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Monday, June 23, 2008

Another Day, Another Cultist

At Democratic Underground they are discussing Hansen's statement to The Guardian:
Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse the chief executive officers of companies such as ExxonMobil and Peabody Energy of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.

In an interview with the Guardian he said: "When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that's a crime."

He is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated.
I don't have a problem with the political campaigning - if he believes it, he should have the right to advocate it. However he is a government employee, and he'd better not be using government resources for this. I have a hard problem believing that Hansen actually said the following:
James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
Read the NY Times story for a calmer depiction of Hansen's views. The Guardian better have proof that Hansen said this!

DU believes he did, though, and a hot debate breaks out. Best comment IMO:
4. That worked so well during the Inquisition

So let's do it again!!!

The critical quote: "...I think that's a crime." As a legal theory, the rule that "if James Hansen thinks it's a crime, then it is," has a few shortcomings.

Criminalizing speech would be the actual crime. The Bill of Rights has to protect everyone, even (or especially) the assholes, or you might as well wad it up and throw it away.

That Hansen said this indicates his outlook has moved from scientific towards religious. Persecution of nonbelievers is a defining religious indicator.
Well, actually, I haven't seen the Pope demanding that those who are sure that God doesn't exist be put on trial. That's why I think this brand of climate science is a cult. It's not just a religion, it's a cult. And on DU, there are some true believers:
7. We're talking about CRIMES against humanity, the planet - billions of lives are at stake

Spreading doubt about climate change IS a crime, IMHO. Climate change is a PROVEN FACT, and unless we take immediate steps to rein it in, will kill BILLIONS of people over the next century. That doesn't even begin to take into account the countless species that will become EXTINCT.

This isn't about free speech. The time for debate is OVER, there is no more debate - how can you debate something that is a proven scientific fact? But unlike the "debate" over evolution, this one is going to have deadly consequences.
Darned if I know whether to laugh or cry. Hundreds of years of the Enlightenment dumped in one fell swoop.

Maybe there will be a transcript to which we can refer for the real story. I've explained as simply as possible why I believe the IPCC runaway CO2-forced warming theory is falsified, but I'd never claim that people who disagree with me should be tried for crimes against humanity!!!

I really have major doubts that The Guardian is reporting accurately.

"Researchers have also identified other new patterns of extreme weather phenomenon.

"It's not getting as cold at night as it did in earlier decades
There are fewer nights with frosts
Extreme rain
Extreme heat
Increasing frequency of tropical storms
Stronger and more frequent hurricanes

"Heavy downpours are now more common in northern states, and rainfall could quadruple by the end of the century -- plaguing other parts of the country with drought. "When it rains, it rains harder," says the director of the National Climatic Data Center, "and when it's not raining, it's warmer — there is more evaporation, and droughts can last longer."

"And the AP reports the researcher's conclusion that we're already feeling some of the effects -- that "The Southwestern drought that began in 1999 is beginning to rival some of the greatest droughts on record including those of the 1930s and 1950s."

"And the evidence is pointing to global warming.

"Who are the environmental extremists behind this study?

"It's the Department of Defense, the Department of State, NASA, the Department of Transportation, U.S. Geological Survey, Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of Energy, and The Smithsonian Institution."
Yeah, yeah. Listen, when "extreme weather phenomenon" are the best evidence one can summon up for global warming, the case is very weak.

It turns out Hansen did say this and some other things. He may be losing it, because he's close to violating the Hatch Act.
Well, it's the wrong argument.

Why do the loudest but dimmest bulbs find their way onto front pages with their "everyone knows" screeds, while the basic research exposing the buffoonery has to be winkled out? I have some confidence the supportable, correct analysis will eventually prevail, though the balance looks to be very much with the CO2 footprint crowd at the moment.

What makes this particularly galling is that CO2 loads do present a set of very disagreeable outcomes at present and projected levels. Just not global warming per ce. As I noted some weeks ago, if we succeed in reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, that success may well arrive at a time when plunging temperatures provide cause for us to regret it. Ah, well, we may save some crustaceans and give ocean acidity a break.

Interestingly - and if the solar cyclical data pans out - the restoration of arctic permafrost should curtail new CO2 loading rather promptly. All that rotting vegetation, lately thawed and thawing, adds a substantial atmospheric carbon dioxide load at present.
Increasing frequency of tropical storms
Stronger and more frequent hurricanes

You know, I heard the same thing as a kid, with the addition of "more frequent earthquakes".

It was from the Jehovah's Witnesses, Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God, and Hal Lindsay's End Time Prophecy fanboys.

All trying to PROVE! that The End Is Near. (As one "child evangelist" of the time put it, "ALL THE PROPHECIES ARE BEING FULFILLED! CHRIST IS COMING SOON! WE MIGHT NOT HAVE A 1978! OR EVEN A 1977!"

It is now 2008.

-- Headless Unicorn Guy
I also have a very difficult time to believe that the Guardian is reporting this correctly. It seems off somehow. I am sure you will post if you find out something differently.

I am glad though that people are seeing this whole climate thing for what it is now. This nonsense has been going on way too long. But charging them for crimes against humanity? I don't know about that!
Let's combine the last couple of threads and lets assume that the president gets to decide who is an unlawful combatant or terrorist without the right of trial, the election of a new president who believes that global warming is a threat to the US and anyone who opposes it is harming the US and tosses all the global warming deniers into getmo as unlawful combatants and terrorists.

We end up with a repeat of history where the new folks in power release their folks from prison and put their enemies in.

I always find it rather strange that folks on the right want so much government control forgetting that things change.

The way I see it, folks on the right want to be able to control the bad guys. Folks on the left don't want there to be any bad guys, but they are sure willing to control everyone to have their way (Mark Steyn judged by a Star Chamber, courts telling a parent he can't keep his daughter home from a school trip, etc.)
Anon - it's already well-established that the president (or anybody) doesn't get the right to decide who is an unlawful combatant, so that's a straw man. The decision I wrote about is about people picked up overseas. I think most people would be against anyone taking away access to the civil courts for individuals caught in crimes of violence within US territory.

However your central point is at least somewhat valid. You can't criminalize opinion, because it makes society go nutso.

Of course you can criminalize acts of violence. Let us hope such acts remain crimes. In any case, it should be of concern to everyone to keep the system of checks and balances to authority in place, because stuff like Hansen's babble just shows the danger.
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