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E.B.E.

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

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This was in the new york times.

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James E. Hansen, top NASA climate scientist, on Friday at the Goddard Institute in Upper Manhattan.

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

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.

Mr. Acosta said other reasons for requiring press officers to review interview requests were to have an orderly flow of information out of a sprawling agency and to avoid surprises. "This is not about any individual or any issue like global warming," he said. "It's about coordination."

Dr. Hansen strongly disagreed with this characterization, saying such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.

"Communicating with the public seems to be essential," he said, "because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."

Dr. Hansen, 63, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at the Goddard Institute in Morningside Heights in Manhattan.

Since 1988, he has been issuing public warnings about the long-term threat from heat-trapping emissions, dominated by carbon dioxide, that are an unavoidable byproduct of burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels. He has had run-ins with politicians or their appointees in various administrations, including budget watchers in the first Bush administration and Vice President Al Gore.

In 2001, Dr. Hansen was invited twice to brief Vice President Dick Cheney and other cabinet members on climate change. White House officials were interested in his findings showing that cleaning up soot, which also warms the atmosphere, was an effective and far easier first step than curbing carbon dioxide.

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for Senator John Kerry.

But Dr. Hansen said that nothing in 30 years equaled the push made since early December to keep him from publicly discussing what he says are clear-cut dangers from further delay in curbing carbon dioxide.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

Dr. Hansen's supervisor, Franco Einaudi, said there had been no official "order or pressure to say shut Jim up." But Dr. Einaudi added, "That doesn't mean I like this kind of pressure being applied."

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.

Among the restrictions, according to Dr. Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided to The Times, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews.

Mr. Acosta said the calls and meetings with Goddard press officers were not to introduce restrictions, but to review existing rules. He said Dr. Hansen had continued to speak frequently with the news media.

But Dr. Hansen and some of his colleagues said interviews were canceled as a result.

In one call, George Deutsch, a recently appointed public affairs officer at NASA headquarters, rejected a request from a producer at National Public Radio to interview Dr. Hansen, said Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer responsible for the Goddard Institute.

Citing handwritten notes taken during the conversation, Ms. McCarthy said Mr. Deutsch called N.P.R. "the most liberal" media outlet in the country. She said that in that call and others, Mr. Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good" and that as a White House appointee that might be Mr. Deutsch's priority.

But she added: "I'm a career civil servant and Jim Hansen is a scientist. That's not our job. That's not our mission. The inference was that Hansen was disloyal."

Normally, Ms. McCarthy would not be free to describe such conversations to the news media, but she agreed to an interview after Mr. Acosta, at NASA headquarters, told The Times that she would not face any retribution for doing so.

Mr. Acosta, Mr. Deutsch's supervisor, said that when Mr. Deutsch was asked about the conversations, he flatly denied saying anything of the sort. Mr. Deutsch referred all interview requests to Mr. Acosta.

Ms. McCarthy, when told of the response, said: "Why am I going to go out of my way to make this up and back up Jim Hansen? I don't have a dog in this race. And what does Hansen have to gain?"

Mr. Acosta said that for the moment he had no way of judging who was telling the truth. Several colleagues of both Ms. McCarthy and Dr. Hansen said Ms. McCarthy's statements were consistent with what she told them when the conversations occurred.

"He's not trying to create a war over this," said Larry D. Travis, an astronomer who is Dr. Hansen's deputy at Goddard, "but really feels very strongly that this is an obligation we have as federal scientists, to inform the public."

Dr. Travis said he walked into Ms. McCarthy's office in mid-December at the end of one of the calls from Mr. Deutsch demanding that Dr. Hansen be better controlled.

In an interview on Friday, Ralph J. Cicerone, an atmospheric chemist and the president of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's leading independent scientific body, praised Dr. Hansen's scientific contributions and said he had always seemed to describe his public statements clearly as his personal views.

"He really is one of the most productive and creative scientists in the world," Dr. Cicerone said. "I've heard Hansen speak many times and I've read many of his papers, starting in the late 70's. Every single time, in writing or when I've heard him speak, he's always clear that he's speaking for himself, not for NASA or the administration, whichever administration it's been."

