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  • Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

    "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."

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/sc...29climate.html

    If this is true, and I believe it is based on the fact that the NYTimes can't afford to have any more stories lacking credible evidence, it's pretty awful. This smells like a management decision that was born in Bush's strategists offices (Rove) and dutifully carried out by a power-hungry White House eager to silence its dissenters.

    As a disclaimer, I am not someone who argues that oil is a primary reason that the U.S. attacked Iraq. On the other hand, I believe the record shows that the current presidential administration has strong ties to the oil industry, both domestically and abroad. I do believe that the Earth is undergoing climate change, and I do believe that humans have altered or enhanced this natural cycle through excessive use of fossil fuels, among other things. What I am unsure about is to what degree we have made an impact, and how much of a difference that impact makes on the otherwise natural global climate change. I would like to see our government do its best to investigate these questions.

    What's most disturbing to me is that anyone, left or right, would purposely cloud the facts on climate change purely for political gain. Here's a 35+ year veteran NASA scientist who clearly has a right to do his job. How dare our own government step in as his personal censor?

  • #2
    Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

    Originally posted by AMosely
    ...would purposely cloud the facts on climate change purely for political gain...
    I've wondered about the US stance on global warming as well. We know it's happening, although the actual level of effect the human population has on it is still up for debate.

    As for your quote above, I think one could aruge "economic stability" instead of "political gain".
    Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

      Originally posted by Apophis
      As for your quote above, I think one could aruge "economic stability" instead of "political gain".
      Very good point. So let's see some studies on potential economic impact when various corrective courses are examined, and apply those against studies of possible outcomes of inaction. These are the types of things I expect from government-paid scientists like this guy.

      Nothing will disrupt the economy more than a rapidly warming, rising ocean and the horrific weather patterns that it produces. If that's really going to happen, we need to be openly discussing it instead of squelching it and digging for more oil.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

        Originally posted by AMosely
        Very good point. So let's see some studies on potential economic impact when various corrective courses are examined, and apply those against studies of possible outcomes of inaction. These are the types of things I expect from government-paid scientists like this guy.

        Nothing will disrupt the economy more than a rapidly warming, rising ocean and the horrific weather patterns that it produces. If that's really going to happen, we need to be openly discussing it instead of squelching it and digging for more oil.
        I agree completely. If there is justification for temporary inaction to correct what mankind is contributing to global warming, lets see what that justification is with the studies behind it. I'm sick of just hearing "global warming is bad" and that it's all political.

        It's political for a reason, and that's most likely because of economic factors.
        Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

          IMO "Global warming" is a myth.

          They couldn't even measure temperature accurately (sub 1-2 deg C) until the micoprocessor was developed in the 70's.

          They are trying to predict weather trends over 100+ years and they can't predict with any certainty what the weather will be like next week.

          Carbon dioxide has increased a staggeringly small amount in the last 100 years (from ~300-375ppm), and its debateable whether or not that it even matters because plant life thrives on the slightly increased CO2 and compensates for it.

          In cities you see the increased temperature due to "island heat effect" and pollution (I'm not debating pollution), but in neighbouring cities with less population there is often a decreased avg temperature over the same period.

          The earth has been coming out of a very cold cycle for the last 600 years, not as a result of CO2, or other human means.

          Some glaciers are melting, but some are also expanding equally rapidly and they don't have enough data to support any trend.

          The only thing that is for sure is that thing change over time. There is no stability in any system, and the earth's temperature will change as a part of normal cycles.

          It's interesting to red a bit about it, because up until recently it was something I took for granted.
          Everyone just "knows" that global warming is true, until you start to research it more.
          Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.
          Ernest Hemingway, "On the Blue Water," Esquire, April 1936

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

            Originally posted by GhostintheShell
            IMO "Global warming" is a myth.

            They couldn't even measure temperature accurately (sub 1-2 deg C) until the micoprocessor was developed in the 70's.
            I used to say that "Global Warming" was a myth but then I looked at some of the statistical data. Global warming is indeed real. It is not a myth. But this does not mean that global warming is the fault of human involvement, just that the planet is warming up. Even if the planet is warming up ENTIRELY due to normal planetary weather/climate cycles, it's still "global warming", is it not?
            Diplomacy is the art of saying "good doggie" while looking for a bigger stick.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

              Ghost, I think you need to read up more on the subject. You can start by looking at some of James Hanson's reports (this NASA scientist). Global climate change is happening, it is a documented fact. The Earth is entering into a thaw cycle which can be referred to as 'global warming.' Some people define global warming as a manmade trend, which I think confuses the argument. The impact of human influence on climate change is what is being debated, and what we as a species need to stay focused on.

              Historical temperature and climatic data has been pulled from many sources - most notably ice core samples from pack ice at the Earth's poles. Paleoclimatology is a field of research that specifically deals with the interpretation of climatic data from different organic matter - fossils, bones, tree rings, etc. This material provides usable data going all the way back to the last ice age. Most data on global climate change is forged from these fields of research. It's frustrating to me that the hard work of scientists in these fields is being tossed out because of a conservative political agenda that is so wrapped up in economic development that they practically censor any scientific information that threatens their agenda.

