In The Field

AGU: Jim Hansen bites back

Turns out that Jim Hansen, the outspoken NASA climatologist, didn’t attend John Marburger’s talk on Monday night, in which Marburger (who is President Bush’s science advisor), called accusations of censoring US climate scientists ‘ignorant’.

Hansen, who has long gone public with his thoughts about the problems of human-caused global warming, has said in the past that NASA public-affairs people censored his public speeches and media interviews to play down the risks of climate change. On Monday, Marburger charged that such accusations were baseless, saying that he personally had tracked down each claim and found it to be wanting. Marburger didn’t mention Hansen by name, but the subtext was clear to everyone in the audience.

Asked for his response today, Hansen simply pointed to a new book called Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming. (I haven’t read it and thus can’t recommend it, but here is a link so you can see at least what it looks like.) According to Hansen, it details a systematic effort to suppress climate scientists such as himself.

Asked if he had ever spoken to Marburger about the issue of censorship, Hansen said simply: “Not about this.”

Hansen isn’t just confining his criticisms to US leadership, though. He’s got a draft letter in the works to UK prime minister Gordon Brown and the German chancellor Angela Merkel, criticising the planned construction of coal-fired power plants in their countries.

Asked today why he was focusing on these leaders when China is constructing a coal-fired power plant at the rate of nearly one per week, Hansen said he feels that the developed world needs to take responsibility, as it has been the source of the majority of carbon dioxide emissions up until this point.

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