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cal04 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 11:50 AM
Original message
Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
Edited on Sat Jan-28-06 11:52 AM by cal04
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," he said. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts." Mr. Acosta said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel whom the public could perceive as speaking for the agency. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen.

Dr. Hansen, 63, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, is a leading authority on the earth's climate system. He directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at the Goddard Institute on 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.

more
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/science/earth/29clima...
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
1. I'm in a position to talk to environmental scientists and they say..
Edited on Sat Jan-28-06 11:59 AM by Triana
....that the ONLY way to decrease the amount CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions being bellowed into the atmosphere is to STOP PUTTING IT THERE. There has been some belief that planting more trees in highly polluted areas will help because trees help absorb the stuff.

Well, according to the scientists I talk to - THEY DON'T. Furthermore, planting too many trees in some areas will cause the humidity to increase and possibly change the soil and other things in those environments, thereby cause OTHER environment issues. NOT TO MENTION that planting additional trees is shown NOT to absorb CO2 or greenhouse gases.

THUS: The only way to cut down on this crap in the air IS TO STOP PUTTING IT THERE and this needs to be done ASAP. THESE ARE THE SCIENTISTS GEORGE BUSH WILL NOT LISTEN TO. And this is what they're saying.
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slor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 01:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. If what you say is true, that trees do not reduce it, then we..
are fucked, because people will not stop. I want to believe that trees do help. I know we have been clear cutting for too long. Are the scientists sure about that?
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:22 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. It's true, according to the researchers I talk to...
...the only way to reduce it is to stop putting it there.
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Jamnt Donating Member (131 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 03:36 PM
Response to Reply #6
14. There is another way....
I don't remember where I heard this, but I'll research and post. It is possible to sequester CO2 from the air and trap it in a type of rock, which can then be put somewhere (?) for a long, long, time. (again..??) If I remember correctly, we need to build something like 450,000 of these machines.
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 11:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
26. Plants DO consume CO2 via photosynthesis. But obviously not enough.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 01:47 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. that's what the ones I know are saying too ...
Edited on Sat Jan-28-06 01:47 PM by Lisa
The foresters are cautioning against the assumption that forests (like the boreal regions here in Canada) will act as a "sink" indefinitely. Canada had been hoping that it could just keep dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere and that the environment would clean it up. But it's looking like there could be a feedback effect ... warmer temperatures will accelerate the emission of CO2 from the soil and lead to more forest fires, besides hampering tree growth (e.g. drought and insect attacks). In some situations, the forest could be a net emitter!

And Dubya's much-trumpeted "forest thinning" plan would likely not have much of an impact -- besides decimating old-growth and putting more money in corporate pockets. Ed Johnson's work in Alberta suggests that, if the climate is warm and dry enough, there would be massive fires regardless. So if we want to avoid this, we would have to keep the projected temperature increase as low as possible -- and as you say, the only way to be absolutely certain of cutting net greenhouse gases is to reduce emissions.
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Triana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Yep...
..Nature is ruled by very delicate balances. It's not possible to f*ck with it on a large scale without disasterous results - we know that now with global warming and pollution, etc. The problems we are having now are a result of that fact. We can't "fix" it by messing with it some more.

We can only "fix" it by ceasing to do what we did to f*ck it up in the first place - and even then the damage may be too far gone but we need to do it anyway - it would at least slow things down.

Global warming, according to these scientists and researchers, would probably happen anyway. However, we're accellerating the process tenfold, at least. In other words, climate changes that would otherwise take 1000 years or more to happen for example, are now happening in 100 or 200 years, because of human activity. We're accellerating the process. Big time.

This is NOT good.

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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #4
22. Problem with forests-as-sinks approach - it's based on current climate #s
Edited on Sun Jan-29-06 09:20 AM by hatrack
Even if all the assumptions about the ability of forests to absorb excess atmospheric CO2 are in fact, true, these assumptions would hold only under current climatic conditions.

But with what we've seen already on just how rapidly climate is destabilizing, it's a fool's gambit to depend on these conditions holding true in the future. Just look at a little tiny bit of what's going on - thermokarsting and permafrost meltdown across the Arctic and in the boreal, the rapid drying of the Amazon rainforest (combined, of course, with massive deforeststation and development), enormous dieoffs of forest regions in BC and Alaska, changes in soil acidity throughout the eastern and northeastern United States thanks to acid rain deposition . . . the list goes on and on.

On top of that, the Cloud-Cuckoo-Land "Greening Earth" hacks have been loudly pushing the happy assumption that excess CO2 will just make the trees will just grow faster, neatly solving any potential problems. Wrong. Duke/UMich have been running a long-term study in which they introduced an assumed 2050 AD atmosphere to stands of loblolly pine by piping in extra CO2. They discovered that while the trees did show an initial growth spurt under these circumstances, after a few years growth rates slowed to below growth rates in control plots. The high-speed growth simply meant that the trees used up soil nutrients that much faster, until the nutrients were depleted. Growth rates slumped accordingly.

