Two men clashed at a recent U.S. Senate hearing. One was a pre-eminent climate-scientist-turned-activist. The other was Wisconsin’s senior U.S. senator.  Shame on you, Sen. Ron Johnson.

Johnson, a millionaire who married into his money, sparred with climatologist James Hansen, director of the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at the Columbia University Earth Institute. Spouting off about glaciers in Wisconsin and other nonsense, Johnson proclaimed, “The science is far from settled.” Almost 100 percent of climate scientists would disagree, but Johnson is either possessed of higher intelligence or talking points from the Koch brothers.

He is among a clot of climate deniers who have blood on their hands. The League of Conservation Voters took him on a few months ago, claiming in TV ads that he voted for “unlimited carbon pollution.” Johnson protested, but PolitiFact Wisconsin checked his dismal voting record and found the statement to be unconditionally true.

PolitiFact added that Johnson has received $109,550 from oil and gas interests since the 2010 election. He has voted consistently to put no restrictions on carbon emissions.

Johnson, who by the way rarely directly interacts with constituents, is willing to put partisan politics ahead of human life. He and his pals practice ideology-based pseudo-science, supported by those who make billions from carbon consumption.

As PolitiFact noted, the world’s leading science academies have long warned that the planet is warming. In August 2013 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international panel of scientists, reiterated the role of human beings, saying in a draft report the odds are at least 95 percent that humans are the main cause of the warming in recent decades. Dozens of other commissions and panels have come to the same conclusion. But let’s not allow solid science get in the way of profit-taking and political posturing.

Hansen, who formerly was head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, appeared at the hearing to oppose the Keystone pipeline and argue for a modest carbon fee that would slowly rein in carbon consumption.

His is the story of a true American patriot. The son of a tenant farmer in Iowa, he made his way to the University of Iowa, where his zeal for knowledge was nurtured. During the latter part of his career at NASA, he dealt with efforts by the Bush administration to throttle him. Since leaving NASA, he has become increasing vocal on climate change. In a touching and informative TED Talk, Hansen says he’s doing it for his grandchildren.

He admits there was a time in his life that he could have called himself a “reticent Midwest scientist.” It’s safer that way, but those days are over. He knows too much. Watch the video and see for yourself. The reality will be more “New Orleans-like events,” droughts and other weather extremes if we don’t act. Drought will parch the Heartland, causing worldwide food shortages, Hansen says.

Johnson loudly and rudely disagrees. The difference is Hansen knows what he’s talking about. Johnson is all bluster and bombast. The old saying “Ignorance is bliss” may help frauds like Ron Johnson sleep at night. But it’s not doing our grandchildren any favors. They will deal with the messes we leave them as the world burns.

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(31) comments


Using "shame on you" causes me to mistrust anything else said.


btw: There are some esoteric sources that suggest some much bigger cosmic and earth core forces at play than the carbon emissions.


I see the Gotch/Ego has changed screen names again. His tune never varies, though.


Here is an alternate beginning for the second paragraph: John Kerry a millionaire who married into his money......

Here is an alternate beginning for the fifth paragraph: Barack Obama, who by the way rarely directly interacts with constituents.......

The Capital Times will long be remembered for being predictable and Barack Obama will long be remembered for being the first black president. There is nothing new under the sun.


Actually Kerry's mother was a Forbes. He had money before he married Terry. Of course Terry did have a few dollars more than he did.


clean air, water and soil are worth fighting for, even if there was no possible way puny little humans could effect something as big as the Earth's climate.

so be conservative, and use less electricity, less methane, less gasoline, less oil, coal etc.
live closer to work/school/shopping
walk, ride a bike for transportation, take public transit - where safe and available. and make those things more available.

or what?

just keep building more highways?
keep invading oil-rich countries so that we can control their natural resources for our consumption?
keep bailing out the motor vehicle industry and Wall Street's bad gambles on unregulated derivatives - and giving tax breaks to oily corporations?
yeah, what we're doing is working so great...
for us, and for our air.


Honorary Kentucky Colonel

Dr. James Hansen (NASA/GISS) is an embarrassment to the agency, but don't believe me.

"The difference is Hansen knows what he’s talking about."

Sure he does; he was right on the money (taxpayor-funded climate research granting money that is) with his 10 year tipping point issued in 1988. Perhaps math isn't his area of expertise?

