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Dwindling AGW and retired Hansen

Post-retirement Hansen has no reasons for self-glorification

Juliet Eilperin, an alarmist hired gun at the Washington Post, is among the reporters who took notice of some results from a new U.S. Pew Research Center survey.

Two thirds of Americans favor the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline which is sensible because the project will make the transfer of oil more efficient and will politically improve the composition of energy sources that America relies upon.

The number of folks infected by the AGW hysteria dropped by 6 percentage points since October 2012 but 60% of the respondents still say that AGW is either somewhat or very serious. Only 42% of the people say that warming "exists" and is mostly due to humans (number hasn't changed). See that page for more numbers like that. Eilperin is combining this news with a reminder that James Hansen decided to retire as we heard yesterday.

Now, I have two basic comments about these issues. If you're too busy, look for the bold face fonts in the text below.

The number of people concerned by "global warming" dropped since October mostly because we experienced winter – a normal, pretty cold winter. (In Germany and probably some places around it, like my hometown, you know, we've experienced the coldest March since 1883.)

How does the explanation work? It's simple. When it comes to the dynamics of their population and their reproduction, global warming fearmongers are isomorphic to mosquitos. (They are equally annoying, too.) When the weather gets a bit warmer, e.g. above the average, suddenly there's a lot of them, they're biting lots of innocent people, and they're stinging them and injecting the toxic propagandist garbage abusing the momentarily elevated temperatures into these human victims (some of them become fearmongers themselves; in this respect, the fearmongers are structurally more similar to vampires than mosquitos).

But the warm weather never lasts indefinitely. Usually well before the next winter, the temperatures cool down and the global warming hysterics begin to die off again. They love to megalomaniacally talk about the far future and the year 2100 or 2200 but their actual ideas and the evidence allegedly supporting these ideas are as ephemeral as a warm afternoon.

Now, James Hansen said he wanted to retire in order to become a 100% activist. When I read about this story on Anthony Watts' blog on April 1st, I really had no clue whether the story was legitimate or an April fool's joke (the odds were 50% for each scenario). I decided to wait for another day, especially because the story was relatively unremarkable, regardless of its April fool's joke status.

Today, one day later, it seems that the information was meant to be super duper cereal and excelsior. So we can comment on it with the knowledge of its status in mind.

James Hansen says that he wants to take a "more active role" e.g. in lawsuits against public officials who don't behave according to the recipes that the most out-of-control global warming fearmongering lunatics such as James Hansen himself would love to impose. I can't resist to mention that this self-congratulatory explanation of the retirement only highlights what kind of a pompous, arrogant, from reality detached jerk James Hansen is.

Let me tell you what's actually going on. A crazy hippie is just retiring from NASA so he will become much less important because most of his importance did boil down to his position in NASA and, more generally, his links to the world's most prominent arm of the space program. There's absolutely no reason to think that anything will get "bigger". Why?

In most respects, James Hansen is just another rank-and-file environmentalist pinko commie watermelon who climbs chimneys, gets arrested during rallies, sleeps in front of power stations, and eats rootlets, acorns, and earthworms. Most importantly, they are ready to eagerly endorse an arbitrarily preposterous proclamation as long as it has the "right" ideological color or flavor. There are at least tens of thousands of such folks in the world (maybe millions?) – they are usually young individuals but Hansen's example shows that they don't have to be young – who have adopted this belief system.

The only respect in which James Hansen has been an above-the-average if not exceptional member of this set of hippies – and the reason why he was a Greenpeace hero who collected millions of dollars from fellow fans of these radical green NGOs – is that he was pretty much the only person in the world who combined these Luddite, insane, totally unscientific, irrational attitudes to the human civilization with an influential position in an organization that is one of the symbols of the contemporary scientific and technological establishment (and yes, NASA deserves to be called "a center of the world's technological establishment" more than any universities do).

This combination is so weird that you can't be surprised that Hansen's fellow green hippies were just stunned how deeply into the "establishment" their pathological far left movement managed to penetrate and they were sending him millions of dollars just for this "deep infection" that he was able to achieve.

