NASA tries to silence its top climate researcher

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:11 AM GMT on January 30, 2006

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NASA�s top climate researcher has been told by his superiors to stop voicing his opinions on climate change. Dr. James Hansen, director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in a New York Times interview that the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since a Dec. 6 lecture at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he gave his personal views that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles. Furthermore, he expressed his opinion that without United States leadership, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

Dr. Hansen is one of the world�s foremost climate researchers. He has published hundreds of papers and testified numerous times before Congress on the issue of climate change. He said that NASA headquarters officials had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists. He was warned of �dire consequences� if his public statements continued. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions, noting that NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

A public affairs official at NASA said that government scientists were free to discuss scientific issues, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen. Since Dr. Hansen�s December 6 talk, NASA has rejected several media requests to interview him, including one by National Public Radio (NPR). According to Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer responsible for the NASA Goddard Institute, a NASA public affairs official appointed by the White House, George Deutsch, rejected the NPR interview request. He called NPR �the most liberal� media outlet in the country, and that his job was �to make the president look good.� Deutsch denied making the statements. McCarthy disagrees, saying she has no reason to lie.

The effort to control information coming out of NASA echoes similar directives issued last Fall in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when on September 29, a memo aimed all National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration employees (including those in the National Weather Service) ordered them not to speak to the national media unless the interview request was first approved by public affairs personnel. I talked to a contact at NWS who confirmed that the memo was indeed sent out, and was likely done in response to the political fallout from the Katrina disaster.

Both NASA and NOAA have emphasized that the rules preventing scientists from speaking freely to the media had always been in place, but that the rules were being enforced more rigorously now. I say the new enforced restrictions are ridiculous. Our scientists have never needed these restrictions in the past. Our tax-payer salaried scientists should be free to speak out on more than just their scientific findings without the chilling oversight of politically-appointed officials concerned with �making the president look good.� Climate change is of critical importance to all of us, and we should hear the opinions of those scientists who understand the issue the best.

Jeff Masters

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111. hurricanechaser
5:31 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Hey Weatherwannabe,

You know your screen name suits you very well, wannabe.

Yes, there are alot words written in my previous post which is simply a continuous reiteration of the same FACTS that are cast aside, because they can't be denied nor are appreciated by the alarmists like yourself, snowboy, and too many others.

I specifically chose to be redundant in hopes that repetition of these obvious facts might be successful in freeing yourself from believing everything you hear coming out of the scientific community and the main stream media which are very liberal as a whole.

One more time for you and the rest who can only resort to political attacks and personal ones as well, with those you can't intellectually debate on the merits, or in your case, the lack thereof.

It is impossible for anyone(this includes every scientist)to ever know IF the current warming trend globally was even affected by human induced causes much less the absurd alarmist view that says that this warming was a DIRECT result of it.

Please, someone, anyone, tell me how you can PROVE your unsubstantiated GUESS of human induced global warming as the DIRECT cause of it?

The FACT is you can't and never will be able to do so. Simply put, we have no idea whether the current temperature increases wouldn't have occurred(or to what degree)had we never released any greenhouse gas emissions, plain and simple.

Those like snowboy who keeps believing in the computer model predictions, that in reality, are only as good as the knowledge we currently have and the speculative information we put into them don't PROVE anything other than what could be possible according to the erroneous data put into them. The real travesty is that the computer models predicting this unrealistic future warming have given results based upon information that was intentionally unreasonable(using the idea of more than double the current CO2 releases which have not risen but have decreased since the 1990s)and other skewed data. This has led to the assumption by those like yourself who have accepted such uncredible modeling data at face value, because it fits into your own political desired point of view.

In contrast, other computer modeling data and studies suggest a completely different result and those are ignored because they contradict what the liberal minded scientific community and main stream media want others to believe.

As a result of all of the aforementioned, no computer model, scientist, politician, janitor, car salesman, or any other person for that matter can ever PROVE the concept of human induced global warming. It still comes down to nothing more than a consensus subjective opinion of a majority whose natural allegiance is to a liberal political perspective.

Moreover, this is why you will never see anyone ascribing to this alarmist point of view, being able to provide any substantiated proof, because it is inherently impossible to prove it in the first place.

I personally believe in the undeniable and FACTUAL cycles of NATURAL climate variability for which no one can or has denied has actually occurred numerous times in the past and will NATURALLY do so again. This is a FACT not simply based on subjectivity, but observed FACT. Therefore, it seems far more logical for any objective person(without a distorted view based upon political loyalties)to expect that we are in a current warming phase of these NATURAL climate cycles.

That being said, I have not once said that it is impossible that human induced greenhouse gas emissions have had ZERO effect on our climate. On the other hand, I believe that any such effect has been and will continue to be relatively insignificant and possibly unnoticeable(if we could've compared today's temps with those of the past century without any greenhouse gas emissions)in comparison with these NATURAL observed climate changes.

