Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

Hansen, Suzuki & Greenpeace

Last week I discussed the Worldwatch Institute’s admiration for James Hansen’s alleged courage. It seems to me that courage is displayed by people who swim against the tide, who struggle to communicate new ideas rather than delivering age-old, hellfire and brimstone messages.

On the one hand Worldwatch was declaring, back in 1988, that:

Most scientists agree that a global warming is under way, caused by the accumulation of “greenhouse gases” due primarily to fossil fuel use…

On the other hand, in 2009 it was implying that Hansen’s 1988 testimony before Congress was daring. If most scientists already agreed with him how could that have been the case? One or the other of these statements has to be wrong.

In any event, I pointed out that Hansen has been handsomely rewarded for his views. Between 2001 and 2010 he pocketed $683,000 in assorted prize money. That’s on top of the salary he receives from his NASA day job.

I speculated that, since Hansen has held a senior position there for years, he must be well compensated. Thanks to reader GR, we now know that this is the case. This website reveals that Hansen’s 2008 annual rate of pay was $152,220.

Who said selling doom and gloom isn’t lucrative?

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Environmentalist David Suzuki made some distressing remarks in an interview recently:

My wife and I huddle at night and weep for our helplessness. We are losing big-time and I’m enough of a scientist to see we are heading right down the tube. Judging by the past twenty years, we are going backward.

A thoughtful response appears at ClimateQuotes.com. The writer, a young man with a young family, has a message for Suzuki:

You’ve overestimated the dangers which lie before us, and you’ve underestimated our capabilities. Please, don’t assume you are one of the enlightened few that could have saved me and my generation…

Like this writer, I’m also puzzled. Why does Suzuki have so little faith? Why does he assume that future generations won’t be able to take care of themselves?

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One of the ugliest books about the climate debate is Ross Gelbspan’s 1997 The Heat is On. It’s an early example of the kind of simple-minded, comic book “journalism” that paints activist climate scientists as saints and skeptical scientists as industry stooges.

So it was with some interest that I read yesterday about a Greenpeace student training program. The application deadline is May 16th, and interested parties are advised:

You will receive training by some of the best professional activists in the environmental movement…

If one clicks on the More about trainers link one discovers that, among these professional activist trainers, is…come on down…Mr. Ross Gelbspan.

Indeed.

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h/t Tom Nelson

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