But this is mostly over now. James Hansen has retired. The retirement is a completely ordinary event in the life that most people experience on one day or another (without emitting big words about their expectations of a post-retirement skyrocketing career) and he has become a near-average hippie who eats earthworms and gets arrested during rallies against pipelines that pretty much everyone endorses. He may indeed freely participate in frivolous lawsuits attempting to punish fossil fuel executives (and perhaps even ordinary climate skeptics – hundreds of millions of Americans) as if they were masterminds behind the German extermination camps. On one hand, no one will complain that a NASA official paid as a scientist shouldn't join similar anti-civilization political happenings anymore – but on the other hand, without his NASA chair, the fringe status of such lawsuits and similar activities will become increasingly self-evident to his fellow activists, to the politicians, to the general public, and to the courts.

So please, stop with this self-congratulatory garbage that you will become more important in the anti-fossil-fuels movement, Mr Hansen. The retirement means that you will become professionally less important. Because in the last 25 years, your main "job" was to undermine the scientific and technological establishment from within and to contaminate it with fringe theories and political projects, and because you will no longer be an insider, it's clear that your relevance will drop, regardless of attempts by some folks to mask this obvious fact. (Hansen's contributions to our understanding of Venus represent a different, positive story but one that has nothing to do with James Hansen who exists today.)

Some well-known people are (or have been) self-made men who elevate (or elevated) the status, power, and fame of the companies or institutions they are associated with (and some of them established these companies or institutions in the first place). Other well-known people derive their fame and influence from these companies or institutions; they're parasiting or capitalizing on their links with them and they're sucking blood out of the companies or institutions which is particularly effective if people realize that their presence in these companies or institutions is a strange anomaly. Guess which description is more appropriate for James Hansen and NASA.

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snail feedback (23) :

reader Shannon said...

My guess is the wife doesn't want to keep him at home now either...;-) Retiree men can be real pain in the neck :D

reader anna v said...

When one retires from a university post one can get the status of "emeritus", which allows the association with the University to continue as before. Fortunately in this case ( we have been complaining about this in my research center) there is no emeritus status for retirees of scientific agencies like NASA.

reader Star Craving Engineer said...

Wonderful to see someone call them Luddites, eschewing the oft-used "neo" prefix. They're not different from the original Luddites in any significant way.

Hansen was hardly their only deep penetration, though. They control the top science journals, and the management of the most prestigious scientific societies.

Good riddance to this one, though. Now that he's not a VIP, maybe he'll set out to get himself arrested sometime, and much to his surprise he'll also get charged, tried, convicted and incarcerated. One may hope.

reader Myherofails said...

I'm no "hippi" and am quite conservative. However, regardless of your views on agw, how is taking care of the only planet we have at this time a bad thing? It is scientifically proven that burning fossil fuels creates harmful pollution. If that is creating agw isn't for me to say, but I think anyone living in a metro area who sucks in smog/pollution all day can agree that less is better.

This is why I don't understand the resentment towards believers of climate change.. If the end goal is a healthier planet, what's the problem?

This isn't rhetorical or an attack, it's a real question. What is the harm of taking better care of our planet?

Are the concerns cost related primarily?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Thanks! Quite generally, I think that the "neo-" prefix is wildly and illogically overused.

"Neo-" makes sense for the neogothic architecture etc. because the gothic architecture was virtually non-existent for several centuries before it was revived in the modern era.

However, Luddites have been around without interruption since the early 19th century. There is no gap or break that could separate Luddites from neo-Luddites.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Hi Meherofails,

no global warming alarmist is "taking care of the planet". It's just a preposterous megalomaniac proclamation used by these and other idiots to magnify their importance in their own eyes. The real goal of that despicable movement is to reorganize the human society, not save the planet.

The planet whose mass is 6 x 10^{24} kilograms has been around for 4.7 billion years and will be around for 7.5 billion years before it's swallowed by the expanding red giant once called the Sun. What people do is irrelevant from the "existential viewpoint" of the planet.

For example, those 30 trillion kg of CO2 added to the atmosphere per year is just 5 x 10^{-12} of the Earth's mass, it's totally negligible, and it's negligible even relatively to the atmosphere.

