By James Hansen: I Don’t Think I’m an Alarmist

Here is an interview with James Hansen, the world’s leading climate scientist. It’s an intelligent and thoughtful interview until, as usual, Hansen’s final statement:

The one thing, which is most important, is the assertion by the fossil fuel industry and the people who support them, that it would be expensive to solve the problem, is absolutely wrong. There have been economic studies that show if you add a gradually rising fee to fossil fuels, by collecting a fee on fossil fuel companies at the source, the domestic mine, or port of entry, and if you distribute the money to the public, an equal amount to all legal residents, it would actually spur the economy. It would increase the gross domestic product and add millions of jobs. We need to have such a common sense solution, which is revenue neutral, so it doesn’t make the government bigger. Instead of proposing taxes or regulations that conservatives will fight tooth and nail, we should find an approach that both liberals and conservatives would be willing to support. That’s what needs to be understood, that it’s not painful to solve this problem if we are smart, but we have to think this through.

It is remarkable that a really smart scientist could believe something so obviously wrong, and something that conflicts with the laws of thermodynamics that all scientists must bow to.

And why did the interviewer not point out the obvious errors in this statement? After all, she questioned everything else in an intelligent manner. That is, the interviewer questioned everything except the thing that really mattered.

This is so BIG and so COMMON an error that we need a BIG explanation.

I think it has to be evolved denial.

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