Archive for February, 2010

Shoe, meet other foot

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

I never take anything with me to read when I go to the gym for my thrice-weekly session with the stationary bike. Instead, the gym’s magazine rack serves as a kind of reading lottery — I take whatever it offers on any particular morning. One day last week, my best choice was a dog-eared copy of the June 29, 2009  issue of The New Yorker, which contained a profile of James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and a leading climate-change activist. This passage from the article stood out:

Speaking before a congressional special committee last year, Hansen asserted that fossil-fuel companies were knowingly spreading misinformation about global warming and that their chairmen “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” He has compared freight trains carrying coal to “death trains,” and wrote to the head of the National Mining Association, who sent him a letter of complaint, that if the comparison “makes you uncomfortable, well, perhaps it should.”

What a difference eight months makes. Now that we know a significant amount of misinformation about global warming originated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, I wonder if Hansen believes his fellow activist, IPCC chairman Rajendra K. Pachauri, should likewise be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature? If that thought disturbs Hansen, well, perhaps it should.