Climatologist James Hansen Says He Hopes COP15 Talks Fail (Yes, Really)

priest in confessional photo

photo: Emilio Labrador via flickr.

"The approach being discussed is so fundamentally wrong that it's better the reassess the situation. I think it's just as well that we not have a substantive treaty." That's leading climatologist Dr. James Hansen from a new interview by The Guardian talking about the outcome of COP15. Hansen went on to call the current path of negotiations as being an attempt to continue business-as-usual when "it's a disaster track". But Hansen didn't stop there:Polluter Offsets Are An Absurdity
Talking about cap-and-trade legislation and carbon offsets by polluters, Hansen said,

This is analagous to the indulgences that the Catholic church sold in the middle ages. The bishops collected lots of money and the sinners got redemption. Both parties like that arrangement despite its absurdity. That is exactly want's happening.

We've got developed countries who want to continue more or less business as usual and then these developing countries who want money and that is what they can get through offsets.

You Can't Half Stop Climate Change
Oh, but wait! Hansen went on to describe dealing with climate change as similar to dealing with ending slavery and combatting the Nazis. "On those kind of issues you cannot compromise. You can't say let's reduce slavery, let's find a compromise and reduce it 50% or reduce it 40%."

Hansen's Been Vocal Opponent of Cap and Trade
Hansen has made such statements before: Back in May he said he hoped the Waxman-Markey bill failed because of concerns that the only people to really benefit from such a scheme are financiers acting as middlemen and that a "much more effective approach" was needed -- such as a fee-and-dividend approach -- which is essential a carbon tax on producers, with the money being given back to the public.

When Should Idealism Replace Pragmatism?
What do TreeHugger readers think? I go back and forth between pragmatism (this is what we've got to work with, so let's make it the best we can, even if flawed, and work to improve it) and my natural idealism (what we really need is a wholesale reassessment of the situation). I have to say, that as it becomes increasingly clear that so-few-as-to-be-no politicians seem to really get the magnitude of the situation, their actions being distant from their rhetoric, idealism is increasingly winning the day for me.

Here's the full original: The Guardian
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