              I think the evidence shows that our species has not had a positive impact on the Earth, and that left to continue unchecked our development is going to have a price. What is at the core of this debate is whether that price is greater or less than the economic price we will face in curbing our environmentally degredating practices.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                There is little doubt that the world is warming up. It has happened before and it will happen again. Human's create greenhouse gasses as do Cow, Ants and even plants have now been discovered to give off gasses that contribute to global warming...

                http://www.newscientist.com/channel/...mg18925343.900

                The way I have always heard the question framed up is not entirely fair to blame all of the warming on human presence. The sun is kicking out more solar wind than it has in the past and in spite of being in a traditional quiet time, it's kicking out more solar flares than have been noticed at similar periods in it's past. No one ever likes to consider the sun as a factor in global warming...

                http://www.rawls.org/Global_warming_omitted_var.htm

                In order for the sun to have an impact on warming on the planet, it would have to be proved that other planets were also warming up. While a correlation does not prove causation, there are indicators that Mars Polar Ice shields are melting and of course there are only 2 vehicles rolling around on their surfact. Those vehicles further are solar powered, not giving off gas combustion which many attribute to global warming.

                http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...ge_031208.html

                The sun has been increasing it's radiation output since 1970 roughly by about .05% per decade. Thats when we started to measure it. If it has been happening for a while, then it is quite possible that the Sun's sustained greater strength has had a big impact on the planet. But can that be all of it?

                http://www.space.com/scienceastronom...ut_030320.html

                The Earth's Magnetic core shields the earth from Solar Winds. When the core is strong, solar winds are directed around the earth with the only exception to be around the poles. At the poles, the solar radiation strikes the atmosphere and reacts into Auroras. If there was a decrease in the Magnetic strength of the earth, our protection from solar winds would decrease.

                How it works... http://abc.net.au/science/news/stories/s101783.htm

                The Magnetic Poles are not stable and sometimes wander. First of all, they wander and are expected at one point to exit North America (Don't know what impact that has on warming) however, a weaker magnetic field allows more solar wind to hit the earth. Furthermore, the poles flip from time to time and we may be overdue. Again, no clue what impact that would have on shielding the earth.

                http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2...neticfield.htm

                Anectodal evidence of earth's warming and cooling also includes the history of the Vikings. The Vikings were once looking for land good enough to grow crops and raise animals. They found one such chunk of land and settled. It was nice and green and they named it Greenland. There are a number of reasons why these people left. Erosion, Poor Trade, Distance, and then my favorite, the climate cooled.

                http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

                Greenland's climate began to change as well; the summers grew shorter and progressively cooler, limiting the time cattle could be kept outdoors and increasing the need for winter fodder. During the worst years, when rains would have been heaviest, the hay crop would barely have been adequate to see the penned animals through the coldest days. Over the decades the drop in temperature seems to have had an effect on the design of the Greenlanders' houses. Originally conceived as single-roomed structures, like the great hall at Brattahlid, they were divided into smaller spaces for warmth, and then into warrens of interconnected chambers, with the cows kept close by so the owners might benefit from the animals' body heat.
                What originally made it warm enough for the Vikings to settle there? It certainly wasn't cars, or factories. We are too quick to point to our impact as the cause of global warming and overlook other factors including planetary and geological. Every major volcanic erruption has an impact on weather around the world. Here is an excerpt about the weather the year after Mt. Tambora errupted in 1816.

                http://profhorn.meteor.wisc.edu/wxwi.../a5volcan.html

                Debris from Mt. Tambora (8°S latitude, 118°E longitude) took one year to spread globally. The following year is known as the year without a summer. While extensive meteorological observations did not exist at this time, people's diaries and weather journals documented the cold weather of the summer of 1816. In New England snow fell in June and frost occurred in July and August. Late frost killed a large number of crops; however, the entire summer was not below freezing. Indeed, on June 5, the day before the snowfall, the temperatures in Vermont were in the low 30's°C (upper 80's°F)! After the early June cold spell in New England, farmers, hoping for a good crop, replanted their crops as temperatures returned to normal. Another cold spell hit in early July bringing freezing temperatures to the area. Harvests were bad that year and resulted in severe food shortages in parts of New England. The poor harvest had an economic impact throughout the United States. The price of a bushel of corn in Philadelphia in May 1817 was double the price it was in April 1816
                Ultimately, Humans do give off Greenhouse gasses. The popular assumption is that if we stopped giving off greenhouse gasses then we would be able to reverse the impacts of global warming. I am not so sure that is true. We may be able to slow it, but there are many, many more things to consider. We are one volcano away from Ice Age and Yellowstone is WAY overdue.

                http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/horizon...olcanoes.shtml

                The news piece in question posed by Mosely. I believe James Hansen has the right to free speech and can speak about whatever he wants. It may have a very detrimental impact on his employment, but he can say whatever he wants. No one says that your speech should not or could not have an impact on your life. James needs to weigh that out before he makes his comments and that has to be a very difficult decision indeed.

