In his final testimony submitted to the Iowa Utilities Board on the proposed coal-fired power plant in Iowa, NASA’s James Hansen used a very provocative metaphor about the trains that deliver coal:
If we cannot stop the building of more coal-fired power plants, those coal trains will be death trains — no less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.
The President and CEO of the National Mining Association wrote Hansen a letter (posted here by Hansen with his response) complaining:
The suggestion that coal utilization for electricity generation can be equated with the systematic extermination of European Jewry is both repellent and preposterous…. I believe you owe the hard-working men and women of the coal mining and railroad industries an apology and respectfully request that you refrain from making such comments in the future.
Hansen’s reply was:
There is nothing scientifically invalid about the above paragraph. If this paragraph makes you uncomfortable, well, perhaps it should.
I have a slightly different view of the metaphor.