Hansen Says GW Skeptics Should Be Tried

Published August 1, 2008

NASA astronomer James Hansen, one of the most visible and vocal proponents of alarmist global warming theory, has called for criminal trials against scientists, corporate executives, and public policy advocates who disagree with him.

Saying skeptics of global warming alarmism are guilty of “crimes against humanity”–the same charge leveled against notorious mass murderers Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and high-ranking Nazis in the Nuremburg trials–Hansen bemoaned the “natural skepticism and debates embedded in the scientific process.”

Hansen made his remarks, quoted in the UK Register, a day before he appeared at an informal Capitol Hill briefing and addressed a media event hosted by the Worldwatch Institute, an environmental activist group.


At the June 23 Worldwatch Institute event commemorating the 20-year anniversary of his first appearance before Congress, Hansen made several scientifically dubious predictions he alleged were more than 99 percent certain to happen. Disagreeing with Hansen on any of these would apparently justify criminal prosecution and a potential death sentence.

Dubious Predictions

Hansen claimed immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is necessary to prevent “the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dramatically out of humanity’s control.” The world’s leading climate scientists disagree.

According to a 2005 survey of more than 500 of the world’s leading climate scientists, by German scientists Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, only a minority believe “assuming climate change will occur, it will occur so suddenly that a lack of preparation could result in devastation of some areas of the world.”

Hansen asserted the Western Antarctic represents an “ominous tipping point” for global warming because its ice sheets are vulnerable to melting. In its most recent climate assessment, however, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicted Antarctica will actually gain ice this century.

Hansen repeated his assertion, first made 20 years ago, that global warming is causing more droughts. Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have come to the opposite conclusion.

For example, the May 25, 2006 Geophysical Research Letters reports for twentieth century soil moisture trends, “An increasing trend is apparent in both model soil moisture and runoff over much of the U.S.” The study adds, “This wetting trend is consistent with the general increase in precipitation in the latter half of the 20th century. Droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the country over the last century.”

Where’s the Warming?

Hansen’s global warming alarmism has been further undermined by real-world temperature data, measured by NASA satellites, showing essentially no warming in the 20 years since his initial testimony. Meteorologist Joe D’Aleo, executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), published the accompanying chart of the Earth’s temperature, measured by NASA.

Criminalizing Prosperity

“James Hansen, like Al Gore, is in the forefront of seeking for the first time in U.S. history a public policy of denying future generations the prosperity, personal liberties, and lifespan of the current generation,” said Robert Ferguson, president of the Science and Public Policy Institute. “The effective public policy outcome being urged by those two, in the name of a contrived ‘planetary emergency,’ boils down to the criminalization of the American Dream and the deaths of millions in the underdeveloped nations.

“Not just our economy but our entire civilization is based on abundant, inexpensive energy,” Ferguson added. “Currently, only fossil fuels can safely provide this, and Hansen advocates criminalization of it all.”

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is a senior fellow of The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.

For more information …

Konstantinos M. Andreadis and Dennis P. Lettenmaier, “Trends in 20th century drought over the continental United States,” Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 33, L10403: http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2006/2006GL025711.shtml

Scientific Consensus on Global Warming, The Heartland Institute: http://heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=20731