Senator Johnson should have asked him about this unilateral jiggling of past temperature records, incuriously all in the same direction.

Or he could ask where GST's are in relation to Hansen's wildly optimistic 1988 'Scenario C'

Talk about your inconvenient truths.


Dubious claims from dubious sources, Botch.

wattsupwiththat is run by Anthony Watts, a former weatherman who apparently never graduated from college. The Guardian, a highly respected newspaper in the UK, described that web site as "highly partisan and untrustworthy", and that Watt "risks polluting his legitimate skepticism about the scientific process and methodologists underpinning climate science with his accompanying politicized commentary." David Suzuki, a scientist and Canada's answer to David Attenborough, stated that "There are many credible sources of information, and they aren't blog sites run by weathermen like Anthony Watts." I've read several weeks of entries, and they're mostly in the half- to three-quarter to full misrepresentation category.

pindanpost is run by Tom Hartley, an Aussie who was self-employed from 1980-2000, and has run a plant nursery since then. Also, way off on the right wing. Which is his right ... but his views on James Hansen are groundless, and there is no reason any sane person would accept his views over Hansen's on climate change.

Honorary Kentucky Colonel

Why don't you tell us what Hansen's own fellow employees have to say, or is it just easier to malign the messenger. Hey, if I was an unquestioning true believer like you, I'd avoid those things like the plague too.

Same thing with Hansen's Scenarios A, B, & C, which Hartley lists. Those are pretty well documented, by Hansen as a matter of fact, and you choose to attack the messenger again?

Why not just admit that GST's are lower than his wildly optimistic Scenario C, which assumed ZERO increased atmospheric CO2 from 1990-2000 and none afterward.

It is the truth after all, no matter how hard you pound your little fists and stomp your little Birkenstock-covered feet and secularly pray that emotional truth,(that which you wish truth to be) prevails.

Latest addition to the weighty collection of the Annals of Climate Lunacy; Flight 370 can't be found because of, get this, Global Warming!

From a news source you probably cherish.

And you know as well as I do that if Suzuki were a skeptic with the same fervor as he overstates his Alarmism, you'd be chastising him up one side and down the other.

Why not bring up another true believer, Weepin' Bill McKibben?


The magnitude of your egotism is exceeded only by the depth of your ignorance. What, pray tell, caused you to hate the field of climatology? For that is what you're attacking, not Jim Hansen.

Honorary Kentucky Colonel

koala (below);

"The magnitude of your egotism is exceeded only by the depth of your ignorance."

My goodness! My only saving grace would be that your 'perception of human worth and intent' modeling is as flawless as those upon which the UNIPCC is hanging its epic rent-seeking shakedown opportunities.

Your ignoring and avoiding Hansen's glaring shortcomings are clearly evident and painfully clumsy to say the least. And that, as you're uncomfortably aware, is not the least of it.

I ask why people Hansen worked with believe he's an embarrassment and all of a sudden, I'm a 'hater.' Gosh, don't you think I have feelings? I don't, but you could still pretend, just like the Alarmists (very convincingly to some) pretend the sky is falling.

Granted, those fellow workers may have an ax to grind. Hansen has been a media darling for true believer crowd, and that will tend to foster one's latent megalomaniacal tendencies and bring them to the surface.

This could inspire a sinister jealous rage within those not so recognized, leaving them with nothing more than character assassination as their only method of retaliation.

He's amassed a pretty nice chunk of change while blatantly violating the Hatch Act, all the while claiming he's been muzzled. Over 2000 interviews and articles might indicate otherwise, but the willfully blind will still see a persecuted martyr.

My question about how his well documented, albeit real real scary, Scenarios have stood up would also be rather easy to answer too. But it's much easier for high-level-thinkers to duck & parry in a very (self-described) sophisticated manner.

And call those with whom they disagree "haters."

So, the Climate Scientists at Mother Jones think the inability to locate Flight 370 is because of Global Warming.

Does the fact that they now believe that they've found it mean that Global Warming has been overstated and isn't as bad as they thought?

Whatever they come up with, I won't/don't hate them, or the field of Climatology, or you.


Mr. Berry, there is nothing "shameful" in Senator Johnson's skepticism over climate change. In your climate change article in December of 1012 you note the difficult challenge in educating the world about climate science and point out those difficulties when you cited the Personal Carbon Allowances White Paper as proof.

