james hansen

[This is a slightly-edited version of a blog first posted on Fox News Forum.]

The New York Times published a doozy of a front-page story by John M. Broder on Wednesday on the Climate-gate scientific fraud scandal. Those who have been lambasting our national “paper of record” for months for largely ignoring the scandal, while every London paper has run multiple big stories full of juicy new revelations, can now relax. The wise and good Grey Lady has finally taken notice.

Well, not exactly. Broder’s story, headlined “Scientists Take Steps to Defend Climate Work,” is all about how the climate science establishment have realized that they “have to fight back” against critics who have used the Climategate revelations to call into question the scientific case for global warming alarmism. Those whose only source of news for the past three months has been the Times will have a hard time figuring out exactly what they have to fight back against.
Broder’s analysis follows the party line that has been worked out among the leading alarmist climate scientists since the scandal broke on November 19, 2009. And Broder makes no effort to conceal where his sympathies lie. He writes: “But serious damage has already been done,” and then discusses polling data that shows increasing public disbelief in the global warming crisis. From my perspective, that’s serious good that has been done, not damage, but then I’m not an unbiased, fair-minded Times reporter.

Broder further opines on his own behalf: “The battle is asymmetric, in the sense that scientists feel compelled to support their findings with careful observation and replicable analysis, while their critics are free to make sweeping statements condemning their work as fraudulent.” That, of course, is not reporting, but agreeing with one of the alarmists’ talking points.

And it is untrue. Anyone who has ever seen some of the leading scientific proponents of alarmism in action knows that they are not about “careful observation and replicable analysis.” In fact, the major revelation of Climate-gate has been that top climate scientists refused to share their data and methodologies because they were concealing intentional data manipulation as well as incompetence. Which is exactly what their critics have maintained for years.

But blatant bias in news stories from the New York Times is not news. What makes Broder’s story unintentionally compelling is the cast of characters that he quotes to represent the calm, objective voice of establishment science.

First up is Dr. Ralph Cicerone, President of the National Academies of Science (NAS). That is an august position, and the principal reason Cicerone occupies it is because he is a wily political operator. As President of the NAS, he has worked overtime to enforce the alarmist “consensus”.
When Professor Michael E. Mann’s hockey stick graph came under suspicion, Cicerone craftily convened a National Research Council (or NRC—a government-funded scientific consulting company closely affiliated with the NAS) panel to investigate and appointed Professor Gerald R. North of Texas A. and M. University as chairman. The deceptively affable North has proven to be a reliable water carrier for whoever is in authority.

Cicerone did not share with the panel the probing questions that had been sent to him by then-Chairman of the House Science Committee and then the House’s leading green Republican, Sherwood Boehlert. Instead, Cicerone provided his own loaded questions.

When the panel’s report was nonetheless quite critical of the hockey stick research, Cicerone arranged a press release and conference that put a deceptive spin on the panel’s conclusions. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media reported what they were told at the press conference.

Cicerone is now using the NRC to rush out a report to minimize Climate-gate and defend the alarmist establishment. A group of NAS members led by Stanford Professor Stephen H. Schneider, who has long been the alarmist scientists’ chief political organizer and strategist, asked Cicerone for the study. It is clear that it is intended to be a whitewash.

Broder’s story also quotes Dr. John P. Holdren, now the White House science adviser and a long-time collaborator with Stanford Professor Paul R. Ehrlich of Population Bomb fame. Holdren has made a career of bending science to support left-wing politics and has an unblemished forty-year record of wild doomsday predictions that have all proven wrong.

After a quick quote from Dr. Rajendra K Pachauri, the Chairman of the U. N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who is a railway engineer by profession, Broder concludes by consulting Dr. Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate modeler at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City:

“Climate scientists are paid to do climate science,” said Gavin A. Schmidt…. “Their job is not persuading the public.”

If only that were so, even in the case of Dr. Schmidt. True, his salary is paid by American taxpayers, but it is almost certainly the case that over the past few years he has been spending a good part of his time during office hours and using government equipment to produce political propaganda for RealClimate.org, a web site run by Schmidt and Michael E. Mann. RealClimate.org has received help from Fenton Communications, the key P.R. firm for the Soros-funded left.
Thus Broder portrays Schmidt as just a scientist trying to be left alone to do his job, but in fact Schmidt is primarily a modestly-skilled political operative working to promote global warming alarmism. Here is Broder quoting Schmidt again:

“What is new is this paranoia combined with a spell of cold weather in the U. S. and the ‘climategate’ release. It’s a perfect storm that has allowed the nutters to control the agenda.”

“Nutters” is English (and Schmidt is English) slang equivalent to “nut” in the sense of crazy person. Well, Schmidt should know—his boss is the director of GISS, Dr. James E. Hansen. Hansen is widely considered to be the leading scientific promoter of global warming alarmism and as such is a highly political animal. He is also increasingly kooky and extreme.

Hansen claimed a few years ago that the Bush Administration was censoring him. It turned out he had given over 1,300 interviews during the Bush years! Hansen predicted over twenty years ago that much of Manhattan would be under water by now as the result of sea level rise caused by global warming.

Last year, Hansen, a federal employee, was arrested for protesting at a coal mine in West Virginia. He has endorsed industrial sabotage as justified by the climate crisis we are facing and said that oil company executives should be put on trial for “high crimes against humanity and nature.”

So Schmidt has it right: the nutters are in control–of the global warming alarmist agenda. But don’t hold your breath waiting for the New York Times to publish that story.

(Myron Ebell is director of Freedom Action. Freedom Action is a Web-based grassroots activist group dedicated to putting freedom on the offensive. Mr. Ebell may be contacted at mebell@freedomaction.org.)

Last week’s House Ways & Means Committee hearing on “scientific objectives for climate change legislation” contained much grist for skeptical mills.

Dr. James Hansen did not challenge any of Dr. John Christy’s specific arguments that UN climate models overestimate climate sensitivity. Instead, he advised Congress to ask the National Academy of Sciences for an “authoritative” assessment, because the science is “crystal clear.”

Hansen was quite harsh in criticizing Kyoto (an “abject failure”) and carbon trading (a politically unsustainable hidden tax for the benefit of special interests). He outlined a proposal for what he calls carbon “Tax & Dividend,” whereby 100% of the revenues would be refunded to the American people via monthly deposits to their bank accounts.

As I discuss here, Hansen’s beguiling proposal could decimate coal-based power in a decade or two, pushing electricity prices up faster than dividend payments increase, and saddling the economy with a growth-chilling energy crisis.