Calls are mounting for President Barack Obama to fire James Hansen,
the controversial figure in charge of climate studies at the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
Hansen has a record of allegedly doctoring temperature data to hype
his argument that global warming is a crisis. The new calls for his
resignation or termination come following his appearance in a video
calling for civil disobedience at a protest at a power plant in
“It is plainly improper for someone on the U.S. government payroll
to advocate civil disobedience on behalf of a non-government advocacy
group,” said Dan Miller, executive vice president of The Heartland Institute and
former chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission. “As long as a
public official is on the public payroll, his first loyalty is to his
constituency, not to some outside pressure group calling on people to
break the law,” Miller said.
Miller, in addition to serving as chairman of the Illinois Commerce
Commission from 1994 to 1998, was inducted into the Chicago Journalism
Hall of Fame in 2005 to honor his long career as founding editor of
Crain’s Chicago Business and business editor of the Chicago Sun-Times.
A video featuring Hansen is prominently displayed on the Web site of
a group called Capitol Climate Action. In it, Hansen says “please join
us” at a protest at a power plant in Washington, DC. The facility burns
coal to generate electricity. The Web site calls on people to “surround
the plant, disrupting access, and refusing to leave when asked.”
Hansen has become increasingly strident in his condemnation of
coal-fired plants, which he has compared to the Nazi death camp at
Auschwitz during World War II. Incredibly, he has even called for
Nuremberg-style trials for scientists who disagree with him about the
causes and possible consequences of climate change.
Hansen and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) he heads
have been accused on several occasions of falsifying data to make
global warming appear to be a crisis. In November 2008, Hansen claimed
October 2008 was the warmest October on record. In fact, October
temperatures were at the long-term average. In late 2007, GISS was
caught adding 0.15 degrees Celsius to each year’s U.S. temperature
readings, inflating the actual temperature record since 2000.
Hansen’s techniques were recently exposed on the Web site of
meteorologist Anthony Watts
for adjusting raw temperature data to make a long-term cooling trend
recorded by a climate monitoring station in New Mexico look like a
warming trend. “This example is one of many similar adjustments to the
historical climate record that have been found,” Watts says.
“If I did what Jim has done while I was a NASA employee, I would
have been drawn and quartered … and then fired,” said Dr. Roy Spencer,
principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in
Huntsville and author of Climate Confusion, published by Encounter
Books in 2008.
“I have been following Jim Hansen’s travails over many years,” said
Hans Labohm, a climate policy expert based in The Netherlands. “My
impression is that he has been acting like a climate activist rather
than a climate scientist. We in Europe tend to regard NASA as a serious
scientific organisation. I have always wondered how someone like Jim
Hansen could be part of it. As an expert reviewer of the IPCC’s Fourth
Assessment Report, I believe I express the concerns of many people.”
“Hansen’s questionable and often outrageous use of rhetoric, ploys,
and tactics should call his continued employment by the taxpayer into
question,” said Chris Horner, author of Red Hot Lies, a new book on
global warming from Regnery Publishing.
“It is surprising that he has been allowed to remain in such a
sensitive public post,” said Terry Dunleavy, executive vice-chairman of
the International Climate Science Coalition. Dunleavy, writing from New
Zealand, goes on to say, “I’m not sure which is worse: Hansen’s
disrespect for science or his flouting of American public service
“Hansen is primarily responsible for making climate and climate
change a political rather than a scientific issue, and for that alone
he should be fired, especially since his position as a scientist and a
bureaucrat must be apolitical,” said Dr. Timothy Ball, former
climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba,
Canada. “He has made it so that if you agree with AGW [anthropogenic
global warming] you are politically left and if you disagree you are
politically right and in my opinion there is no greater indictment of
the politicizing of climate science,” Ball added.
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