ClimateGate news

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Hansen's testimony

James Hansen testified at a hearing before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

A NASA scientist who said the Bush administration muzzled him because of his belief in global warming yesterday acknowledged to Congress that he'd done more than 1,400 on-the-job interviews in recent years.

James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who argues global warming could be catastrophic, said NASA staffers denied his request to do a National Public Radio interview because they didn't want his message to get out.

But Republicans told him the hundreds of other interviews he did belie his broad claim he was being silenced.

"We have over 1,400 opportunities that you've availed yourself to, and yet you call it, you know, being stifled," said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.

Mr. Hansen responded: "For the sake of the taxpayers, they should be availed of my expertise. I shouldn't be required to parrot some company line."
Source: the Washington Times. 1,400 to 1 and Hansen claims he was "muzzled". Turns out that his supervisor chose someone else to do the NPR interview. This guy must have an ego as big as a solar flare.

Here is part of a very interesting opening statement to yesterday's hearing by Committee member, Thomas M. Davis III (Rep-VA) - with emphasis added:
Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr. testified at our last hearing that the Bush Administration probably hasn’t done itself any favors with what he termed “hyper-controlling strategies for the management of information.” I would probably agree. Yet it remains the prerogative of the Bush Administration—as with every Administration before it and, likely, after it—to establish policies to ensure that whatever is coming out of Federal agencies is consistent and coordinated. Submitting to those rules is a fact of life for every Federal employee.

I was concerned when Dr. Pielke said “[m]any scientists are increasingly engaging in political advocacy” and that “some issues of science have become increasingly partisan as some politicians sense that there is political gain to be found on issues like stem cells, teaching of evolution and climate change.” I hope we keep this observation in mind during our hearings and this investigation into allegations of silencing and editing by the Bush Administration and Mr. Cooney.

I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today, and I especially look forward to hearing from NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen. Dr. Hansen, we recognize you are a preeminent climate change scientist and one of the leading researchers on the issues. We value your contribution to the scientific understanding on global climate change. I want to hear about your experiences with the politicization of science. However, I also plan to discuss with you your own efforts to politicize science.

You are a career NASA employee, but it seems that these days most of your speeches and testifying are done as “a private citizen.” But, because of your notoriety, I don’t know if it is possible to separate you from NASA. It seems to me that everything you say gets imputed back to NASA—whether it’s in the US or the foreign press. Even so, you continue to willfully violate NASA media policies even going so far as to say that you “ignored the restrictions.” You complain the Bush Administration is silencing you, but you are the most frequently quoted climate scientist on Earth.

You are known for embracing alarmist viewpoints, and you have embraced the idea that exaggeration is okay to get the public’s attention. But, two climate researchers from the Royal Meteorological Society from the United Kingdom just this week said that this “catastrophism” and “Hollywoodization” of weather and climate create the real confusion in the public’s minds. You seem to forget that when you speak, regardless of your disclaimers, you are speaking for NASA.

And, you also have not shied away from the political realm. You publicly endorsed Senator John Kerry in the 2004 Presidential election. Three years earlier you received a $250,000 unrestricted cash prize from Teresa Heinz Kerry on behalf of the Heinz Foundation. You have spent the better of this decade consistently and publicly criticizing the Bush Administration’s climate change policies. But, at the same time, you are an advocate for campaign finance reform and make a point of condemning other scientists’ affiliations with “special interests.”

I guess I am a little confused. Are you a scientist, or are you a politician? Because when I put together your political advocacy and—I hate to say it but—the partisanship of that advocacy, I am inclined to think you are the one who is politicizing science.

4 comments:

Teaparty said...

I guess I am a little confused. Are you a scientist, or are you a politician? Because when I put together your political advocacy and—I hate to say it but—the partisanship of that advocacy, I am inclined to think you are the one who is politicizing science.

Oh. Snap!

Steve said...

I just recently stumbled upon your blog within the last 3 weeks or so, I think you are doing a fantastic job. I don't usually post any comments - positive or negative - but after seeing that you don't get very many comments even though you obviously put a lot of effort into your posts, I thought I would just say "Thanks"

Great job, keep it up!

Bill said...

Steve,

All comments are appreciated, so let me say thank you for yours - you too teaparty.

This blog is relatively new (started late January) and I do have some regular readers. I'm hoping to hear from more of you when you feel like adding your 2 cents worth.

Thanks again.

JR said...

Great stuff! Rep. Davis really pounded his points home. Also liked Davis' apology to Dr. Roy Spencer (Minority witness) for the shabby treatment he received from the Dem dominated committee. Spencer's testimony is well worth reading too.