Experiments with Truth: Analysis

Bill McKibben: In defense of James Hansen and other climate hawks

I’ve met many good people in my life, and a few great ones. And one of the marks of the latter, it seems to me, is that they’re often under attack.

Like this morning. I opened the newspaper to read a column in the New York Times by Joe Nocera. It’s his fourth column pushing for the Keystone XL pipeline; fair enough. (Though in the third, he managed to get the economics of carbon so completely backward that he had to append a long correction to yet another column.)  This time, though, the vehicle he used was an attack on NASA scientist James Hansen, who had correctly identified the huge amount of carbon in the tar sands of Canada and Venezuela. Nocera didn’t like Hansen lending his credibility to the fight against Keystone XL, and even though Hansen been meticulous to make sure he’s always spoken as a private citizen, the columnist insinuated he should lose his job: Are these, he asked, “the sort of statements a government scientist should be making?”

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