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NASA's Top Climate Scientist Says Big Oil is Hiding a "Planet in Crisis"

Oilonwater Global warming has plunged the planet into a crisis and the fossil fuel industries are trying to hide the extent of the problem from the public, NASA's top climate scientist says.

"We've already reached the dangerous level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," according to James Hansen, 67, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. "But there are ways to solve the problem" of heat-trapping greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, which Hansen said has reached the "tipping point" of 385 parts per million.

Hansen calls for phasing out all coal-fired plants by 2030, taxing their emissions until then, and banning the building of new plants unless they are designed to trap and segregate the carbon dioxide they emit.

The major obstacle to saving the planet from its inhabitants is not technology, insisted Hansen, named one of the world's 100 most influential people in 2006 by Time magazine.

"The problem is that 90 percent of energy is fossil fuels. And that is such a huge business, it has permeated our government," he maintained. "What's become clear to me in the past several years is that both the executive branch and the legislative branch are strongly influenced by special fossil fuel interests," he said, referring to the providers of coal, oil and natural gas and the energy industry that burns them.

"You need a new Kyoto protocol with all the major emitters committed to it. Then you are cooking with gas."

Posted by Casey Kazan.

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Yes, lets devolve into a new stone age. That should fix things up... Ya know burning furniture for warmth is just so effecient and environmentally friendly...

As the truth becomes more apparent to everyone guys like Hanson act just as rats in shrinking cages.

We're being given FREE energy from the sun everyday, and yet we poke our tools in the dirt for answers. Solar and wind technology alone can replace most coal and nuclear power stations, if implemented properly and SUPPORTED by government and business. Unfortunately Exxon hasn't found a way to PROFIT from free energy to the degree they have from fossil fuels...

In the News.Global Warming, truth or consequences.
Al Gore's Decree on Global Warming is Not Our Only Crisis
What about Global Pollution? Are we forgetting something?
Is Global Warming, or Global Pollution the Issue?
We should tackle world pollution first

LMFAO! ok im with Mitch the Bitch here im am so tired of you tree huggers telling me to live off the land and stop using fossil fuels you go live in a tent in the nature with no electronics and see how you like it.

Also when did humans become non-natural? it is like you talk about humans as some destroyer of worlds... get over yourselves your not that important or meaningful and stop believing every little thing the media tells you.(or Al Gore for that matter.)

Regardless of what it's doing to the environment; we're running out of oil. You can't continue to rely entirely upon burning fossil fuels until it collapses or we have nothing left to develop a sustainable energy source. Climate change comes second to the energy crisis itself. Do some research.

Unless you are a scientist you should not post things negative about this. We have had the means to live without oil & coal for over 100 years now. It is desroying our planet and there is nothing for it.

You can tell when an Exxon employee posts because it's so retarded and pro-oil it's as discusting to look at as the Alsfan shoreline after the Valdez spill.

Wow! I love to see this modern day Galileo trial unfold before my eyes. Will true science prevail or will the blinded tunnel-vision of the capitalist-driven fossil fuel industry succeed with their ignorant propaganda of greed and gluttony? Mitch the Bitch sounds like the typical glutton consumer that the fossil fuel industry loves. Maybe, he might just be on their payroll also. I am finding that very common these days. Historical/global record profits allow quite a bit of buying power, even people's opinions.

Mitch the Bitch and Joe Dirte are apparently too dumb to even understand the basic premise of this article, which is not that we devolve into another "Stone Age", but that we further evolve and start utilizing and perfecting even more advanced technologies.

There are wonderful alternatives to fossil fuels that can give us all of the same comforts and conveniences of oil, without destroying the environment. Unfortunately, Hansen is right; it's not science stopping us from progress at this point.

I also agree with Lucien. Worldwide pollution is another huge issue that we need to stop "sweeping under the rug".

You know when people gullible enough to be pulled in by one of the most blatant money-spinning and attention-seeking "cause" in recent history post because it's so 'retarded' and mindlessly anti-oil it's frankly embarassing. The ONLY feasible alternative to fossil fuels is nuclear power, presently other so-called 'renewable' energy sources such as wind, solar or tidal have nowhere near the capacity to cope with the UK's demand, let alone global.

The answer lies not in one renewable source, but in them all - Nuclear, solar, wind, tidal, geothermal, and others ALL have a role to play in weaning humanity off of fossil fuels. Whatever one believes about Global Warming, it is very difficult to deny that burning fossil fuels pollutes the atmosphere (unless you are a staunch believer in Armageddon, at which point Global Warming and pollution become GOOD), and if we have the technology to evolve to something else, frankly, there is no reason why we should not, except for one - special interests would lose money were that to happen. Oops! No, my mistake - they would have to CHANGE their business practices a bit to adopt to a new energy climate. OH NO!!! THAT'S TERRIBLE!!! CHANGE, WTF! Anyone who defends the oil industry and their tax breaks amidst multi-billion dollar profits are either working for the oil industry or are utterly delusional.

Check the numbers kids, estimated oil reserves have increased every year for the last 15 years. With the new deep ocean drilling technologies, we have access to reserves more vast than the entire current known supply. Does that mean we shouldn't reduce CO2 and research alternate forms of fuel? Of course not. But stop lying or worse yet, repeating incorrect facts that you don't want to check because you already "know" they are right! Think for yourselves.

As to wind, solar, etc. Yes, they have potential, but at this point they don't even come close to the base load the world needs to operate. Nuclear power would have been an excellent alternative, but earlier reactionary idiots took that option off of the table. So for the foreseable future we are stuck with fossil fuels... sorry, I know reality is a hard pill to swallow!

Tubbs, you're completely correct that subsidizing oil companies is just nuts, especially when that money could be used to for fusion research... a technology that could really change the world.

