No two climate scientists are as known for playing politics and activism, and throwing stones, as much as former NASA Director Dr. James Hansen and Penn State’s Dr. Michael E. Mann. But, being the sausage factory that politics is, it’s inevitable that people like this will eventually compromise their principles.
As they carry, and often wield as a political weapon, the mantle of scientific authority while engaged in their activist pursuits it comes at the risk of raising fair questions regarding their own motivations. Unfortunately and unfairly, this will also raise suspicions and cynicism about other scientists in their field, in the broader scientific community, and the great many more people examining and bringing forth policy options.
Case in point. Many of us have heard that the ongoing non-approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline in the United States has led to a flood of bottle-necked and discounted oil sands crude flowing into the American Midwest. This, we can be sure, has been a boon to states like Michigan and Illinois.
Actually, according to online activist news and opinion host, Grist, quoting Consumer Watchdog researcher Judy Dugan, there is a “$20 to $30 per barrel discount on Canadian crude oil that Keystone XL developers seek to erase.”
That’s right. If Keystone is approved, western Canadian oil would stand to earn an extra $20 to $30 dollars per barrel. That’s a hell of a discount.
Now a word about the US Midwest. Prior to becoming President, Barack Obama was a Senator and the state that he represented and served as his powerbase, and from which he built a successful campaign for the Oval Office was none other than Illinois. In the years following his election one of the chief architects of that campaign, a man named Rahm Emanual actually left Obama’s side in DC to run and win the mayoralty of Illinois’ largest city, Chicago.
So we know who is benefiting, there. The political impetus for President Obama to stall Keystone is quite clear and apparent.
But that doesn’t explain where James Hansen and Michael Mann fit in. Both are strident, according to most sane people and as this article hopes to demonstrate, overly strident, opponents of almost any fossil fuels and infrastructure development. They sell the activist notion that it’s simply a matter of stopping the use of fossil-fuels, as soon as possible, and to insult anyone who disagrees (even many activist policy proponents, or a politician citing science). Why they can just go pound sand and sit with the moral degenerates.
But when Mann and Hansen turned their focus on KXL, sending all that cheap Canadian oil to the Midwest (Call it Canada’s little involuntary contribution to rebuilding or the final demolition of Detroit), the companies reaping that big lucrative political reward in Chicago and Detroit, is none other than Marathon Oil and its affiliate (Not to mention Michael Mann’s favourite boogieman to accuse any dissenters to his alarmist madness of being under the pay of) Koch Industries.
Nice lobbying you’ve been doing there Jim. You better wipe the pet-coke from your growing nose, Mike.