Hansen Draws Daggers on Copenhagen

December 3, 2009

World-renowned climate denier James Hansen expresses his hope that Copenhagen fails. As noted in the article, he “disagrees violently” with Copenhagen.

Hear that? Violently. (!) Nothing will stop this dangerous man. To confuse matters, Hansen is now using a tool of the radical left: “no compromise.”

There’s no room for compromise, Hansen says.

“This is analogous to the issue of slavery faced by Abraham Lincoln or the issue of Nazism faced by Winston Churchill. 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%.”

The climate change issue is, indeed, exactly like Nazism and slavery. Following this logic, Hansen supports a carbon tax… because, as we know, a carbon tax would reduce carbon emissions 100%.

Intent to bury Hansen’s unique blend of reactionary-radicalism, cynics in the media uncover yet another nefarious plot to sell books:

Whether or not Hansen’s call for the Copenhagen talks to fail is as effective as environmentalist George Monbiot’s recent call for another leading climate change researcher to step down, the timing of his outburst is not inconvenient: his first book, Storms of my Grandchildren, comes out next week.

File under: Media ass-clowns, inapt analogies, and one more reason that scientists ought not moonlight as ethicists.



  1. Zealots cannot compromise.

    In an effort to ratchet up the pressure Hanson goes over the top with his declaration of no compromise.

    Hanson would rather see Copenhagen fail then be sullied with the reality of political compromise.

    If carbon levels do come out of Copenhagen, they will certainly be a lot smaller than the 40% of 1990 levels the developing countries want – probably 1/4 to 1/2 of that.

    James Hanson, on this issue, kind of reminds me of the health care debate.

    40 house members have declared they will not vote for the package if it has a public option in it.

    40 house members have declared they will not vote for the package if it does not have a public option in it.

    Of course, there will be a compromise eventually, both on climate change and health care.

    Most skeptics believe that the temperature will rise another 1 to 1.2 degrees C by 2100 – but not 4-6 degrees C.

    In the end, the reduction of carbon output will happen naturally, as we run out of oil and natural gas, and replace these power sources with Nuclear, solar, wind and other power sources.

    I am not that worried.

    I am a skeptic (but not a denier!).

    • RickA,

      Out of curiosity, why do you believe average surface temperatures will rise by 1 – 1.2 deg C by 2100?

      Incidentally, given Hansen’s forecasts, I think it would very odd for him to suggest compromise. How could he in the same breath think GCC is catastrophic unless drastic measures are undertaken and settle for mediocre measures? It strikes me as consistent.


    • We may run out of oil and natural gas, but we aren’t running out of coal for much longer.

  2. Nah, Rick, you’re a denier. Be proud.

    • Steve:

      I don’t like the “denier” label. I don’t deny that the climate changes. I don’t deny that we have experienced around .74C increase in temperature since 1900. I don’t deny that it will get warmer in the future.

      I just quibble with how much warmer it will get.

      I just don’t think we can be as certain about how much warmer it will get by 2100 as some. I don’t think the models are accurate – because they are not modeling all the variables, and not modeling some things correctly. I don’t think the climate sensitivity number is right, because I don’t think there is positive feedback.

      I think a low number (like 1.3C) is closer to correct for 2100 than the high numbers (like 6C) that you see.

      I see paper after paper which indicates that the models are not correct, and I am sure that as time goes on they will get more accurate. They are just not accurate at the moment.

      I just saw a paper which indicates that the relationship between O18 isotope and temperature is non-linear and therefore the peak interglacial temperature of Antartictic is probably 6C higher than present, rather than the 3C higher they obtain using a linear result.

      So probably all ice core data is being interpreted slightly off and it has probably been warmer in the past than we thought.

      That in turn probably changes the “tipping point” computation (which I am also skeptical of).

      I don’t trust the tree ring data or the way the sediment data is being used.

      I also saw that in Mann’s new paper, that even he indicates the models are not correctly modeling the relationship between the tropic regions and the NH, in particular during the MWP and LIA.

      Even Mann admits that during the MWP – some regions were warmer than today (although he still maintains that the MWP was cooler than today globally).

      If it was warmer than today in regions of the world – and CO2 was only 280 ppm then – why isn’t it possible that the warming of today isn’t largely natural – and not largely due to CO2?

