NASA Climate Expert Refuses to be Silenced

My comments yesterday about the attempt to silence NASA climate expert James Hansen drew a surprising amount of interest. That’s a good sign. The attempt at censorship is producing a very productive backlash.

It’s obvious to regular readers of this blog that my favorite writer on topics at the intersection of science, policy, and politics is Chris Mooney, whose recent book, The Republican War on Science, provides an interesting and very thorough, though occasionally too partisan, analysis of the abuse of science by prominent politicians, especially on today’s right. When the left held sway, they had their own way of misapplying science, and Mooney, to his credit, acknowledges that.

One of today’s entries in Mooney’s blog, “The Intersection,” discusses the continuing attention to Hansen’s claims. Those of us who approach this issue from the standpoint of scientific integrity should cheer this short-term failure of censorship. But we can’t forget that the people in power will use their clout to continue to try to make Hansen’s life difficult. Sometimes we have to be partisan and act politically on one side just to make sure the other side doesn’t drown out scientific consensus with radical nonsense.

I will soon be updating my list of books received at the Science Shelf to include an upcoming title, The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, that discusses the possibility that we have reached or will soon reach a “tipping point” in climate change. It’s bound to be controversial, and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing it.

Stay tuned to this blog for more details.

2 thoughts on “NASA Climate Expert Refuses to be Silenced

  1. [email protected]

    You know, it is the leftist war on science you should be more concerned with. Leftist control funding of major foundations and are preventing scientists from doing balanced work. Ideological stances such as you seem to be taking are hurting the scientific drive toward knowledge.

  2. If proper respect for scientific consensus while keeping an open mind for new ideas constitutes an ideology, I plead guilty.

    I have a moderate progressive political point of view, but I resist ideological thinking, because it is more “ideo” than “logical,” no matter which side it comes from.

    On the subject of global warming, I am neither left-ist nor right-ist. I am a scient-ist. That’s my ideology.

    And on this topic, serious disrespect for my scientific ideology is coming from the right. That’s where denial of the consensus and resistance to urgently needed action is coming from. The left may be calling for more extreme action than we need, but the consequences of the right’s policies being wrong are far more serious than I want to imagine.

    Hansen’s view of the consequences of not reducing greenhouse emissions is mainstream science. Attacking his conclusion and the consequent implications for policy as an ideology is counterproductive and dangerous.

    Fred Bortz — Science and technology books for young readers (www.fredbortz.com) and Science book reviews (www.scienceshelf.com)

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