'Neanderthal' ... Scientist James Hansen responds to Joe Oliver - Macleans.ca

‘Neanderthal’ … Scientist James Hansen responds to Joe Oliver


As Washington correspondent Luiza Ch. Savage has reported, Natural Resources Joe Oliver had some choice words for James Hansen this week.

During his appearance in Washington, Oliver was asked about the recently retired NASA scientist, a key and noted opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Here’s Oliver:

“There is no tar in the oil sands, that’s why we refer to it as oil sands. Secondly, with respect to James Hansen, recently with NASA, I mean, he was the one who said, I think four years ago, that if we go ahead with the development of the oil sands it’s “game over for the climate.” Well, this is exaggerated rhetoric. It’s frankly nonsense. I don’t know why he said it, but he should be ashamed of having said it. It’s one-one thousandth of global emissions. Coal fired electricity in the U.S. is well over 30 times that. I wonder why the focus on an area when there are 999 more important areas to focus on. Quite frankly, I think that kind of exaggerated rhetoric, that kind of hyperbole, doesn’t do the cause any good at all. People are sensible. Americans and Canadians are logical people. When they are presented with predictions four years ago that in four years we are doomed – and we’re not — it frankly undercuts an issue that is very important.”

On the House this weekend on CBC, Hansen is asked about Oliver’s comments.

“Well, the current government is a Neanderthal on this issue,” he tells host Evan Solomon. “Many of the governments are denying and trying to ignore what’s going to happen a few decades downstream. They’re only worried about the next two or three years.”

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