Responding to a Global Warming Demagogue

NASA climate scientist James Hansen is so publicity hungry that he has to inject more and more outrageousness into the public debate about global warming just to maintain the buzz. Readying himself for a Rep. Ed Markey-arranged gathering, Hansen declared, “CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” Hansen mentioned ExxonMobil and Peabody Coal CEO specifically.

Vic Svec, senior vice president for Peabody, responded with a few observations in a note to the New York Times. Excerpts:

1. His use of Holocaust analogies is outrageous and demeaning. It cheapens the dialogue and invites ridicule.

2. The suggestion that a dissemination of ideas be criminalized –- coming from a government employee no less –- does hearken back to World War II. It is stunning and should be pounced upon by everyone who advocates free speech, from the ACLU and talk radio complex to yourself.

3. Blaming big oil and big coal for the broad array of opinions about climate change is disingenuous. If he would imprison those who don’t march in lockstep with his views, the jails would be very, very big. It would include thousands of scientists and university professors and the likes of the president of the Czech Republic, a former founder of Greenpeace and the former founder of The Weather Channel.

Svec adds mention of Peabody’s increased efficiency and environmental sensitivity, including the reduction of greenhouse gases.

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