James Hansen is used to speaking his mind. It was twenty years ago that one of the world’s leading climate scientists, first warned the US Congress about the dangers of global warming. “It is time to stop waffling”, he said.
For twenty years the world has waffled aimlessly in its response to the issue, guided in part by the oil companies, who led a campaign of disinformation to try and delay any action on climate change.
So now Hansen will used the anniversary to call for the chief executives of large fossil fuel companies to be put on trial for high crimes against humanity and nature, accusing them of actively spreading doubt about global warming in the same way that tobacco companies blurred the links between smoking and cancer.
Speaking before Congress again, he will accuse companies such as ExxonMobil of being fully aware of the disinformation about climate change they are spreading.
In an interview with the Guardian he said: “When you are in that kind of position, as the CEO of one the primary players who have been putting out misinformation even via organisations that affect what gets into school textbooks, then I think that’s a crime.”
Hansen is also considering personally targeting members of Congress who have a poor track record on climate change in the coming November elections. He will campaign to have several of them unseated.