No, my primary problem with the global warming fearmongers isn't cost-related, it's morality-related. I can't accept their lies. On the other hand, hundreds of billions of dollars that may be wasted with similar excuses every year *have* some importance, too. You may be a naive gullible nutcase who believes that these dollars "need" to be paid and wasted to save the planet. But those people who sensibly realize that such claims are complete bogus see the emperor of the climate hysteria in his full nakedness. It's a movement of lying self-centric scumbags that want to liquidate almost everything that makes this planet exceptional.


reader Myherofails said...

I was hoping for a little more clarity and scientific data. I get your point on the carbon sink but would like to see more numbers. As an astrophysicist I'm well aware of the claims, but agw is outside of my expertise obviously.

What are some good peer reviewed articles on the subject in your opinion?

reader Luboš Motl said...

Could you please specify what the articles you want should be about? You claim to want clarity but you introduce nothing else than chaos and nonsense here.

The global warming ideology is a loose conglomerate of tons of facts, misinterpretations of facts, half-truths, downright nonsense, lies, and crackpottery from dozens of disciplines that cover pretty much all of science, technology, and human activities. I can't give you good peer-reviewed articles on *that*. It's nonsensical to write articles about such ill-defined all-encompassing topics and pretend that one is doing an expert scientific research. He's surely not. I can give you tons of great articles on the general problem of the climate hysteria but they don't pretend to be technical research focusing on a particular technical question which they can't be. I can also give you papers on a particular technical questions if you specify it but you haven't specified anything.

The global warming ideology tries to link claims that are - in the proper scientific context - studied by atmospheric physics; optics; chemistry; biology;geology; astrophysics; economics, and other fields. Each of these fields is very large by itself but you seem to want "peer reviewed articles" on all of them.

Also, I am annoyed by the adjective "peer reviewed" because it's being used to create the impression that it improves the paper and perhaps makes it reliable. But if the "peers" in a discipline are dishonest scumbags, corrupt parasites, and liars, and 97% of the people who "work" on the climate hysteria indisputably are, then the "peer-reviewed" adjective surely doesn't improve the papers. Quite on the contrary, their average quality is almost certainly heavily reduced.

reader Casper said...

The problem is that 'renewables' do not create a healthier planet, just a planet that is even more environmentally degraded. Smog is a product of the internal combustion engine, not the burning of fossil fuels per se. You could get rid of smog by getting rid of internal combustion engines and replacing them with external combustion engines.

reader Casper said...

At least when Thermageddon arrives Hansen will no longer need to wear a hat.

reader Douglas Proctor said...

The NASA/NOAA culture has been very well indicated to be a closed-shop with criticisms outside the shop deemed unacceptable. Hansen went after Bush's people who criticized him - and won. It will be interesting to see if Hansen's replacement is less adversarial and more skeptical, i.e. more open to saying the science is not settled and the data could, indeed, have had a warming bias in its adjustments.
A late 2013 note of a mid-2014 release date of a GISTemp temperature analysis review ("to bring into it elements of current methodology found useful in the HadCru, satellite data analyses") could help Obama et al in "delaying full implementation of climate change provisions at this time". And then dropping them until 2016+ ....
What the working wonks at NASA/NOAA think has always been the real issue, not what the talking head at the top says. Anyone who has experience in public companies or politically sensitive government offices knows that the story improves with altitude, and indeed often starts where the air is thinnest, drifting down to the consternation of those not oxygen-deprived.

reader thejollygreenman said...

Lubos, how well said. Peer review by a bunch of 2nd raters means nothing in any case. A bit like the esteemed fellowship of Zulu witchdoctors, my apologies to the Zulus witchdoctors for comparing them to the low-life scum AGW scientists!

reader thejollygreenman said...

Your are an astrophysicist my arse!

I can turn water to wine!

reader KellyJ said...

I wonder how much this retirement was due to age and work years, and how much of it was due to NASA brass being tired of this clown attending rallies and getting arrested while on the Government dole?
A case of: go away gracefully or you will be fired for cause and lose your pension.

It will be interesting to see who replaces Hansen at GISS. One of his @ss-hatted mini-me's or will NASA bring in someone from outside and clean house.

reader CBDenver said...

RE; " It is scientifically proven that burning fossil fuels creates harmful pollution". What are you talking about? Air pollution has been significantly reduced by the use of various filters, scrubbers, and other emission control devices. Our air is cleaner now than it has been in the past. Stop with the alarmism and hyperbole.

reader Thomas Warmuth said...

