Bush tried to gag environment expert
Monday 30 January 2006
One of Nasa's leading climate experts has accused the Bush administration of trying to censor him on global warming and the need for immediate cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
James Hansen, the director of Nasa's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said agency officials had ordered that public affairs officers review his lectures, papers and postings on the institute's website as well as vetting requests for interviews from reporters.
The clamp-down followed a lecture he gave last month calling for emission reductions, a move the White House refuses to support. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," said Mr Hansen, who is ignoring the restrictions placed on him.
Nasa's mission statement included the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet," he pointed out, adding: "Communicating with the public seems to be essential because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."
Mr Hansen has been issuing warnings about climate change since 1988 and has had confrontations with politicians from both Republican and Democratic administrations.
He has twice briefed the Vice-President, Dick Cheney, and other senior officials of this administration. But he provoked their ire shortly before the 2004 presidential election when he complained that government scientists were being silenced and said he would be voting for the Democratic candidate, Senator John Kerry.
In an interview with the The New York Times, Mr Hansen said the pressure had been stepped up considerably since his speech last month in San Francisco when he said 2005 was probably the hottest year on record.
Many of the directives to stop talking were made through phone calls so that their was no paper trail, he said. However, other officials at the New York-based institute where Mr Hansen works have supported his claims that there were efforts to restrict what he was saying.
Nasa has denied that it is trying to silence Mr Hansen and said that all its scientists are free to discuss their findings but that matters of policy should be left to policy-makers. It said officials were required to oversee interview requests to ensure an orderly flow of information.
Like a lamb to the slaughter: Environmentalist attacks 'ecological disaster' of sheep-rearing at hill farmers' meeting – and is met with stony silence
Cuadrilla PR man admits George Osborne's shale gas revolution won’t cut energy bills
Python eats croc: when two (or more) species go to war - the 12 most amazing animal battles ever recorded
The 10 best folding bikes
10 best hiking boots
- 1 Three-quarters of Britons are saying it wrong - the top ten most common mispronunciations
- 2 Boy George: Bad karma
- 3 Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
- 4 First Kiss video: Filmmaker gets 20 strangers to make out on YouTube with awkward results
- 5 Ian Wright breaks down in ITV documentary charting his rise to Arsenal and England striker
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
£20,000 to £25,000: IT Connections Ltd: Graduate C / C++ Developer / Electroni...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: C / C++ Software Engineer / Windows / ...
£50,000 to £60,000: IT Connections Ltd: C++ / Java / Senior Software Developer...
£23500 - £50000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is...