NASA’s James Hansen is a hero on the left. He was among the first people to ask Congress to step up its control of the economy to decrease carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This week marks the 20th anniversary of Hansen’s first Capitol Hill testimony and he is on a media tour promoting his latest central planning solutions for the economy. Yesterday he told the House that although the left could stop all domestic oil drilling, it had no hope of stopping other countries from developing their resources:

CO2 from oil is going to get into the atmosphere. You’re not going to be able to tell Saudi Arabia and Russia, the countries that have oil, not to sell their oil.

Hansen’s solution is to eliminate coal power plants by 2030. He says he would allow coal plants with carbon-sequestration technology to continue, but fails to acknowledge the fact that carbon-sequestration dreams are proving impossible to turn into reality.

Without coal power plants, our economy will be absolutely crippled. Forbes reports this week:

Coal generates half of America’s electricity. … So how will this scenario play out if more plants don’t get built? The first thing is that utilities will burn more natural gas. There is excess capacity now in gas-fired electric generators, currently used for peak loads and for filling in gaps during maintenance and plant breakdowns. (Electricity has an unresolved, annoying feature–it cannot be stored in any useful quantities, and must be produced the instant it’s needed.)

But that margin of safety will disappear in only a few years, according to NERC. Electric rates, especially at peak times, will then soar–as much as tenfold. After that, we may see forced conservation, meaning voluntary or involuntary rationing, or even blackouts in rotation among business and residential customers. Utilities could give consumers the choice of staying cool by paying a lot more for the privilege.