Obama told Australia’s coal is killing the world

Now this is a story no global warming sceptic could leave alone. Professor James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies has dumped on Australia’s coal industry – big time!

Refer Courier Mail’s on line news article “Australia destroying life on earth” earlier today.

James Hansen’s name pops up quite frequently in relation to global warming alarmist news. Professor Hansen has written an open letter to Michelle and Barack Obama, published on the internet because it wouldn’t be able to be hand delivered to him before his inauguration.

Being a sceptic, I looked up the letter myself, and yes, he did say the following …..

Australia exports coal and sets atmospheric carbon dioxide goals so large as to
guarantee destruction of much of the life on the planet

Nobody realistically expects that the large readily available pools of oil and gas will be left in the ground.

What really gets my goat is that he claims that no-one expects oil and gas to stay in the ground, but that coal should.

He includes some other gems which were not reported in the newspaper article …..

Analysis of Earth’s history helps reveal the level of greenhouse gases needed to maintain a climate resembling the Holocene, Creation, the period of reasonably stable climate in which civilization developed. That carbon dioxide level, unsurprisingly in retrospect, is less than the current 385 ppm (parts per million). The safe amount for the long-term is no more than 350 ppm, probably less. Pre-industrial carbon dioxide amount was 280 ppm.

The Holocene Climate Optimum refers to the period of time between about 8,000 to 5,000 years ago. My reading tells me that CO2 levels then were 260 to 270 ppmv and the Earth’s temperature was up to 3 degrees C warmer than modern times. During that period, CO2 levels actually dipped a little, while temperatures rose. Since then, temperatures have lowered a little, with increases and decreases, while CO2 levels have gradually increased.

Going back over 5,000 years is well and truly before any man made CO2 influence. Going back further into prehistory, some scientists report the atmospheric CO2 levels were well over 1000 ppmv during some of the periods of greatest biodiversity. Presumably Professor Hansen doesn’t look back that far as he referred to the Holocene period as “Creation”. I have heard Christian ministers of religion refer to the Earth as 40,000 years old, not 8,000.

Since the Holocene Climate Optimum the Earth has experienced periods of unstable climate with successive moderate changes from warming to cooling and back again. There is some evidence that these climate changes were the undoing of the supremecy of some civilisations within recorded history.

Hmmm – the USA produces a fair bit of oil and gas, but little or no coal. Australia produces a heap of coal and lesser amounts of oil and gas. Why all of a sudden is oil and gas production and consumption OK, but coal is a no-no?

Has Professor Hansen become very patriotic, protective of US oil, gas and automotive industries? Has Professor Hansen discovered that somehow coal originating CO2 is worse for the world than oil and gas CO2? Or is Professor Hansen receiving sponsorship from the rich and powerful US oil and gas lobby?

Regardless of the reason for this twaddle from Professor Hansen, it just adds further “fuel” to the global warming sceptics’ concerns that the CO2 caused global warming alarmists stories are not realistic and that global warming alarmism lacks credibility.

The full letter can be found at http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20081229_DearMichelleAndBarack.pdf