Hansen in the New York Times

Update (Jan 30 6pm): Rep. Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee has weighed in.

Update (Feb 4): Hansen is interviewed at length on NPR’s “On point”.

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105 comments on this post.
  1. Steve Sadlov:

    RE: #100.

    What is your operational definition of profligate uses of energy? Where would you draw the line? Who should draw the line?

  2. Tom Fiddaman:

    Re 101

    Well, a year or two I sat at an airport watching front end loaders dump bucket after bucket of snow into a steaming machine that melted it and ran it down the drain. That struck me as profligate, but maybe it’s actually efficient in the grand scheme of things. Therefore I wouldn’t presume to be the arbiter of profligacy; I’d just like to see the value of climate effects, local air pollution, depletion, etc. internalized into energy prices so that people can make their own decisions about what’s profligate or productive without pushing off hidden costs on others.

    I’d also note that the cooling is only medium term (from orbital forcing); in the longer run the sun will go red giant and fry the earth to a cinder well before the entropic death of the universe cools things down again.

  3. Joel Shore:

    As Keynes said, in the long run we’re all dead anyway. Seriously, while it makes sense to worry about things that might occur over time scales of a few to several generations, I don’t see it as reasonable to prepare for things that will occur on timescales of hundreds of millions to billions of years…Or, more to the point, to use that as an excuse to do nothing about problems that will affect us over the next few generations. That has to be one of the most bizarre excuses that I have heard for not facing up to the current climate change issue!

  4. Hank Roberts:

    > energy prices so that people can make their own decisions
    > about what’s profligate or productive without pushing off
    > hidden costs on others.

    That’s why we need government — otherwise those externalized costs remain hidden, because the people they harm aren’t part of our political circle.

    Everyone lives downstream and downwind, but voting and pricing and marketing draw small circles and put as many costs as possible outside the circle of attention.

    Warming and pollution and ozone loss and health concerns are all among the external costs not recognized by markets.

  5. science bistro / the culture of science:

    Climate expert says NASA tried to silence him
    Climate expert was pressured to zip it after releasing 2005-warmest-year-of-last-century info.