US 'Tried to Gag' Global Warming Critic

THE top climate scientist at NASA has said the Bush Administration tried to stop him from speaking out after he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

US 'Tried to Gag' Global Warming Critic

The scientist, James Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said NASA officials had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard website and requests for interviews from journalists. Dr Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions.


Dean Acosta, NASA's deputy assistant administrator for public affairs, said the restrictions on Dr Hansen applied to all NASA personnel whom the public could perceive as speaking for the agency. He said US Government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but policy statements should be left to policymakers and appointed spokespeople.

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


In several recent interviews, Dr Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet". Fresh efforts to quieten him, Dr Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on December 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.


In the talk, he said that significant greenhouse emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave Earth "a different planet".


The Administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

Among the restrictions, according to Dr Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews.


In an interview on Friday, Ralph Cicerone, an atmospheric chemist and the president of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's leading independent scientific body, praised Dr Hansen's scientific contributions and said he had always seemed to describe his public statements clearly as his personal views.




Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16