"James Hansen, one of the world's leading climate scientists, will today callIf anyone ever harbored any lingering idea that the motives of the global warming advocates could be honest, this should dispel it.
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 "
Hansen isn't satisfied with just the heads of the oil companies on a pike. For everyone else, if you read on, he wants them muzzled, gagged and forced to obey at the point of a gun:
"His sharpest words are reserved for the special interests he blames for publicTruly, it doesn't get much more evil than this. Dishonest alone doesn't quite capture what this man is. Floyd Ferris, meet your spiritual brother. And yet... James Taggart also comes to mind, when, in Atlas Shrugged, Taggart, the altruist and humanitarian, and Ferris, the arch-government scientist, are electrocuting John Galt, trying to make him obey, to think for them, to save the country. When the electric torture machine suddenly breaks down, and Galt -- the man being tortured -- tells them how to fix it, Taggart teeters on the verge of insanity:
confusion about the nature of the global warming threat. "The problem is not
political will, it's the alligator shoes -- the lobbyists. It's the fact that
money talks in Washington, and that democracy is not working the way it's
intended to work." "
"... I'll work it myself! We've got to go on! We've got to break him!"
"Take it easy, Jim," said Ferris uneasily, jerking him up to his feet. "Hadn't we... hadn't we better lay off for the night?" said Mouch pleadingly; he was looking at the door through which the mechanic had escaped, his glance part-envy, part-terror.
"No!" cried Taggart.
"Jim, hasn't he had enough? Don't forget, we have to be
"No! He hasn't had enough! He hasn't even screamed yet!"
"Jim!" cried Mouch suddenly, terrified by something in Taggart's face. "We can't afford to kill him! You know it!"
"I don't care! I want to break him! I want to hear him scream! I want--"
And then it was Taggart who screamed. It was a long, sudden, piercing scream, as if at some sudden sight, though his eyes were staring at space and seemed blankly sightless. The sight he was confronting was within him. The protective walls of emotion, of evasion, of pretense, of semi-thinking and pseudo-words, built up by him through all of his years, had crashed in the span of one moment-the moment when he knew that he wanted Galt to die, knowing fully that his own death would follow.
He was suddenly seeing the motive that had directed all the actions of his life. It was not his incommunicable soul or his love for others or his social duty or any of the fraudulent sounds by which he had maintained his self-esteem: it was the lust to destroy whatever was living, for the sake of whatever was not. It was the urge to defy reality by the destruction of every living value, for the sake of proving to himself that he could exist in defiance of reality and would never have to be bound by any solid, immutable facts. A moment ago, he had been able to feel that he hated Galt above all men, that the hatred was proof of Galt's evil, which he need define no further, that he wanted Galt to be destroyed for the sake of his own survival. Now he knew that he had wanted Galt's destruction at the price of his own destruction to follow, he knew that he had never wanted to survive, he knew that it was Galt's greatness he had wanted to torture and destroy--he was seeing, it as greatness by his own admission, greatness by the only standard that existed, whether anyone chose to admit it or not: the greatness of a man who was master of reality in a manner no other had equaled.
In the moment when he, James Taggart, had found himself facing the ultimatum: to accept reality or die, it was death his emotions had chosen, death, rather than surrender to that realm of which Galt was so radiant a son. In the person of Galt--he knew--he had sought the destruction of all existence.
It was not by means of words that this knowledge confronted his consciousness: as all his knowledge had consisted of emotions, so now he was held by an emotion and a vision that he had no power to dispel. He was no longer able to summon the fog to conceal the sight of all those blind alleys he had struggled never to be forced to see: now, at the end of every alley, he was seeing his hatred of existence--he was seeing the face of Cherryl Taggart with her joyous eagerness to live and that it was this particular eagerness he had always wanted to defeat--he was seeing his face as the face of a killer whom all men should rightfully loathe, who destroyed values for being values, who killed in order not to discover his own irredeemable evil.
"No..." he moaned, staring at that vision, shaking his head to escape it. "No... No... "
Put oil firm chiefs on trial, says leading climate change scientist
Speech to US Congress will also criticise lobbyists·
'Revolutionary' policies needed to tackle crisis
Ed Pilkington in New York
Monday June 23, 2008
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.
Hansen will use the symbolically charged 20th anniversary of his groundbreaking speech to the US Congress -- in which he was among the first to sound the alarm over the reality of global warming - to argue that radical steps need to be taken immediately if the "perfect storm" of irreversible climate change is not to become inevitable.
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. Hansen's speech to Congress on June 23 1988 is seen as a seminal moment in bringing the threat of global warming to the public's attention. At a time when most scientists were still hesitant to speak out, he said the evidence of the greenhouse gas effect was 99% certain, adding "it is time to stop waffling".
He will tell the House select committee on energy independence and global warming this afternoon that he is now 99% certain that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has already risen beyond the safe level.
The current concentration is 385 parts per million and is rising by 2ppm a year. Hansen, who heads Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, says 2009 will be a crucial year, with a new US president and talks on how to follow the Kyoto agreement.
He wants to see a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, coupled with the creation of a huge grid of low-loss electric power lines buried under ground and spread across America, in order to give wind and solar power a chance of competing. "The new US president would have to take the initiative analogous to Kennedy's decision to go to the moon."
His sharpest words are reserved for the special interests he blames for public confusion about the nature of the global warming threat. "The problem is not political will, it's the alligator shoes -- the lobbyists. It's the fact that money talks in Washington, and that democracy is not working the way it's intended to work."
A group seeking to increase pressure on international leaders is launching a campaign today called 350.org. It is taking out full-page adverts in papers such as the New York Times and the Swedish Falukuriren calling for the target level of CO2 to be lowered to 350ppm. The advert has been backed by 150 signatories, including Hansen.