LWC Article ~ January 22, 2017
Listen to This Man:
"We need a revolutionary third-party."
he guy getting arrested here is NASA scientist James Hansen, the man who more than just about anybody else is responsible for our understanding of man-made climate change. If you don’t know him, you should. If you do know him, you should know about his recent Rolling Stone interview.
In this interview, conducted by Jeff Goodell, here’s Hansen on Al Gore: “I’m sorely distressed by his most recent TED talk, where Gore made it sound like we solved the climate problem. Bullshit.”
On Obama’s climate change legacy: “I would give him a D.”
On liberals, Hansen is critical of their money-first attitude toward climate change. “The liberal approach of subsidizing solar panels and windmills doesn’t phase you off fossil fuels, and it never will.” Liberals, he said, are “not addressing the fundamental problem.”
“Young people will have to figure out how to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, or figure out how to live on a radically different planet.”- James Hansen, Rolling Stone, Jan 12-26, 2017
Left-leaning Democrats, as opposed to neo-liberal Democrats, are split as to how to proceed after the abominable 2016 primary/election fiasco. Some, like Michael Moore, Thomas Frank, and many others, want to take back control of the party from the neo-liberals. It’s our party, the party of the people, they would say. The rest think the mission is a fool’s errand—the party is too corrupt or too ineffective, or both. Count Hansen in the latter group.
“We need a revolutionary third party, that takes no money from lobbyists,” Hansen said. We agree. The two-party system does the job it’s designed to do—sap the huge energy of tens of millions of voters, dissipating that energy into foolish squabbles and false dichotomies. The recent Presidential campaign offered us a bad choice between a climate change denier (who changed his mind supposedly, then offered Rex Tillerson as his choice for Secretary of State) and Hillary Clinton, whose strong ties to the energy industry make it very unlikely she would do enough to fight this truly terrifying, oncoming problem. That’s a choice between doing more damage, on the one hand, and doing nowhere-near-enough to slow down the damage, on the other. There’s another choice—taking serious action. “Whether that can be done without a new party that’s founded on [tackling climate change], I’m not sure.”
Hansen is an advocate of new, alternative-type nuclear power. “We’ve got to develop a new generation of nuclear-power plants, which use thorium-fueled molten salt reactors…that fundamentally cannot have a meltdown. These types of reactors also reduce nuclear waste to a very small fraction of what it is now. If we don’t think about nuclear power, then we will leave a more dangerous world for young people. Young people will have to figure out how to get carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, or figure out how to live on a radically different planet.”
We need realistic, science-based solutions, solutions that quickly move to slow down the amount of carbon we’re putting into the atmosphere. We want to keep the lights on at night, without destroying the planet in the process. There are ways to go about meeting our goals, but not by capitulating to a reckless financial sector, to what Wendell Berry has called “corporate gigantism,” and by a hopelessly inept two-party non-political system.