So is Johnson at fault or is it the fault of those who have taken up this cause to educate? The models are incomplete, constantly changing and so are the predictions. Toss in comments from the uneducated who blame Hurricane Sandy on man made climate change and you set the stage for skepticism. The world didn't have hurricanes and droughts before man made climate change? Who is being "shameful"?

And then man made climate change believers offer no real solutions. None. The trivial things we do like building a few windmills or slightly more efficient cars have no impact whatsoever on the global rate of man made carbon emissions. There exists no plan to stop the rate of increase in carbon emissions let alone reduce those emissions.

Suppose Johnson believed? What do you or anyone else expect him to do? Wear a button, put a bumper sticker on his car? Learn the secret handshake? The fact is you nor anyone else has any idea.

You seem to care about this issue so I am sure you have read the IPCC studies. Lots of paper, lots of numbers, no solutions.

Nobody gets a merit badge for being "right". Nobody brings there boss a problem without a list of solutions. This is no different. Believers in man made climate change need to put real, viable solutions on the table and if they can't do that then then need to let this go and spend their time and resources helping the planet prepare for the coming changes.

I joke about this but am actually quite serious. Madison Gas & Electric needs to put down a proposal for a nuclear plant in Dane County and believers in climate change need to sell it to the community. Then they need to have a serious rethink about the population of the planet, the United States, Wisconsin and Dane County. Should Madison be progressive and begin a program of zero population growth?

Isn't growth baked into our society? We want our communities to grow, we want new business, we want GDP growth, in short we want.... more? Well, as a believer in man made climate change you must realize that "more" means using natural resources and energy. Fossil fuels and mined minerals equals growth. Should believers be advocating for economic collapse to save the planet? And again, no, current green technologies are not a viable solution. Unreliable, expensive substitutes for fossil fuel do not work. They are the bucket brigade on the Titanic. Feels good but won't save anyone from drowning.

Calling Johnson "shameful" is disrespectful and the term can just as easily be applied to all of the believers who run around screaming the planet is warming without any solutions to stop it. This has become a political weapon and you Mr. Berry are guilty of using it in an irresponsible manner.

How about you call Obama "shameful" because he is foolish enough to believe that if we toss millions of taxpayers money at failed green energy projects it will fix the problem. Heck, he has done more damage to the cause that Johnson has by being skeptical.


196ski, I offered a concrete set of solutions in response to a similar diatribe you wrote a week or two ago ... and, hey, you agreed with me on several points. So while I understand your rationale in getting all wound about potential solutions to climate change, and it must be personally satisfying to state that NO ONE ("none" in your words) is providing a solution, that is just wrong.

Furthermore, even if you were correct, if you feel that climate change is an issue that must be dealt with, YOU are not off the hook ... YOU should be proposing solutions. Fine, you've proposed (again) nuclear. Which I agreed with, but upped the ante to fusion or thorium fission (much, much safer).

Unless, of course, you don't believe that climate change is a pressing issue.

So which is it ... you don't believe climate change is a pressing issue, or you can't imagine a workable solution? Just state that, and move on.


Yeah, apologies, NONE, isn't completely accurate. NONE is generally what you get from mouthpieces and organizations living off of the climate change model.

Ours, yours mine and a few others, sphere of influence is limited. The real plans for addressing climate change need to come from larger bodies with more influence. That would advance the discussion beyond the believer/nonbeliever argument and stone throwing. Sadly it isn't happening.

I have proposed solutions.
Nuclear power until fusion is viable. As it stands now commercial fusion is 30 to 40 years down the road. But nuclear could be done today. Start with a plan to replace every coal fired plant with a nuclear one. Jobs, energy that is still affordable and an alternative to fossil fuels.
Population control. This planet cannot sustain 7 billion people at anything near our standard of living. China caught a ton of criticism for their one child policy but it did make sense.
After that the options are limited. There is a planet full of people that want higher standards of living. How do we deny them what we have?

Is it a pressing issue? Not in my opinion. First off there isn't a completely workable global solution. We are going to emit more tomorrow than we did today and more next year than this year. That's not opinion, just fact.