If you will notice one thing about my posts, I don't suggest anything is FACTUAL that is not undeniable nor has not already been proven (does my BEST EDUCATED GUESS sound familiar to anyone). In my personal opinion, a simple majority of peoples subjective opinions is a very poor standard by which to declare anything, much less this issue, as fact.

Please let me clarify, I personally believe we are in a warming phase of NATURAL climate variability that has occurred many times before and that human activities MAY have had a very minimal effect upon this NATURAL climate cycle. Please notice how I didn't say that it is IMPOSSIBLE that greenhouse gas emissions have had some effect on global temperatures, but simply that it is highly likely that whatever effect if any, has and will be minimal at best.

The biggest problem I have with those like you, snowboy, and the rest of you alarmists is that you are accepting the idea that human activities are the DIRECT cause of it,and not simply a secondary effect upon it. This is not only unprovable and completely unsubstantiated, but defies common sense to be quite honest when one considers the obvious effects of NATURAL climate variability.

Now, I want someone here to PROVE that there is NO WAY that NATURAL climate variability is not the actual DIRECT cause of this global temperature increase. Simply put, you can't no matter how you try to manipulate this debate.:)

Ok, I have purposely chosen to once again be repetitive so that you may actually use your God given common sense rather than your self appeasing blind faith in something that is completely unprovable and illogical when assuming it to be the DIRECT cause of global temperature increases.

However, you have the absolute right to believe that humans are the DIRECT cause of it if you like, just as you have the right to believe in the tooth-fairy, Easter bunny, and Santa Clause as well.:) In other words, the TRUTH (whatever it may actually be)will not and cannot change regardless of anyone's personal opinion of it.

Please don't mischaracterize that statement to suggest that I am saying I know the TRUTH (in this case), but rather that none of us do and it is absurd to read such articles and posts suggesting that human induced global warming is indeed factual, when objectivity and simple logic alone suggests it's at the very most a secondary effect on the NATURAL climate changes.

One more thing, I have spent the past nine years studying and researching on this very topic and that is why I am so adamant about my beliefs on this issue. It is important to note that I too began my study by simply accepting what has been the popular alarmist view being propagated by the main stream media and other various sources for the past couple of decades. I look back and wonder why I could've blindly accepted something at face value, that is not only unprovable but very illogical in regards to it being a DIRECT result of greenhouse gas emissions.

I also want to take a moment to say that I won't be able to post for a few weeks as a result of my current living situation and that I believe F5 does an excellent job of sharing my point of view and the logical reasons for it. Therefore, I hope each of you have a great week and I look forward to talking with you again when I am able to do so.:)


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110. ProgressivePulse
6:56 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
French Canadians hate the US lol
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109. ProgressivePulse
6:54 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
If I were a smart investor, I would buy up land outside flood levels in New Orleans.
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108. arcturus
6:53 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Doesn't Bush have some French Canadian relatives up there.

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107. ProgressivePulse
6:53 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Making more sense now Arc
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106. ProgressivePulse
6:51 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
That's why Canada shifted to a more republican like govenment
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105. globalize
6:51 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
That's for sure. Mayor Nagin should have said New Orleans will be 'chocolate syrup' in the end.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
104. arcturus
6:48 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
In ten years give or take, Canada's climate will be similar to the US. We are already tracing the 48 replacement states on your map. Cause its going to be a little too Africa like hot down here.

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103. globalize
6:48 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Sorry Boldman. Watchout Snowboy!
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102. globalize
6:45 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Now that we've got the ice caps melting, we can sink those rigs like straws in a milkshake. And I heard there's shale oil on the mainland too. Here we come.
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
101. theboldman
10:46 PM PST on January 29, 2006
no im not canadian that was for snowboy who is
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100. arcturus
6:45 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
And it will be easier when its warmer. We are getting close to manageable warm temperatures up there.

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99. globalize
6:40 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Boldman, if you're really Canadian, get that Maple leaf outta my face. We're comin' up there real soon to dig us out some cheap oil. Hear that!?
Member Since: August 30, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 1150
98. theboldman
10:42 PM PST on January 29, 2006
anyone call for a gold star lol
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97. arcturus
6:40 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Polarize and distract the public. Thats entertainment.

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95. weatherwannabe
6:39 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
global get the second gold star
94. arcturus
6:36 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Right. It's like a big sitcom .

