’ We got through to Obama’s office but he decided against it. It was a tremendous opportunity. This was after Trump’s election, so if we’d settled it quickly the US legally wouldn’t be able to do the absurd things Trump is doing now by opening up all sorts of fossil fuel sources.”
For once I agree with James Hansen – if President Obama had done what James Hansen had asked, President Trump’s task of dismantling the green tangle ensnaring US enterprise would have been that much harder.
Why did President Obama hesitate? Was he secretly a climate skeptic all along, who at the final challenge couldn’t bring himself to commit the USA to economic ruin? Or was he rattled by all the accusations that he was attempting to sabotage President Trump’s term of office?
Whatever the truth, when President Trump finally manages to liberate the USA from the clutches of the green monster, amongst all the others we shall have one unlikely politician to thank – former President Obama, who in the final days of his Presidency chose not to thwart the will of the American people.
Update (EW) – h/t Dr. Willie Soon, Mann tweets in defence of Governor Jerry Brown
I admire James Hansen but his attacks on @JerryBrownGov are unfair. Brown is a hero on climate.
There are honest differences of opinion on the role of nuclear in the transition from fossil fuels (I myself am skeptical). I think Jim owes Gov an apology!https://t.co/WCXIkuEw0I
— Michael E. Mann (@MichaelEMann) June 19, 2018