" "HUMAN-MADECLIMATE CHANGEPITS THE RICH AND POWERFULAGAINST THEYOUNG AND UNBORN, AGAINST THE DEFENSELESS,AND AGAINST NATUREr James Hansen delivered this speech on27 September 2010 at Freedom Plaza inWashington DC before a march to theWhite House in protest of mountain topremoval coal mining and the lack of government'saction on reducing carbon emissions.We hold this truth to be self evident - all people arecreated equal. That truth is the basis for equalprotection of the laws - a right guaranteed by ourConstitution. "All people" includes young people,mountain people, poor people. Our government wasinstituted to protect the rights of all people.We are gathered here today to draw attention to the failure of our government to protect the rights ofthe people, and failure to provide equal protection ofthe laws.People have suffered a long train of abuses, invariablywith the same objective - to enrich the few at theexpense of the many.First, the government is failing to protect the future ofyoung people, knowingly allowing and even subsidisingactions that benefit the few at the expense of thepublic and at the expense of all life sharing this Earth.Second, the legislative and executive branches of government knowingly propose actions thatdemonstrably and utterly fail to preserve our climateand the environment for life.Third, our government allows and contributes to a greathoax, perpetrated on the public by moneyed interests,aimed at confusing the public about the reality ofclimate change. We are in danger of becoming the landfor the rich and the home of the bribe.More than 200 years after the founding of our nation,we face a great moral crisis. Human-made climatechange pits the rich and powerful against the youngand unborn, against the defenseless, and againstnature. The moral issue is comparable to slavery andcivil rights.Solution for civil rights was provided by thecombination of people in the streets and the courts,which provided equal protection of the laws andordered desegregation. Brave people have beenstanding up in West Virginia, in Kentucky, inTennessee, in Utah, in Australia, in the UnitedKingdom, around the world.But now is the time to go on the offensive. We shouldnot be begging courts to forgive the brave people whoprotest. We must ask the courts to order thegovernment to present plans to phase down fossil fuelemissions at a pace dictated by science, a pacestabilising climate, preserving nature and a future foryoung people, providing young people equal protectionof the laws.We can bring that case. But we can win only if thepublic understands the situation,sees through the lies of themoneyed interests, sees what isneeded to solve the problem.As long as fossil fuels are thecheapest energy, we will not solvethe addiction. There will be moremountaintop removal, longwallmining, tar sands, deep oceandrilling, shale gas, seekingthe last drop in the mostpristine places.EQUAL PROTECTION OF THE LAWS120GLOBAL VOICESDR JAMES HANSEN, DIRECTOR, NASA GODDARD INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES ADJUNCT PROFESSOR, EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITYD
GLOBAL VOICES109We must put a fee on carbon, collected from fossil fuelcompanies, with all proceeds distributed to the public.One hundred percent or fight! Most people will getmore in the monthly green check than they pay inincreased energy prices. Our economy and innovationswill be stimulated. We will move to clean energies.A coalition is building for a carbon fee with 100 percent distributed to the public in a monthly check. InOctober this coalition will launch a campaign, MillionLetter March, gathering letters showing that the peopleinsist on an honest equitable solution. Please join the March.Let us resolve to have a rebirth - a rebirth of our nation,a rebirth of equality of opportunity, true equality - witha government of the people, by the people and for thepeople - all of the people. nABOUT THE AUTHORDr James Hansen is the Director of NASA GoddardInstitute for Space Studies in New York, and AdjunctProfessor of Earth Sciences at Columbia University'sEarth Institute. He is well known for his testimony onclimate change to Congress in the 1980s that helpedraise awareness of the climate change issue. Sincethen, Dr Hansen has drawn attention to the danger ofpassing climate tipping points producing irreversibleclimate impacts that would yield a different planetfrom the one on which civilisation developed.Dr Hansen received the World Wildlife Federation'sConservation Medal from the Duke of Edinburgh in 2006 and the same year was designated by Time Magazine as one of the world's 100 mostinfluential people.