NASA's Hansen Rails Against Coal At Fringe Left-Wing Event

      It was a night filled with anti-corporate protests, anti-Bush comments, folk songs and the president of the Hip-Hop Caucus bellowing about America’s “illegal war” in Iraq. Welcome to the 2nd Annual “Climate Super Rally” featuring NASA’s Dr. James E. Hansen.

     “Our addiction to oil has caused millions to be displaced,” liberal activist Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr. said, one of the event’s speakers. “And thousands – close to millions to lose their lives in this illegal war.”

     Not exactly typical climate change rhetoric. But Hansen was one of three headliners and his message was designed for the “super rally.” He played to crowd and said the battle was the fossil-fuel industry against “young people and nature.”

     Hansen is one of the most-often cited scientists warning about the alleged dangers of climate change. Although he has claimed he was “censored” by NASA, he has been featured repeatedly on network news shows and in The New York Times. Former Vice President Al Gore has referenced Hansen on several occasions, but Gore has also called for a more cooperative approach to the environment – a stance which conflicts with the “super rally.”

      During prepared remarks before the Senate’s Environment & Public Works Committee in March 2007, Gore said he did not believe that the climate crisis should be a “partisan” political issue. “I just returned from the United Kingdom, where last week the two major parties put forward their climate change platforms. The Tory and Labour parties are in vigorous competition with one another – competing to put forward the best solution to the climate crisis. I look forward to the day when we return to this way of thinking here in the U.S.,” Gore said.

     The “rally” was held on the campus of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. on April 22 and hosted by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network. Among the other featured voices were Rev. Jim Wallis, president of the liberal Sojourners magazine and controversial left-wing host and executive producer of “Democracy Now,” Amy Goodman.

Hansen’s Activism

     Hansen used the event to attack the use of fossil fuels, specifically the coal industry, advocating government action to force the complete phase out of coal CO2 emission by 2030.

     “If we had a moratorium on coal-fired power plants within the next couple of years and then phased out the existing plants between now and 2030, then CO2 would peak at 425 ppm if we take the generous estimates for size of fossil fuel reservoirs,” Hansen said.

     “So it seems to be a basic conflict between the fossil-fuel special interests and young people and nature because they’re the ones who will bear the brunt of the climate change as it occurs over the next few decades,” Hansen said.

     Stepping outside of his role of a climatologist, Hansen included a call-to-action plan for the audience.

     “Young people need to organize,” Hansen said. “That is beginning to happen, but it needs to happen fast and begin to influence the political process. The more essential action is that we’ve got to halt the construction of coal plants so that we do not get them through. We can’t just talk about goals for reducing the amount of emissions because once it’s up there, you can’t get it back.”

     One critic of Hansen’s global warming theory is famed hurricane forecaster Dr. William Gray. Gray, a professor at Colorado State University, told the audience at the 2008 International Conference on Climate Change on March 4 in New York said Hansen was “the most egregious abuser” of data. According to Gray, Hansen’s alarmism is exaggerated because the models he uses to predict the increase in global warming count on too much water vapor in the atmosphere.

     “[S]o he puts that much vapor in his model and of course he gets this,” Gray said. “He must get upper troposphere where the temperature is seven degrees warmer for a doubl[ing of] CO2. Well, the reason he got that was – why this upper-level warming was there – was he put too much water vapor in the model.”

Fanatic Liberal Rhetoric


     Hansen remained in attendance for the entire “super rally” and as the event progressed, it deviated from issues of climate change and global warming awareness into a vitriolic anti-Bush, anti-Iraq war and anti-corporation event.

     Liberal activist Rev. Lennox Yearwood, Jr., the president of the Hip Hop Caucus in Washington, D.C., gave a provocative speech that incited an intense response from the audience.

     “[A]nd one of the things we have to stress is nuclear power is not the solution,” Yearwood yelled at the top of his lungs with his arm flapping up and down. “Coal is not the solution. I’ve never seen clean coal anywhere.”

     Yearwood also reflected on a trip to Jordan to see displaced Iraqi refugees and blamed their plight on an addiction to oil, which was met with fervent applause from the audience. That, he added, was justification for restrictions on fossil-fuels.

     Amy Goodman, host and executive producer of “Democracy Now” alleged the that media was controlled by corporations and without “independent media” outlets like hers,

     “We need to protect independent media,” Goodman said. “And, it must be free media that is not brought to you by oil companies, by weapons manufacturers. Not brought to you by technology companies, but is brought to you by people like you.

     Goodman referred to a book, “Static” that she co-authored with David Goodman and insisted the media were in cahoots with corporations to warp the public’s minds.

     “We write in our second book, ‘Static’ – and the reason we call it that is that in this high-tech digital age with high-definition television and digital media – all the media bring us is static, a veil of distortion and lies and misrepresentations and half-truths, when what we need is the media to bring us the dictionary definition of ‘static’ and that is criticism of position and unwanted interference. We need a media that covers power, not covers for power. We need a media that is the Fourth Estate, not for the state.”

     Goodman blamed the ExxonMobil (NYSE:XOM) for what she insisted was a lack of coverage of the global warming issue for investing in public policy think tanks.

     “[E]xxonMobil for example has pumped more than $8 million into 40 think tanks, which then provide so-called experts to the media to dismiss problems as such as global warming,” Goodman said. “These corporate Trojan horses are staples of American broadcasting – both public and private – that helps explain the reluctance of the U.S. media to even cover global warming. The topic gets three times as much coverage in the British newspapers as it does American papers.”

     “When global warming does get coverage by the U.S. press, it’s present in false balance with the views of industry-sponsored skeptics,” Goodman said.

     However, unbeknownst to Goodman, a recent Business & Media Institute study found “a meager 20 percent of stories even mentioned there were any alternative opinions to the so-called ‘consensus’ on the issue.” The study suggested there’s a bias that only gives one side of the global warming debate, the alarmist side – not the skeptic side.