The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.

Where scientists' points of view on climate policy align with those of the administration, however, there are few signs of restrictions on extracurricular lectures or writing.

One example is Indur M. Goklany, assistant director of science and technology policy in the policy office of the Interior Department. For years, Dr. Goklany, an electrical engineer by training, has written in papers and books that it may be better not to force cuts in greenhouse gases because the added prosperity from unfettered economic activity would allow countries to exploit benefits of warming and adapt to problems.

In an e-mail exchange on Friday, Dr. Goklany said that in the Clinton administration he was shifted to nonclimate-related work, but added that he had never had to stop his outside writing, as long as he identified the views as his own.

"One reason why I still continue to do the extracurricular stuff," he wrote, "is because one doesn't have to get clearance for what I plan on saying or writing."

Wonder whats so important about silencing him and not all the other people with the smae message.

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Simple... if NASA says what the Bush Administration doesn't want them to say... they lose government funding! (no probaly not.. but it's always a possibility)

Knowing someone who works for the government... the workings of how this administration does things is.. not really surprizing. They have top scientists do the research. The research comes in saying that "Yes we are having an effect on the enviroment and it's normal climate cycles. Yes it's a good idea to find a different source of clean energy soon, if not for the fact that it'll help lessen the greenhouse emissions, but eventually we'll run out of fossil fuels." And a whole list of that technical jargin that well I'm not going to type out.

So the reports go up to the head politicians and they read through them and then take that lovely black marker and start crossing out things that they deem unacceptible to tell the public.

Well by the time it reaches the President, he basicaly gets to say... "Nothing's wrong, we have no ill effect on the enviroment, keep buying gas by the truck loads!"

If the scientists go "Hay... wait a minute... that's not what we said!" They could lose their funding... and they don't want to do that. (well some don't) Because without their fundings, they can't do anymore research and flying into storms... things like that.

*sits back and waits for the conservitives to call her a libral hippie propagandist, stupid and ignorant, and all that cliche conservitive crap that they always spew out*

Well.. I am an hippie... even though I do shower. mmmm patchouli

Edited by SilverCougar

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Scientists Say They're Being Gagged by Bush

By Juliet Eilperin

The Washington Post

Sunday 16 April 2006

White House monitors their media contacts.

Washington - Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.

Employees and contractors working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with a U.S. Geological Survey scientist working at an NOAA lab, said in interviews that over the past year administration officials have chastised them for speaking on policy questions; removed references to global warming from their reports, news releases and conference Web sites; investigated news leaks; and sometimes urged them to stop speaking to the media altogether. Their accounts indicate that the ideological battle over climate-change research, which first came to light at NASA, is being fought in other federal science agencies as well.

These scientists - working nationwide in research centers in such places as Princeton, N.J., and Boulder, Colo. - say they are required to clear all media requests with administration officials, something they did not have to do until the summer of 2004. Before then, climate researchers - unlike staff members in the Justice or State departments, which have long-standing policies restricting access to reporters - were relatively free to discuss their findings without strict agency oversight.

"There has been a change in how we're expected to interact with the press," said Pieter Tans, who measures greenhouse gases linked to global warming and has worked at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder for two decades. He said that although he often "ignores the rules" the administration has instituted, when it comes to his colleagues, "some people feel intimidated - I see that."

Christopher Milly, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, said he had problems twice while drafting news releases on scientific papers describing how climate change would affect the nation's water supply.

Once in 2002, Milly said, Interior officials declined to issue a news release on grounds that it would cause "great problems with the department." In November 2005, they agreed to issue a release on a different climate-related paper, Milly said, but "purged key words from the releases, including 'global warming,' 'warming climate' and 'climate change.' ''

Administration officials said they are following long-standing policies that were not enforced in the past. Kent Laborde, a NOAA public affairs officer who flew to Boulder last month to monitor an interview Tans did with a film crew from the BBC, said he was helping facilitate meetings between scientists and journalists.

"We've always had the policy, it just hasn't been enforced," Laborde said. "It's important that the leadership knows something is coming out in the media, because it has a huge impact. The leadership needs to know the tenor or the tone of what we expect to be printed or broadcast."

