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.
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.
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.
Other employees at NASA have been privy to attempts to silence Hansen:
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.
And from Larry Travis, an astronomer and Dr. Hansenâ€™s deputy at Goddard:
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.
I believe that global warming is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, threat facing the world today. If we really do care about the future of our planet, the human race, and society, we will do everything we can do preserve our home environment. To think that this administration is silencing researchers and their data about the damage their policies cause is disgusting. Not only is it a breach of the first amendment, it puts all of us and our children at danger.
If youâ€™re interested in fighting back against this regime, I recommend checking out green-e. Itâ€™s a great way to begin reducing emissions and begin taking a proactive approach towards stopping global warming.