Monday, January 30, 2006

NASA to Scientists: Shutup!

For those of you who dont know him, James Hansen discovered of global warming. Well, not quite, but he has been the alarm bell since 1988 warning governments and business leaders that the heat trapping gases CO2 and NOx are causing climate fluctuations that wouldn't otherwise be happening. Bill McKibben features a full run-through of Hansen's expereince on the Senate floor back in 1989 in his book End of Nature. If you haven't read it...pick it up.

Hansen now says that NASA and administration officials have been asked to review all his interview requests, coming lectures, papers and postings to the Goddard Insitute website often before they are released. I guess the odd piece here is why are public affairs officials reviewing scientific data and results being posted publicly on a website by one of the world's renowned climate scientists?

Well apparently they're doing it alot.

Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the space agency said there was no effort to silence Dr. Hansen. "That's not the way we operate here at NASA," Mr. Acosta said. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

He said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen.

Except when the policy statements are tied to imperical data from one of the most accomplished climate scientists in the world. Don't we PAY him for his opinion? Isn't this like paying a basketball fan to go out and play for Kobe Bryant? Let the man talk! He's smart! Its why we pay him tax dollars.

And here's where it gets interesting:

The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

Almost sounds as if it was cut from a movie script. The scary piece of this is that now no scientist can get on a call with press unless several public affairs officials from NASA are on the call as well. Are they translating something? What the heck is the point other than to twist results in the name of political gain?

PS: Arthur over at Its Getting Hot in Here has a great post on this as well.


Anonymous said...

Nice site!
[url=]My homepage[/url] | [url=]Cool site[/url]

Anonymous said...

Well done!
My homepage | Please visit

Anonymous said...

Good design! |