Monday, April 03, 2006

The Unmuzzled Scientist

Good BG column from Bob Novak:

In his "60 Minutes" interview, Hansen gave the impression of a faithful government scientist who, frustrated by politicians, at long last dared to speak out. Asserting the need to reduce CO2 emissions, Hansen warned: "If that doesn't start within 10 years, I don't think we can keep additional global warning under 1 degree Celsius. And that means there's a great danger of passing some of these tipping points. If the ice sheets once begin to disintegrate, what can you do about it?"

Hansen sounded much the same alarm in 1988, when he energized the global warming movement by predicting a temperature rise of 0.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the next 10 years. When the actual rise in surface temperatures over the decade was only 0.2 degrees, Hansen stepped back from his earlier predictions.

"The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change," Hansen wrote in 1998. He later admitted devising "extreme scenarios" about global warming to get the attention of "decision-makers."

As the fiercely contested presidential election of 2004 neared its end, an obviously unmuzzled Hansen declared publicly he was muzzled. Speaking at the University of Iowa on Oct. 26 that year, he declared: "In my more than three decades in government, I have never seen anything approaching the degree to which information flow from scientists to the public has been screened and controlled as it is now." At that same event, Hansen said he was voting for Kerry. In short, if you want the truth about environmental peril, you better get rid of Bush.


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