In a single Huffington Post column, NASA's famous warmist-alarmist Dr. James Hansen invokes Godwin's Law on climate change, criticizes President Obama for his lack of stalwart leadership in that area, and offers a climate change solution that would also discourage illegal immigration.
The predominant moral issue of the 21st century, almost surely, will be climate change, comparable to Nazism faced by Churchill in the 20th century and slavery faced by Lincoln in the 19th century. Our fossil fuel addiction, if unabated, threatens our children and grandchildren, and most species on the planet.
So the Cadillac Escalade enjoys the same moral standing as West African slave ships and Bergen-Belsen's crematoria. Got it.
Yet the president, addressing climate in the State of the Union, was at his good-guy worst, leading with "I know that there are those who disagree..." with the scientific evidence. This weak entrée, almost legitimizing denialists, was predictably greeted by cheers and hoots from well-oiled coal-fired Congressmen. The president was embarrassed and his supporters cringed....
Why face the difficult truth presented by the climate science? Why not use the president's tack: just talk about the need for clean energy and energy independence? Because that approach leads to wrong policies, ineffectual legislation larded with giveaways to special interests, such as the Waxman-Markey bill in the House and the bills being considered now in the Senate.
What prescription is offered our President? Hansen has only one: We must tax the bejeezus out of carbon-based energy consumption.
An essential corollary to the rising carbon price is 100 percent redistribution of collected fees to the public -- otherwise the public will never allow the fee to be high enough to affect lifestyles and energy choices. The fee must be collected from fossil fuel companies across-the-board at the mine, wellhead, or port of entry. Revenues should be divided equally among all legal adult residents, with half-shares for children up to two per family, distributed monthly as a "green check". ...
The fee-and-green-check approach is transparent, fair and effective. ... Economic modeling shows that carbon emissions would decline 30 percent by 2020. The annual dividend would be $2000-3000 per legal adult resident, $6000-9000 per family with two or more children.
About sixty percent of the public would receive more in the green check than they pay in added energy costs. ...
Oh, and the cost to administer such a program? Dr. Hansen doesn't say, so I guess it's fair to assume it will be negligible...
Let's look at the numbers of this proposal. Something like 4% of the population is, um, suboptimally documented. About 28% of women have more than two children. Allowing for some overlap, that leaves 10-15% of us energy hogs (you, me, and Al Gore) to pay the freight so that 60% can get their "green check".
But notice that Hansen mentions twice that you have to be "legal" to be a green check recipient. So an family of illegals will have a heavy monetary incentive to go home. Was this Hansen's intended result? It's certainly not liberal dogma; surely we'll have to grant blanket amnesty before imposing this solution.
Perhaps most grating of all is Dr. Hansen's invoking of the name of Galileo:
This is not the 17th century, when "beliefs" trumped science, forcing Galileo to recant his understanding of the solar system. The president should unequivocally support the climate science community, which is under politically orchestrated assault on the legitimacy of its scientific assessments.
On the contrary, the Climategate memos paint a picture of a community of scientists who were more driven by "beliefs" than by a quest for the truth. The skeptics have confronted the putative "consensus" of the climate change political/scientific establishment just as Galileo was at odds with the political/scientific establishment of his day. It is Hansen and other representatives of the establishment who would have the skeptic community recant.
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.