      If it started warming right after the LIA, but CO2 levels didn’t start rising until much later – why isn’t it ok to be skeptical that CO2 is causing the temperature increase?

      So – it is ok to be skeptical, IMO.

      So – what am I denying?

      Calling somebody a denier is just name-calling – and not helpful, IMO.

      Jay and Ben are much more polite.

      • RickA,

        I don’t have time to discuss the feedback issue or climate sensitivity, but let me inquire about one thing.

        Suppose I were to grant that 1.3C is approximately the correct amount of average warming that will occur by 2100. Clearly, there is uncertainty around that projection and thus it may be lower or greater. Would you then agree we should prepare for lower or greater temperature increases (a decision under uncertainty)?

        Simply put, rational action regarding GCC doesn’t require that we assume Hansen scenarios will occur so much as there is a non-negligible probability that they will. If so, then we should prepare for them. Of course, we would have to look at the policy particulars – but all things being considered I think it would prudent to prepare as if it were going to occur.


      • Rick, you’re a denier because most of those points have easy answers that you refuse to acknowledge. Let’s do one:

        You say that you don’t think there’s a positive feedback (getting this directly or indirectly from Lindzen, I assume). Had you noticed that the people making this argument avoid considering paleoclimate? That’s because a significant positive feedback from CO2 is needed to explain the glaciations, and indeed to explain the Pliocene warm period (the only major distinction between that nearly ice-free climate state and the glacial one we’re in the process of ending being higher CO2).

        Oh, re that 6C Antarctic paleotemperature (which will need confirmation, BTW), you do realize that if correct it implies a much higher transient sensitivity? And you must also know that such a thing is Hansen’s worst fear, right?

      • The sensitivity really has nothing to do with the hockey stick paleo studies. Next thing is I’m going to hear that because the hockey stick is false, it proves that Kennedy wasn’t shot by a lone gunman. Really, it just isn’t that central to anything, whatever you think about it.

        Sensitivity has more to do with the models, but isn’t dependent on them either. The current IPCC figures are pretty close to what has been known and generally accepted since 1894 regarding sensitivity. The point being that you can get it straight from the physics without any GCM models because it is a global average. The models back the physics. As does the ice age paleo that Steve referred to.

        Sure, there’s some uncertainty to it, but just dumping all feedback doesn’t make much sense because there is so much physical evidence for it.

      • Jay – sure I think we should plan for say a 1.5C increase in temperature by 2100.

        To me – that does not require the immediate switch from coal to something else – like Hanson called for.

        Research on alternative energy is warranted – but forcing massive populations to spend more money on energy has consequences which also need to be taken into account.

        I would like to see some science looking at the costs and looking at the benefits, before we agree to lower our CO2 emissions 40 % below 1990 levels.

      • Steve:

        Here is a physics forum page which discusses positive CO2 feedback, and which seems to question whether the evidence really shows this:


        I do confess that I do not understand this issue very well and will have to do some more reading on it.

        We are talking about positive feedback of just CO2 and not positive feedback in the entire climate system – correct?

      • Well, Rick, there we have some apparently unqualified guy purporting to have overturned CO2 positive feedback using a simple model. Eh. Among other things, he ignores the well-known fact that while CO2 plays a key role in the glacial cycles, it’s far from the only feedback in play. IIRC the ice albedo feedback does more of the work, and let’s not forget the carbon cycle feedbacks. An important thing to bear in mind is that a strong GHG effect is needed for this planet to not be an iceball. That’s *really* basic physics.

        I think I gave you a link recently to Hansen et al’s “Target CO2” paper. I suggest you read it.

        Speaking of “Andre,” I noticed this comment from someone else there:

        “My take is you just want to become famous by exposing a false scientific assumption. I am just speculating here based on the subjects of most of your threads. You have threads and posts about a conspiracy to supress CO2 measurements, accusing scientists of not knowing BC from BP, challenging the interpretation isotope proxies, 10,000 year old cities buried under glaciers, to challenging the basic science underlying the greenhouse effect.”

        He’s a busy guy, that Andre. Caveat lector.

  3. James Hansen is the Bart Stupak of climate change?

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