Opinion: Australia 'killing Earth' says NASA scientist
One of NASA’s top
scientists, The head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space
Studies, Prof. James Hansen, has told President elect Obama
that Australian coal exports are guaranteeing destruction of
life on Earth.
Thanks for the in-depth appraisal, mate. Nothing like a
character reference from the top.
Hansen isn’t a melodramatist. He’s referring to our antiquated
approach to carbon economics.
The Daily Telegraph:
Prof Hansen said goals and caps on carbon emissions were
practically worthless because of the long lifetime of carbon
dioxide in the air.
“Instead a large part of the total fossil fuels must be left in
the ground. In practice, that means coal,” he wrote.
“Nobody realistically expects that the large readily available
pools of oil and gas will be left in the ground.”
Prof. Hansen also thinks Australia’s emissions cuts targets
won’t work. He’s not alone there, nor do many Australian
The problem is that Australia is a resource exporter. China and
Japan want our coal. It’s a multi billion dollar export, even at
$100 or so a ton. He’s not wrong about it not getting left in
Nobody is disputing the effects of CO2 in the atmosphere. Quite
the opposite. The low emission cuts targets raised a howl in
The problem, Prof. Hansen, is antiquated energy industries,
where switching carbon to non combustion uses is proceeding at
its usual dinosaur like rate. The whole concept of energy
economics, and the training of most of the people in the
industries, is stuck in the Model T era.
Stage 2 should be explaining to President Obama how to get the
industries functioning as ecological saviors, not destroyers.
The oil industry has the best distribution system on Earth. It
can sell any form of fuel or energy source. It doesn’t actually
have to sell carbon as fuel. Nor does the coal industry. The
stuff’s more valuable in almost any other form than stuffing it
into an engine and detonating it, anyway.
Carbon chemistry isn't quite a secret. The other uses are worth
millions a week to BHP Billiton alone. Bucky balls (designer
carbon molecular lubricants) have been around for years, etc.
Now all they have to do is start training these morons in other
uses for their product. Oil and coal have been one trick wonders
for so long it's like nobody's ever heard of polymers.
Hansen isn’t wrong. He’s just taken one side of an argument as
the talking point. I agree with his basic concept. The
continuing use of carbon based combustion is eco-suicide.
The solution has to be getting the Corporate Carboniferous
Cornucopia doing something useful, not destroying the thermal
properties of the atmosphere. Even people with commerce degrees
can understand basic high school physics, surely? Eventually?
Thirty years after the issues were raised? Maybe?
If America happens to stumble across its own basic alternative
energy technology that it's had for decades, that will become
the model for everyone else. Even our sheep in suits will get
the message. Once they can see carbon as a paying proposition in
other forms, it will take off.
Really, this shouldn't have to
be explained to adults. It really is high
school stuff, and we have gigantic industries getting pennies
for a material worth billions. Are we sure they teach energy
industry people to read, or what?
Might have been slightly more appropriate to mention some of the
other major carbon producers, though
his opinion article was written by an independent writer. The
opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and
are not necessarily intended to reflect those of