By the way, it is no longer referred to as "Global Warming" now we are suppoed to call it "Climate Change". In this way, any deviation or unexpected weather pattern may be blamed or cited as proof for the scientific consensus (I don't recall having to reach a consensus when I was studying engineering... hmm, my be "new" engineering.)

Whoops! Looks like I should be praising Richard... although I do completely agree with Tubbs' "follow the money" line of reasoning.

Anyone else amused that in a country critically short of engineers, scientist and other technical professionals... everyone who self-selected OUT of the sciences is now an environmental expert?

Global warming started after last ice age, about 20,000 years ago. Human influence is not the main cause of rising temperatures.

'You people scare me' scares me. Obviously engineers don't have to take the science courses I had at a U.S. public middle school level. Twenty years later, evaporating lakes, dying reefs, depleted fisheries, reduced ice shelfs, permafrost thaw, random droughts, man-made ski slopes, erratic weather patterns and continuued species extinction seem like symptoms of something. Life on earth is flexible and will survive our degenerative habits. But why does that mean a species that has evolved to dominate the planet need to sadistically keep smoking when the doctor says its bad for you?
I don't want to swallow a pill if it has anything to do with fossil fuels. Americans are supposed to be innovative. Why limit our country within the confines of your narrow fossil fuel paradigm? Why is America so reluctant to let go of the "fast food/fossil fuel/plastic" culture. Fusion should never be off of the table because America learns from it's mistakes(Although the current administration has not). Let us elect people into office who will have an OPEN mind for energy issues, not a capitalist agenda.
America's corporate approach to energy and all the symptoms I mentioned earlier(climate change) will NOT help PEOPLE, just Corporations. PERIOD

I read the lead to this article and I though

"at last the world has woken up to oil pollution, and the fact that there is a layer/membrane of petroleum oil all over the seas"

ah alas, same old carbon dioxide propaganda, signifying nothing.

The oil film in the marine micro-layer is inhibiting seawater evaporation... reducing cloud cove, heating the lands....

Today the air is getting so dry there is a proliferation of Ice Clouds... and what they will bring is greatly reduced air temperatures...

and eventually with the heating of the sea, a Global Ice Age will be precipitated.

Interesting that the illustration to your article is so accurate and yet the content so incorrect.

Ask James Hansen your questions face to face. He's going to be in DC at GW Lisner Auditorium on April 22. More info at www.chesapeakeclimate.org/climaterally.

If oil companies are truly influencing government with detrimental environmental consequences we as a collective populous should discuss and consider a possible alternative form of government. Within a massively collaborative direct democracy, science would have a much stronger influence over policy than it does under the current government by the elite.

Wow, lots of contentious arguments here. I'm from South Africa and 96% of our energy comes from coal, we also have some of the cheapest electricity rates in the world fueling economic growth. CO2 is obviously a global problem but how can a developing country like mine afford to change over to non-greenhouse emitting sources? Countries like mine (which include China and India!) with high growth and low development depend on fossil fuels to get the millions of people the services you in the first world take for granted (electricity, schools, running water and sanitation). Do these people not deserve a flushing toilet? Or is the first world and its still to be proven theories going to stifle the greatest improvement, for the most amount of people, in living conditions, the world has ever seen? I'm sorry but even if the west changes over from fossil fuels we're not, and there are a great deal more of us than you. I believe the only solution is Carbon sequestering, an untried technique like phytoplankton growth or sticking CO2 back into old oil reservoirs is probably the greatest hope for climatic stability.

We put a man on the moon in less than 10 years. After 9/11 the opportunity to set a timeframe for oil independence presented itself. A strong leader would have convincingly told Americans that self sacrifice was in our best interests. Besides the obvious improvements to the environment etc., there would have been political gains as well. Imagine if Bush had made such a declaration at his SOTU address after 9/11? Our friends and enemies in the middle east would have handled the terrorist problem for us so as to maintain stability in the oil markets. We should be well on our way to oil independence. One can only hope it's not too late.

So, we are at the tipping point but we should take 20 years to shut down coal fired plants? Doesn't make too much sense to me.

Amgus brings up an excellent point. The energy debate we are having in America is mostly so we can join the rest of developed countries in a Kyoto agreement. If our energy policies were to change away from fossil fuels, the world would follow. Everybody uses the United States' environmental apathy as justification for their own need to develop with fossil fuels. China and India will continue to develop very quickly with every intention to achieve the American dream. Hopefully, with America leading by example, the global conscience will encourage cooperation toward greener energy solutions for developed and developing nations. Europe is actually leading the green approach, however the American consumer engine would be enough to spawn green technology success.
I don't believe that sequestering the CO2 is the answer because the research for such technology is very premature. I would think that one earthquake or tremor could release all of the sequestered CO2 in one instant. Methane is slowly being released from permafrost and ocean floors. Why would CO2 be impervious to leaking if every other gas trapped in our mantle leaks?
Developing nations are the future of the world. America has to change to show the rest of the world that we can thrive as a society and be nice to the planet.

I think that people need to stop pointing fingers to who's at fault for the current global warming crisis. I could care less of companies that are profiting off oil or that our emissions is what caused and is still causing global warming. What's done is done.

Instead we should keep an open mind and thank the people who are spending their time and using their mind and power to improve our current situations. If you can't help them then at least show some support. After all they are trying to help. We're not going to get rid of global warming in a day a week or even a year, it's going to be a step process where there will be failures but in the end i'm certain that there will be success.

The way i see this article is a list of facts and possible solutions that seem absolutely reasonable. The real question is are people ready to sacrifice?

Of course Big Oil is hiding a planet in crisis ! They want everyone to be dependent on their product, like any drug dealer. This is why Exxon, Mobil, BP & others don't actively invest in developing alternative fuels.

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