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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #22
28. It's a complex system
Edited on Sun Jan-29-06 11:48 AM by depakid
and just changing one the many dozens of variables isn't necessarily going to change the forests' emergent functions for the "better." Could even make things worse.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 03:45 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. Michigan Has Lost 16 Million Trees Due to Emerald Ash Borer
The devastation has got to be significant to the climate, at least locally. More runoff of rain water, more solar heating, less oxygen, etc.
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Spinzonner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 01:10 PM
Response to Original message
2. Under the Bush Regime
Edited on Sat Jan-28-06 01:11 PM by Spinzonner
shouldn't that be 'Anointed Spokesman" ?

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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 01:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. also, they got Robert Watson replaced ....
He was head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which consists of hundreds of climate researchers worldwide, and is one of the most reliable sources of scientific info on the topic).

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1934956.stm
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MelissaB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. Is this the same guy that Gore spoke about? n/t
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Mabus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:46 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. I believe it is
since Hansen was involved with climate change and had been vocal.
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Lisa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 08:25 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. I think Dr. Hansen was an expert witness at Gore's late-1980s hearings
... regarding global warming.
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primavera Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 08:33 AM
Response to Reply #8
21. Gore described constraints far greater than this
He alleged that Dr. Hansen was required to provide names and number of anyone he'd spoken with so the FBI could keep tabs on them, real KGB crap. I know the NYTimes is going to be pretty wimpy in its coverage, so even if Gore's allegations were true and the Times knew about them, I have no doubts regarding their willingness to cover them up. Still, it would have been nice if they'd gone a bit more out on a limb.
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Rex Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:52 PM
Response to Original message
10. Unregulated capitalism will destroy the biosphere.
Wait til ya see what China does once they become fully industrialized.
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:54 PM
Response to Original message
11. The Longer they can keep Americans in the dark the more
they can prepare and be ahead of the game...
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BadGimp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 02:59 PM
Response to Original message
12. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts." ...
What a load of crap
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bagrman Donating Member (889 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 03:21 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. Mother Nature will have the last word.
There are so many variables that control what will happen to the human race that it's mind boggling. The one thing that is for sure with all the people on the planet at this time there is no way the earth can keep up.



Latr
Chris
www.reopen911.org
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stop the bleeding Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-28-06 08:20 PM
Response to Original message
16. Knowledge is power and Truth is power, can not keep either down n/t
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MsMagnificent Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 03:05 AM
Response to Original message
18. Just more lies and obfuscation
Edited on Sun Jan-29-06 03:13 AM by MsMagnificent
surprise, surprise
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 03:05 AM
Response to Reply #18
19. Wasn't it Bush who said...
That the topic of global warming needed more investigation. I read this article this morning. One of Hansen's superiors supposedly said something to the effect of "I'm a presidential appointee" and therefore "my job is to make the president look good", which is referenced in the article. If there has ever been an administration more contemptuous of science and facts - I am not aware of it.
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Nothing Without Hope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 03:42 AM
Response to Original message
20. ***TWO IMPORTANT RELATED CURRENT THREADS:
Edited on Sun Jan-29-06 03:43 AM by Nothing Without Hope
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
thread title (1-28-06 LBN): WP: Scientists Debate Issue of Climate's Irreparable Change(Tipping Point)

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...
thread title (1-28-06 GD): LAT editorial on new outrages by the Bush EPA: "The Wrong-Way Agency"

And K & R for this thread. Got to keep putting the truth out there and also the fact that the Bushies are actively suppressing it and lying.
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hatrack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
23. K & R nt
/
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 09:51 AM
Response to Original message
24. Today is jan. 29. It's FIFTY-ONE degrees right now.
Yesterday, I saw 59 degrees and almost went for a ride.
In this part of the country, I should have seen a high of maybe TWENTY yesterday.

We have a phenom here we call the "January Thaw", where the temps get in the upper 40's for a few days. But this year, we have had very few NIGHTS below freezing. We haven't had a "January FREEZE"

I can't wait for some Neo-Con to say "That's not Global Warming, that's Jeebus answering all those prayers for mild weather to save heating fuel!"
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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 10:01 AM
Response to Reply #24
25. No rain in the Southwest for months. Europe is freezing.
We're effed.
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BiggJawn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #25
29. And the usually soggy PNW is even soggier this year.
And you can't even fart in Texas without risking setting something on fire.
But...

"Ah think wee-uns need s'more re-surch inna this Glo-bug warnin' thing, so we-uns kin put off haven' t'do ennythang 'bout it 'till muh buds in th' OIL industry tell me they've made alla th' munny they want..."
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Mayberry Machiavelli Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-29-06 11:26 AM
Response to Original message
27. Even when greenhouse is recognized by wingers (when Nevada is the
new California), finally, they will reserve the right to burn fuels for themselves and everyone else will live in caves.
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