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Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

The series of measures aimed at solving climate change problem advocated by James Hansen--limiting fossil fuel burning by raising the price of coal, oil and natural gas, promoting alternative, especially renewable, energy sources, forest preservation and reforestation, population control and an enhanced regime of international accountability and cooperation are all very admirable and surely need to be implemented. But notice the caveat proffered by none other than the venerable author of the article himself, viz. "Global phaseout of fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions is a stringent requirement. Proposed government policies, consisting of an improved Kyoto Protocol approach with more ambitious targets, do not have a prayer of achieving that result!"

And although I don't agree with Alexander Cockburn ("From Nicaea to Copenhagen") about his disdain for the anthropogenic greenhouse phenomenon because the theory smacks of pseudo-science, his overall argument is unassailable. Recent prevalence of very cold weather over large areas on both sides of the North Atlantic, which may well be due to the paucity of sunspots recorded over the last two years and which may well presage a full-blown "mini" ice age like the Maunder Minimum of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, could make the general public sceptical about the very real threat of accelerating CO2 concentration and of a planetary heat stroke looming further down the road. The organizations like 350.org need to keep up their sustained campaign of public education and should receive full support from the governments, the academia and other nongovernmental organizations around the world if we are to avoid the "Venus Syndrome" about which Hansen warns us.

Having said this, I am at a loss to understand why the public attention has been so intensely focused only on the measures enumerated by Al Gore, James Hansen, IPCC, 350.org and other like-minded individuals and organizations to the complete exclusion of other alternative space based approaches such as placement of a barrier between the sun and the earth in a cum sole trajectory with the aim of curbing insolation. In my new book (Al-Battani Shield--Counteracting Global Warming: A New Approach) I have proposed such a solution in considerable detail and also explained the overall climate phenomenon in a simple language understandable to non-specialists. The attraction of implementation of the "al-Battani Shield" is that it imposes no immediate limits on emissions and thus does not roll back the march of industrial revolution and thus smother the less develop nations' dreams for better lives for their citizens.

Not being a member of any "inner circle"--academic or journalistic --leaves me to wonder what it takes for an "outsider" to get noticed, especially with somewhat of a "maverick idea. Maybe The Nation can make a start by publishing this letter.

Inayatullah Ibrahim Lalani

Benbrook, TX

Jan 8 2010 - 12:06am

Web Letter

Excellent piece. This is the sensible solution. The FF companies are not paying for the social and environmental harms that extraction and use imposes. A price must be set on emissions. A carbon tax is the way to do that.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the EDF should be ashamed of themselves. They even continue to advocate for 450-550 ppm (!) Targets when the whole world knows that 300-350 is where we must aim. Why are they doing this? I think Hansen is too kind not to impune their motives. Look at the industries with whom they partner on climate policy/advocacy.

Hansen is right-on. Bless him and all of our grandchildren. (He even took on the NRDC.)

This group is for real too.

Linda Turillo

Brooklyn, NY

Jan 7 2010 - 6:57pm

Web Letter

This scheme is too complcated and too easy to cheat on. Nearly 7 billion people is way too many--better to shoot for population control (500 milion total would be nice) and we also avoid a tangled web of right-crushing regulations.

Windmills and solar will never do the job and there will be environmental impacts we discover as we install these devices on massive scale. We can't have our cake and eat it too.

Rob Ster

Baltimore, MD

Jan 3 2010 - 2:17pm

Web Letter

The best solution to climate-change problems is move to higher ground (or similar personal remedy). So long as people believe that God loves us, they will not believe in the droughts, famines and plagues that lie before our offspring. So long as they believe that the world of scientists will conspire to mislead us for their own personal gain, they will ignore the warnings.

Politicians are usually smart about people but not smart about anything else. Remember G.B. Shaw's "Major Barbara"? The cannon-maker, Andrew Undershaft, as I recall told his son, Let's see, you have no talent for art, no interest in science or engineering, no head for business, no calling for anything at all--yes, politics is the right choice for you!

So we can expect nothing from our political leaders but more bloodshed in their efforts to control oil reserves.

Alvin D. Hofer

St. Petersburg, FL

Jan 2 2010 - 1:38pm

Web Letter

All very seductive ideas, but terribly geared to corporate profits. China just told us to "bugger off" in Copenhagen, while it opens one coal-fired plant a week and we export as much coal as we can mine. Oil is pumped at $2 to $12 a barrel, and once it is sold and repurchased several times we pay $80 a barrel, plus .55c. tax at the pump. We are told that windmills are the solution and solar will save the day. I can count the solar days, during the winter months, on my twenty digits and wind's payback on windmills we purchase from China is probably twenty-plus years. How about some realistic solutions like foliage, electric highways, high-speed rail, low-yield Tiida and, yes, nuclear? I know this may not fill in the corporate mantra, oh and by the way, ban all private 747 flights, but spouting gated-community bull isn't the solution. I really thought you were on the side of the little guy, James and John, please not another friggin' study.

James L. Pinette

Caribou, ME

Jan 1 2010 - 12:12pm

Web Letter

Alexander Cockburn has amply "a href="/doc/20100104/cockburn">demonstrated the total futility of attacking carbon emissions as a form of pretending to deal with global warming. Having produced an exceptional, definitive piece on the subject, the rest of The Nation seems to be returning to its usual somnolent state.

In other venues, it appears that one of the main "criticisms" of his work is that his sources were not "peer-reviewed," at a time when the fraudmasters were pulling strings to keep such from being published!Nice circular "logic": We kept you from publishing before, and that's why people should stop thinking now.

Will the rest of the magazine please wake up?

Can anyone with an ounce of honesty seriously object to a commission to investigate the hard scientific truth and publish an open report? Yet the people pushing the global warming fraud generally oppose such an inquiry.

John D. Froelich

Upper Darby, PA

Dec 31 2009 - 12:57am