"Let my carbon molecules go!"
James Hansen as Moses? Or Lincoln? Why not?
Averting the worst consequences of human-induced climate change is a "great moral issue" on a par with slavery, according to the leading Nasa climate scientist Prof Jim Hansen.
He argues that storing up expensive and destructive consequences for society in future is an "injustice of one generation to others".
Hansen, who will next Tuesday be awarded the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for his contribution to science, will also in his acceptance speech call for a worldwide tax on all carbon emissions.
In his lecture, Hansen will argue that the challenge facing future generations from climate change is so urgent that a flat-rate global tax is needed to force immediate cuts in fossil fuel use. Ahead of receiving the award - which has previously been given to Sir David Attenborough, the ecologist James Lovelock, and the economist Amartya Sen - Hansen told the Guardian that the latest climate models had shown the planet was on the brink of an emergency. He said humanity faces repeated natural disasters from extreme weather events which would affect large areas of the planet.
"The situation we're creating for young people and future generations is that we're handing them a climate system which is potentially out of their control," he said. "We're in an emergency: you can see what's on the horizon over the next few decades with the effects it will have on ecosystems, sea level and species extinction."
Hansen will argue in his lecture that current generations have an over-riding moral duty to their children and grandchildren to take immediate action. Describing this as an issue of inter-generational justice on a par with ending slavery, Hansen said: "Our parents didn't know that they were causing a problem for future generations but we can only pretend we don't know because the science is now crystal clear.
Science is never, ever "crystal clear." If such were the case, we'd still be grappling with trying to solve the discrepencies in Hoyles "Steady State" theory of the universe. Instead, we found something theoretically and experimentally more satisfying - the "Big Bang" theory.
The "overriding moral duty" we have to our children and grandchildren is to get it right and not destroy their future by going off half cocked when hysterics and partisans like Hansen forgoe logic and reason, in favor of polemical diatribes in debate. As many skeptics have pointed out, if things are as dire as Hansen says they are, it's already too late to save the planet.
It's time that warmist scientists realize the damage colleagues like Hansen do to their cause and put a muzzle on his ranting.