                Lucky Shot
                Last edited by Lucky Shot; 01-31-2006, 04:23 PM.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                  Originally posted by Lucky Shot
                  The news piece in question posed by Mosely. I believe James Hansen has the right to free speech and can speak about whatever he wants. It may have a very detrimental impact on his employment, but he can say whatever he wants. No one says that your speech should not or could not have an impact on your life. James needs to weigh that out before he makes his comments and that has to be a very difficult decision indeed.

                  Lucky Shot
                  If you're hired as a climate scientist for the government, and your analysis in that capacity can get you fired not for being wrong, but for being unpleasant, then that is a severe mismanagement of the organization and a poor use of public resources. This is less about free speech and more about competant administration.
                  In game handle: Steel Scion
                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                    Being unpleasant can get you fired from any organization. It's less about a competent administration than about a self-righteous jerk shooting his mouth off. If he'd pulled that crap in my world he'd have been fired before he got back to the office.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                      Stupid global warming making all these people freeze to death: http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/0....abmapppv.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                        Originally posted by Steeler
                        If you're hired as a climate scientist for the government, and your analysis in that capacity can get you fired not for being wrong, but for being unpleasant, then that is a severe mismanagement of the organization and a poor use of public resources. This is less about free speech and more about competant administration.
                        No one has infringed his right to free speech. Hansen isn't speaking as a regular citizen, when he speaks on climate as part of his job, it's as a representative of NASA. He is not separating citizen Hansen from NASA Employee Hansen. NASA should have the right to coordinate or control the message as that message has many impacts, including funding. Why wouldn't NASA want to make sure they are putting the best message forward in an era where people are looking at cutting NASA's funding? Hansen would do well whether he was with NASA or not, no one says he has to stay there, that's a potential decision he has to make.

                        Lucky Shot

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                          I urge you to read this speech made by Michael Crichton given November 6, 2005 at the Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C. I know its a long read but it is really worth it just to put some things into perspective.


                          http://www.michaelcrichton.com/speec...omplexity.html


                          BTW, His latest book, "State of Fear" is really interesting. He wrote it following three years of research into among many phenomina "global warming".
                          Last edited by GhostintheShell; 01-31-2006, 02:56 PM.
                          Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for anything else thereafter.
                          Ernest Hemingway, "On the Blue Water," Esquire, April 1936

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                            Originally posted by Lucky Shot
                            No one has infringed his right to free speech. Hansen isn't speaking as a regular citizen, when he speaks on climate as part of his job, it's as a representative of NASA. He is not separating citizen Hansen from NASA Employee Hansen.
                            Right, which is why I said it's not really about free speech. Maybe he sees himself as a whistleblower and expects the consequences for his statements. But we're not talking about an obscure pencil pusher deep in the bureaucracy - he's director of the agency's Goddard Institute. His job is to collect data from an entire department's assets, analyze the results and render an opinion - all in a public and non-classified setting.
                            This administration, like several before although never to this degree, has a long history of editing scientific data to support its pre-determined policy choices. That's just bad governing.
                            NASA should have the right to coordinate or control the message as that message has many impacts, including funding. Why wouldn't NASA want to make sure they are putting the best message forward in an era where people are looking at cutting NASA's funding?
                            Textbook truthiness. If NASA were a private company I might agree with you. But they are supposedly there to serve a public function, not make politicians or policy look good.
                            In game handle: Steel Scion
                            sigpic

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                            • #15
                              Re: Climate Change, NASA, and the Bush Admin

                              Originally posted by Leejo
                              I believe James Hansen has the right to free speech and can speak about whatever he wants. It may have a very detrimental impact on his employment, but he can say whatever he wants. No one says that your speech should not or could not have an impact on your life. James needs to weigh that out before he makes his comments and that has to be a very difficult decision indeed.
                              Leejo, first off, great referenced information. I still didn't find any studies in there concerning human impact on naturally occuring global warming. It seems this type of research, in an unbiased fashion, is becoming a holy grail.

                              Back to Mr. Hansen though. The issue I am trying to present to the forum has less to do with global warming and more to do with how the two ruling political parties in America are trying to incorporate a very important subject into their tug of war. If the story is true, I think that the Bush administration stepping in to squelch a government scientist because he doesn't agree with their thinking is unfair, and actually works against some of the common principles of government. I also believe this is a common tactic of the Bush administration - to put down naysayers at every corner, on every issue. The name Rove keeps popping into my head when I think of these tactics.

                              I know I am being utopian when I think of a government that looks out for its citizens, paying scientists of all kinds through direct employment and grant funding to conduct research on subjects relating to the health and well-being of the populus. Realistically of course this hardly ever happens, as corporate and economic interests tend to always get their way. However, for a President to purposefully work against this model and, as in this case, silence any scientific findings that go against his own beliefs is not only arrogantly unfair, but does a disservice to the entire country.

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