Kudos to James Hansen for once again having the courage to say what others are afraid to even think.
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.
That’s right, Hansen, the self-proclaimed “moderate conservative” is calling on Congress to put oil and gas companies CEO on trial for the crime of knowingly lying to the public about the danger that Climaticide poses for billions of the world’s population and at least half her species of flora and fauna. In other words for attempting to block action on a global holocaust.
Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, will testify before Congress today on the 20th anniversary of his historic, groundbreaking testimony to Congress. Analysis of those remarks here. Full text of Hansen’s 1988 remarks here (PDF).
Over the last two decades Hansen has gone from being a reluctant public figure to a committed climate activist. While continuing to carry out his scientific research, he has become increasingly outspoken despite attempts by the Bush administration to muzzle him (and many of his colleagues.) See Mark Bowen’s book Censoring Science for the full story. Also check out this NPR interview with Hansen and Bowen.
Last Friday Hansen set down with Dot Earth’s Andy Revkin to discuss his historic testimony and the urgent need for action to stop Climaticide now.
So, will Hansen’s call for a Nuremberg for oil and coal CEO’s actually lead to trials? Not likely, not right away, given Congress’s inability to stop the Iraq War, protect the constitution, or hold telecoms accountable for their crimes, but it is a good thing to start talking about. Our current situation is dire and it is time to take off the kid gloves (the Climaticide denialists have had theirs off for decades now).
Let the CEO’s and their denialist minions bluster, threaten and whine. But let them sweat a little too because this is just the beginning. Once again, James Hansen is out in front, but others will soon follow. Allow me to be one of the first to express support:
Put the bastards on trial on national television. If they are found guilty, lock them up until hell freezes over, or better yet until we get back down to 350ppm, the ice stops melting, and billions of people ceased to be threatened by increased flooding, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, and famine.
Unless we act as quickly and dramatically as Hansen suggests, Climaticide will impose cruel and unusual punishment on us and our descendants for many, many generations to come.
UPDATE: Here is a link to Dr. Hansen’s prepared remarks–Global Warming 20 Years Later: Tipping Points Near (PDF and PowerPoint) given today, June 23, 2008 to The National Press Club and The House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming.