NASA Scientist Censured Over Greenhouse Gas Comments
Houston, TX - NASA's chief climate scientist James Hansen was quoted by
Good Morning America last month as saying that industry was to blame
for the record high temperatures last year due to greenhouse gas emissions
and that if we did not do something about it the problem was going to get worse.
Hansen said he received phone calls from NASA officials following the television
news program's show in which they told him not to release such comments without
prior approval, that Washington did not appreciate it.
"One threat was relayed to me that there would be 'dire consequences - not
specified,'" Hansen told members of the press.
Hansen gave a speech last month saying, "We're getting very close to a tipping
point in the climate system. If we don't get off our 'business as usual'
scenario and begin to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we're going to
get big climate changes."
The Bush administration has insisted that industries can curb greenhouse
gases voluntarily but Hansen said that just won't work, and he is not the
first scientist in the nation to say that they were pressured to keep
quite, even change research results, suggesting that the problem was not
as bad as they have been saying.
Said Hansen, "When 'Good Morning America' released our data showing that
2005 was probably the warmest year on record, I got calls that they were
NASA today issued a statement, saying its policies are similar to those
of any other federal agency, corporation or news organization in requiring
any NASA employee to coordinate any statements with the Office of Public
Affairs. No exceptions.
But perhaps the rising cost of oil will help the government change its tune
toward alternative energy sources that lower the production of greenhouse
gases and perhaps follow in Iceland's example to eliminate the use of
gasoline-powered vehicles altogether.
Iceland wants to make a full conversion and plans to modify its cars, buses
and trucks to run on renewable energy, with no dependence on oil.
In the capital, Reykjavik, they are already testing three hydrogen-powered
electric buses. And the country draws on boiling water from deep volcanic
lakes, pumping the hot water up into huge storage tanks where it is used to
heat homes. Its glacial rivers provide all of the hydroelectric power
needed to generate electricity, but the United States does not have such
resources in plentiful supply to practically adapt their use.
In California the state has approved an aggressive $3 billion plan to
convert many office buildings and homes into solar power collection stations
to help cut back on petroleum use for energy generation. The move will also
create jobs, Governor Schwarzenegger says and cut back on greenhouse gas
Hopefully, other states will follow California's lead in adapting solar power
as well as wind generation stations and that hydrogen fuel cell technology
will pick up in development pace and the lagging auto industry move to
produce hydrogen-powered vehicles before it's too late.
Hansen says NASA's stated mission includes protecting the planet, and he will
continue to speak out, despite recent warnings being publicized.