Several times, however, agency officials have tried to alter what these scientists tell the media. When Tans was helping to organize the Seventh International Carbon Dioxide Conference near Boulder last fall, his lab director told him participants could not use the term "climate change" in conference paper's titles and abstracts. Tans and others disregarded that advice.

None of the scientists said political appointees had influenced their research on climate change or disciplined them for questioning the administration. Several researchers have received bigger budgets in recent years because President Bush has focused on studying global warming rather than curbing greenhouse gases. NOAA's budget for climate research and services is now $250 million, up from $241 million in 2004.

The assertion that climate scientists are being censored first surfaced in January when James Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the New York Times and the Washington Post that the administration sought to muzzle him after he gave a lecture in December calling for cuts in emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. (NASA Administrator Michael Griffin issued new rules recently that make clear that its scientists are free to talk to members of the media about their scientific findings, including personal interpretations.)

Two weeks later, Hansen suggested to an audience at the New School University in New York that his counterparts at NOAA were experiencing even more severe censorship. "It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States," he told the crowd.

NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher responded by sending an agency-wide e-mail that said he is "a strong believer in open, peer-reviewed science as well as the right and duty of scientists to seek the truth and to provide the best scientific advice possible."

"I encourage our scientists to speak freely and openly," he added. "We ask only that you specify when you are communicating personal views and when you are characterizing your work as part of your specific contribution to NOAA's mission."

NOAA scientists, however, cite repeated instances in which the administration played down the threat of climate change in their documents and news releases. Although Bush and his top advisers have said that Earth is warming and human activity has contributed to this, they have questioned some predictions and caution that mandatory limits on carbon dioxide could damage the nation's economy.

In 2002, NOAA agreed to draft a report with Australian researchers aimed at helping reef managers deal with widespread coral bleaching that stems from higher sea temperatures. A March 2004 draft report had several references to global warming, including "Mass bleaching ... affects reefs at regional to global scales, and has incontrovertibly linked to increases in sea temperature associated with global change."

A later version, dated July 2005, drops those references and several others mentioning climate change.

NOAA has yet to release the coral bleaching report. James Mahoney, assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, said he decided in late 2004 to delay the report because "its scientific basis was so inadequate." Now that it is revised, he said, he is waiting for the Australian Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to approve it. "I just did not think it was ready for prime time," Mahoney said. "It was not just about climate change - there were a lot of things."

On other occasions, Mahoney and other NOAA officials have told researchers not to give their opinions on policy matters. Konrad Steffen directs the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, a joint NOAA-university institute with a $40 million annual budget. Steffen studies the Greenland ice sheet, and when his work was cited last spring in a major international report on climate change in the Arctic, he and another NOAA lab director from Alaska received a call from Mahoney in which he told them not to give reporters their opinions on global warming.

Steffen said that he told him that although Mahoney has considerable leverage as "the person in command for all research money in NOAA ... I was not backing down."

Mahoney said he had "no recollection" of the conversation, which took place in a conference call. "It's virtually inconceivable that I would have called him about this," Mahoney said, though he added: "For those who are government employees, our position is they should not typically render a policy view."

The need for clearance from Washington, several NOAA scientists said, amounts to a "pocket veto" allowing administration officials to block interviews by not giving permission in time for journalists' deadlines.

Ronald Stouffer, a climate research scientist at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, estimated his media requests have dropped in half because it took so long to get clearance to talk from NOAA headquarters. Thomas Delworth, one of Stouffer's colleagues, said the policy means Americans have only "a partial sense" of what government scientists have learned about climate change.

"American taxpayers are paying the bill, and they have a right to know what we're doing," he said.

Source

US Scientists Reject Interference

By Jonathan Amos

BBC News

Thursday 14 December 2006

Some 10,000 US researchers have signed a statement protesting about political interference in the scientific process.

The statement, which includes the backing of 52 Nobel Laureates, demands a restoration of scientific integrity in government policy.

According to the American Union of Concerned Scientists, data is being misrepresented for political reasons.

It claims scientists working for federal agencies have been asked to change data to fit policy initiatives.