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92. globalize
6:33 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Actually, the political parties only bash each other for public consumption.
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90. theboldman
10:30 PM PST on January 29, 2006
here it is the real explanation for politics

Republican Vs. Democrat
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89. theboldman
10:25 PM PST on January 29, 2006
for snowboy lol
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88. theboldman
10:24 PM PST on January 29, 2006
Canadian Flag
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87. ProgressivePulse
6:19 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Look out the window meathod = I look out my window in West Palm and see warmer than normal temps in the high 70's to low 80's. My father in Southern Micigan looks out the window and see's a lake that has never been unfrozen this time of year (lived there 20 years). My aunt in St. Paul Minnesota is seeing Ice Sculptures melting for the first time, temps in the 40's. Friend in Ancorage Alaska is in one of thier coldest winters ever -40 to -60.
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86. weathermantrey
6:18 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
I think it's funny when ever single time there's a disaster or emergency, bush "flies in from his vacation at his ranch in texas to survey the damage" Does he ever leave that d*mn ranch?
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85. weatherwannabe
6:18 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
I voted for Pretzledent Bush 25 times and I live in Ohio!
84. weatherwannabe
6:16 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
global - I dont think there is a day on the ranch that Bush isnt happier than an old bull that he the Pretzledent of 'Merica.
83. weathermantrey
6:15 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Snowboy, what can i say i didn't vote for him... :)
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82. weathermantrey
6:11 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Human nature resists change, we need stability... yet nature changes and we can't do anything about it.... so we need to cope with it... right now, we can not sustain life with the use of CO2 emission. so we have to cope with it... unless somebody on this board doesn't drive a car or buy virtually any product made b/c most require some kind of of CO2 emission
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81. globalize
6:09 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Dubya never really wanted to be Pres anyway. He just wanted to keep the ball rollin' in Texas with the 'good ole boys.' They really hogtied him and took him to DC against his will. That's really not as facetious as you might think.
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80. weatherwannabe
6:12 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Arc is close but he sounds a little tinfoily. It's not simple but arc knows that.

79. arcturus
6:10 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
It does not matter Democratic or communist, behind the facade
the ruling elite laugh at the public cattle they control.

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78. theboldman
10:12 PM PST on January 29, 2006
lol wannabe at least we can add some humor and laughs o this convo
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77. theboldman
10:10 PM PST on January 29, 2006
agree arcturus i always though politicans were people that got their position by tellin a bunch of lies thats how they make it in life by lyin
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76. snowboy
6:03 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Weathermantrey the US was improving (like other countries) on the environment until the current admin came into power, you're decades behind now. On air quality in particular, which we notice so strongly up here, all the progress of the 80s and 90s has been undone...
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555
75. weatherwannabe
6:09 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
cheney is definately in the closet. Anyone who is that angry has to be repressing some serious sheeeeeeet. Rove might be his boy toy

74. ProgressivePulse
6:05 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
I am just referring to the look out the window meathod. Proof is in the pudding, same reason they are not making a catagory 6 hurricane. Wilma was a 6 - it is time to accept what is happening and react. Government goals across the board, local goals across the board. I said it before and I will say it again, I am dreading next years cane season.
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73. HeavySnow
1:08 AM EST on January 30, 2006
They took our jobs! And our SNOW!
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72. globalize
6:09 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Here, here, Arcturus!
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71. weatherwannabe
6:07 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
bold I start things I regret on a daily basis. lol
70. HeavySnow
1:07 AM EST on January 30, 2006
crackin' up here wannabe. He's a pricker bush or is that cheney?
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69. arcturus
6:03 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
An upper hierarchy of elite composed of the wealthiest familes
and heads of corporations etc. runs the world. Politicians nothing more than mere figureheads to give the population the delusion that they have some control. Follow the money.

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68. theboldman
10:07 PM PST on January 29, 2006
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67. theboldman
10:07 PM PST on January 29, 2006
please wannabe not takin sides but dont start somethin you will reget later (:
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66. theboldman
10:06 PM PST on January 29, 2006
oh nope was just wonderin what that meant bush is bush but ya explaigned it so never mind (:
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64. HeavySnow
1:04 AM EST on January 30, 2006
Don't forget snowboy, Darwin was wrong too. Let's teach that science is crazy and intelligent design caused that strange weather.
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63. theboldman
10:03 PM PST on January 29, 2006
snowboy thats internesting i think california the part im in is pretty normal for this time of year we have bee around average all winter and last summer i think as well. well at least for my little town so not everywhere is experiencing abnormal weather.
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62. HeavySnow
1:03 AM EST on January 30, 2006
It's meant as that and as truth of course.
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61. snowboy
5:56 AM GMT on January 30, 2006
Progressive, that's what's so funny about the posts from F5, Chaser and others - the weather is clearly abnormal but they're absolutely insistent on making the lame point that it can't be PROVEN to be caused in any way from human activity. As if the lack of proof matters.

Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 2555

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Dr. Masters co-founded wunderground in 1995. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. Co-blogging with him: Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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