Pre-Eminent Climate Scientist James Hansen Calls Paris Deal a ‘Fraud’; John Kerry Begs to DifferDon't count climate scientist James Hansen among those joining the back-slapping brigade following the conclusion of the COP21 climate change summit near Paris.
Don’t count climate scientist James Hansen among those joining the back-slapping brigade following the conclusion of the COP21 climate change summit near Paris.
Although the agreement produced by attending nations at COP21 has been widely heralded as a game-changer, at least on paper, Hansen, a retired NASA scientist and climate change activist, pointedly disagreed in an interview with The Guardian posted Saturday:
“It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.”
The talks, intended to reach a new global deal on cutting carbon emissions beyond 2020, have spent much time and energy on two major issues: whether the world should aim to contain the temperature rise to 1.5C or 2C above preindustrial levels, and how much funding should be doled out by wealthy countries to developing nations that risk being swamped by rising seas and bashed by escalating extreme weather events.
But, according to Hansen, the international jamboree is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions aren’t taxed across the board. He argues that only this will force down emissions quickly enough to avoid the worst ravages of climate change.
Hansen, 74, has just returned from Paris where he again called for a price to be placed on each tonne of carbon from major emitters (he’s suggested a “fee” – because “taxes scare people off” – of $15 a tonne that would rise $10 a year and bring in $600bn in the US alone). There aren’t many takers, even among “big green” as Hansen labels environment groups.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering his strategic role in securing the agreement at COP21, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry countered Hansen’s argument during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday (via The Guardian):
“Look, I have great respect for Jim Hansen and I was there in 1988 when he first warned everybody climate change was happening,” the secretary of state said.
“But with all due respect to him, I understand the criticisms of the agreement because it doesn’t have a mandatory scheme and it doesn’t have a compliance enforcement mechanism. That’s true.
“But we have 186 countries, for the first time in history, all submitting independent plans that they have laid down, which are real, for reducing emissions.
“And what it does, in my judgment, more than anything else, there is a uniform standard of transparency. And therefore, we will know what everybody is doing.
–Posted by Kasia AndersonWait, before you go…
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