The Union has released an "A to Z" guide that it says documents dozens of recent allegations involving censorship and political interference in federal science, covering issues ranging from global warming to sex education.

Campaigners say that in recent years the White House has been able to censor the work of agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency and the Food and Drug Administration because a Republican congress has been loath to stand up for scientific integrity.

"It's very difficult to make good public policy without good science, and it's even harder to make good public policy with bad science," said Dr Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security.

"In the last several years, we've seen an increase in both the misuse of science and I would say an increase of bad science in a number of very important issues; for example, in global climate change, international peace and security, and water resources."

The statement was released at the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting. It is an annual gathering of Earth scientists.

Last year, it triggered a major row when a discussion here resulted in the renowned US space agency climate scientist Dr James Hansen later claiming he had come under pressure not to talk to the media on global warming issues.

Michael Halpern from the UCS said the statement of objection to political interference had been supported by researchers regardless of their political views.

"This science statement that has now been signed by the 10,000 scientists is signed by science advisers to both Republican and Democratic administrations dating back to President Eisenhower, stating that this is not business as usual and calling for this practice to stop," he told BBC News.

The Union said is was hopeful that the new Congress taking office in January would show a greater commitment to protecting the integrity of the scientific process.

Source

Edited by Reincarnated

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Simple... if NASA says what the Bush Administration doesn't want them to say... they lose government funding! (no probaly not.. but it's always a possibility)

Knowing someone who works for the government... the workings of how this administration does things is.. not really surprizing. They have top scientists do the research. The research comes in saying that "Yes we are having an effect on the enviroment and it's normal climate cycles. Yes it's a good idea to find a different source of clean energy soon, if not for the fact that it'll help lessen the greenhouse emissions, but eventually we'll run out of fossil fuels." And a whole list of that technical jargin that well I'm not going to type out.

So the reports go up to the head politicians and they read through them and then take that lovely black marker and start crossing out things that they deem unacceptible to tell the public.

Well by the time it reaches the President, he basicaly gets to say... "Nothing's wrong, we have no ill effect on the enviroment, keep buying gas by the truck loads!"

If the scientists go "Hay... wait a minute... that's not what we said!" They could lose their funding... and they don't want to do that. (well some don't) Because without their fundings, they can't do anymore research and flying into storms... things like that.

*sits back and waits for the conservitives to call her a libral hippie propagandist, stupid and ignorant, and all that cliche conservitive crap that they always spew out*

Well.. I am an hippie... even though I do shower. mmmm patchouli

I hate patchouli.............

Any way...........seems simple, but it's not. I agree though, we need some green energy. I really don't think people are being "silenced" as is implied here though.

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There is no way to reverse the effects that have been by our consuption of fossil fuels. We cannot cool down the poles and freeze them again. We cannot repair the ozone or take out the pollutants that have been there for the time they have. So, it might be a good idea to quit worrying about the global temperatures. We cannot replace the oil we have taken from the earth. The oil worked in conjunction with the water ring around the earth that kept the temperature at a constant level. Now, instead of water, there is clouds and ozone. Instead of oil, there is empty caves and the earth is getting hotter and the elements are going to dissolve and the space will rush in and freeze everything.

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There is no way to reverse the effects that have been by our consuption of fossil fuels. We cannot cool down the poles and freeze them again. We cannot repair the ozone or take out the pollutants that have been there for the time they have. So, it might be a good idea to quit worrying about the global temperatures. We cannot replace the oil we have taken from the earth. The oil worked in conjunction with the water ring around the earth that kept the temperature at a constant level. Now, instead of water, there is clouds and ozone. Instead of oil, there is empty caves and the earth is getting hotter and the elements are going to dissolve and the space will rush in and freeze everything.

Of course the effect can be reversed, that is nonsense, it just requires an increase in carbon sinks, however getting the world tree population to rise that dramatically is a completely different challenge.

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I hate patchouli.............

Any way...........seems simple, but it's not. I agree though, we need some green energy. I really don't think people are being "silenced" as is implied here though.

Eh it's not for everyone. *chuckles* I actually like lavender over it.

People are being silenced... scary as it is. But yes.. we do need to find greener sources of energy.

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