James Hansen and Norman Baker

The debate about climate change goes round and round in circles. Each time the debate starts we seem to learn less about climate change because we get more confused. The problem with going round in circles is that eventually the destination is the same as the departure point. You never reach the end of the journey. Your energy has been wasted.

In heard James Hansen being interviewed on the radio by a BBC journalist. She annoyed him (although he kept calm and polite) by picking on very small anomalies in climate change and making inaccurate summaries of climate change statistics and  science instead of concentrating on the big picture. Some people do not have the vision to see the whole picture or the imagination, depending on their point of view or lack of view. Perhaps we can invent the equivalent of spectacles for the intellect for those journalists who cannot see properly or prefer to report about the edges instead of reporting on the whole.

In the end Mr Hansen decided that answering questions about the colour of the deckchairs on the Titanic was not helpful and diverted the interviewer to point out that Canada is negotiating with the European Union to count the emissions produced from the oil mined in its tar sands as being the same emissions as those produced by oil that is drilled in traditional ways, even though the extraction of oil from tar sands produces in its overall emission content at least 20% more carbon dioxide. Presumably Mr Hansen agreed to be interviewed in order to talk about this problem.

The European Union rightly wants Canadian tar sand oil to be designated as “highly polluting” under the EU fuel quality directive, which is fair and logical. Canada, where money now matters more than the environment, wants no differentiation and it looks like that the United Kingdom, to its shame, will support he Canadian view.

Mr Hansen will be meeting Norman Baker, at the Department of Transport to discuss the designation of oil from the Canadian tar sands. Mr Baker is a committed environmentalist and I have a great deal of time for him, not least because he was kind enough to write some nice words about “the Energy Age”. I hope that he will see Mr Hansen’s point of view and come to the right decision.

Mr Baker has always, in my view, shown that he understands the big climate change picture.

One Response

  1. Reblogged this on acckkii.

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