Bravo! It's about time rational adults took the fight to these fanatics instead of hoping the problem goes away if we just don't dignify their idiocy with a response. The AGW sacrament to the altar of liberalism needs to be fought at every opportunity, and these so-called scientists need to be held up to ridicule every time they open their mouths. Where there must be consensus to arrive at a conclusion there is no science - the truth stands on it's own whether you accept it or not, and it's not up to a vote. Common sense people and scientists have been hiding in the shadows too long. It's time to come out and fight for truth and reality.

Thank you Lubos.

reader papertiger0 said...

Let's just call it what it is. Hansen didn't retire to move on to political activist glory, rather he was given the boot.
They punched his ticket. Cashed him out. Sent him packing.

The responsible alumni of NASA were tired of making excuses for the shlepp, so they gave him a choice. If you walk away now without a fuss Jimmy, we'll let you tell the story.

But either way, you are leaving. Now.

Don't let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya.

reader IskurBlast said...

Your caricature of Hansen as a parasite also reminds me of Obama's close friend GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt who is famous for being GE's CEO yet few like to talk about how he has driven the company into the ground.

reader nightspore said...

No one disbelieves in climate change. Why are you using that phrase?

A "healthy planet" decked out in wind turbines and palm oil plantations??? There's more than a chance that upwards of 100 mammal and bird species may die out because of this craziness (see wind-farms-vs-wildlife).
. Not to mention all the elderly people dying because they can no longer afford adequate heating - as the winters grow colder.

reader Layne Blanchard said...

I'm wondering if it isn't because he sees the end coming. He can't fake the gobal average higher because he's bumped up against the satellites. He's already reduced last century's temps - riding that wave as far as he could. Now, his beloved average will fall further and further below his "Scenario C" The gig is up. The fat lady is warming up.

reader Kim Schultz said...

Save your pollution crap for CHINA, INDIA, RUSSIA, ignoramus

reader mdfield1 said...

YES!!!! We have gotten SO far away from true scientific inquiry, where AGW is concerned, as to laughable and it is all because our Left Leaning Federal Government. For various reasons, those in power have decided to insist that AGW is real and they have pulled out all the stops to finance, promote and quote every scientist willing to 'toe the line', join the 'consensus' and preach the mantra passed down by the United Nations. Then the UN's IPCC cherry picks the results of their 'scientists' and discards or completely ignores EVERYTHING that doesn't agree with their preconceived outcome. This IS NOT how real science works! Any REAL scientist, who has a theory, welcomes any and all to do all that they can to DISPROVE their theory. Scientists promoting AGW have done everything BUT that! They won't reveal how test results were acquired so that the tests can be rerun and peer reviewed. They HIDE findings that don't 'conform' to their theory. They conspire with other 'scientists' to confuse and mislead anyone checking up on their 'research'. They destroy correspondence, such as incriminating emails. They LIE. They change results to 'fit' their 'findings'. They continue to 'adjust' the temperatures of the past downward so that today's temps appear so much higher. Then they say NOTHING when other scientists, who have discovered evidence which may refute or disprove their theories, are marginalized, threatened and blackballed. We now have some people, many in positions of power, who wish to criminalize ANY and ALL talk that doesn't fit with their agenda, with the threat of prison hanging over the head of those exercising their freedom of speech. As more evidence has come in, refuting AGW (such as SEVENTEEN YEARS with NO global warming), this kind of craziness has escalated. I would expect this type of talk in places like Nazi Germany, Communist USSR and Communist China but I NEVER thought I would EVER hear talk like this in America. This is how far we've fallen since Liberal/Progressives began gaining more and more power and influence in our government. Now they are getting desperate because their theory is crumbling before their eyes and people are beginning to see the truth. That is why Obama has given his various departments, like the EPA, free rein to circumvent Congress and install as many Draconian rules as possible while they are still able to do so. This is a SAD time in our nation's history. A VERY sad time, indeed!

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear MDfield, I deliberately approved your rant so that you may read it again and see the 25 reasons why I instantly banned you, much like every sane webmaster would.