The pressing issue right now is our lackluster economy and a lack of good paying jobs, jobs associated with making things, manufacturing, and not supersizing that order. That requires fossil fuels and raw materials. No different than it has ever been. Because of an abundance of cheap energy and raw materials we could regain marketshare lost to other countries that lack our resources. Is that the road we follow or do we institute a cap and trade and continue to price ourselves right out of jobs for the middle class? No brainer for me. We need a vibrant economy with people working if we are going to come up with the solutions for GHG emissions. Successful companies have R&D budgets and innovative people. Efficiencies are the driver and offer the economic payback, that is the payoff.



Your voice has always been one of a rare common sense, thoughtful and respectful gentlemen when posting here I only wish more people would follow your calm rational example of clear linear thinking and polite posting. I thank you.

But for your own edification, the City of Madison's Common Council has provided a law that protects us from anything nuclear. We loyal comrades living inside the Tofu Curtain of the People's Republic of Makistan are living in a "nuclear-free zone". We don't allow any nukes of any kind. It's a law, well, actually a local municipal ordinance.

Perhaps MG&E could apply for a variance, though.

Not only will that penumbra and emanation of law, our tin foil-lined berets and our magic, fair-trade, free-range, hempen homespun u-trow protect and shield us from all evil nukes, it will also helps protect and shield us from any harsh reality.

Thanks again, mano.



It is shameful when others do not believe as you do. It is enlightened when you can understand the point of view of others.



What is shameful is the willful ignorance of johnson considering the bully pulpit that he uses to proclaim that ignorance. He is a disgrace to the citizens of Wisconsin.

At any time during your lifetime did you change your position on any long held belief based on new found knowledge? It sounds like you don't, so that would imply you were born as informed as you now are, rather than having to learn as you progressed through life or the educational system.


I was left-leaning when I was young. Then I grew up.


Yes,some people do go down the wrong path growing up.They are mislead by people that lie to them , are dishonest ,that make false promises.But they really only care about themseleves and the people that bought them.


You're saying you never got an education?

Honorary Kentucky Colonel


"They are mislead by people that lie to them , are dishonest ,that make false promises."

You just nailed the UNIPCC's mission statement and its approach to true believing.


No, what is shameful is some idiot ,that everytime he opens his mouth embarrasses the state of Wisconsin.Almost 100 percent of climate scientists agree on the causes of global warming.But brain dead Ron with no evidence disagrees with them and tells them they are the crazy ones.Ron's a perfect example of what's wrong with American politics.He bought his senate seat with his wife's money and then sold it to the highest bidder,the Koch brothers.What's even more shameful is people like you defend these teaparty nuts no matter how wrong they are.What did you think about them putting their owner's ,the insurance companies before people that needed oral chemo.that's what I call shameful.


The uninformed have heard the dogma that all the experts agree with the liberal beliefs on climate change do it must be true. Please go to mexico and south america and have them switch to electric cars.


So just because liberals believe what people that have spent their whole life studying about global warming, it's wrong? But yet you believe someone like Ron that's in the pockets of people that profit most by ignoring global warming? Sorry, you lost me on the electric car comment.


Scientific facts do not require belief. Every time this topic comes up, you proudly display your ignorance of the scientific facts, and attempt to demean what hundreds of scientists have concluded based on decades of investigations. Your unsupported opinion means no more than the loud noise made by pounding on empty barrels.

What would you have us do to accept your knowingly uniformed view? Deny that CO2 and methane are greenhouse gases? Deny that the level of such gases has increased sharply over the last century? Deny that such increases have been caused by humans? Deny that such increases inexorably lead to increases in global temperature? You simply have no idea what you are talking about if you want us to deny any of these facts.


I have never stated my opinion nor have I demeaned anyone nor have I denied any scientific facts. I pretty much agree with 196. Feel free to argue.


Your are demeaning those scientific views because you state they require belief.


There is a whole lot of belief required to try to stymie the world economy in a vain attempt to fix climate change.


Are theories facts?


The entire record of Senator Johnson is shameful. As a Senator for over three years now, he has done nothing but make a lot of stupid remarks and, by doing so, has embrassed the people of Wisconsin.

I want Russ Feingold to fight Senator Johnson in 2016. Senator Feingold always made Wisconsin proud.


I guess it must be true. The only time Ronny takes his foot out of his mouth, is to change feet!

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