On March 28, 48 retired NASA scientists sent a letter to Administrator Charles Bolden asking that the agency and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from disseminating information on their website related to climate change that wasn’t based on solid science.
It was a shot across the bow targeting climate alarmist Dr. James Hansen and others in agency who have turned NASA into a leading global warming advocacy group. NASA’s claims about climate change — based on questionable scientific conclusions — have alarmed these long-time employees whose staggering accomplishments in the 1960’s and 70’s made NASA the leading scientific agency in the world.
At the 7th annual International Climate Change Conference in Chicago on Tuesday, 4 of the scientists who signed the original letter, announced that they sent a follow up letter to the agency. Their original letter ended up in the hands of Dr. Waleed Abdalati, who responded, saying that: “As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue ‘claims’ about research findings.” The second letter, signed by 41 of the original signees, took Dr. Abalati to task for that statement. The letter, reproduced below, is courtesy of Anthony Watts website, Watts Up With That:
In our letter of March 28, 2012, we, the undersigned, respectfully requested that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites.
On April 11th, Dr. Waleed Abdalati responded, holding that: “As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue ‘claims’ about research findings.” Eight days later, at a senate hearing, Dr. Abdalati, did just that, concluding that Sea-Level rise within the next 87 years projects within a range of 0.2 meters to 2 meters, with lower ranges less likely while “the highest values are based on warmest of the temperature scenarios commonly considered for the remainder of the 21st century.” Abdalati added: “The consequences of a 1 meter rise in sea level by the end of this century would be very significant in terms of human well-being and economics, and potentially global socio-political stability.”
The range and imprecision of this conclusion is astounding! “Commonly considered?” Is this science by poll? If hard data points to a provable rise, it should be stated with its probability. Can you imagine one of your predecessors, Dr. Thomas Paine, declaring, “Our Apollo 11 Lunar Lander’s target is the Sea of Tranquility, but we may make final descent within a range that includes Crater Clavius”? We are not trying to stifle discourse, but undisciplined commentary, lacking in precision, is wholly inappropriate when NASA’s name and reputation is attached.
This letter should end the discussion, as a protracted discourse on this topic is not in NASA’s interest, but a commitment from you to equal or exceed the agency’s reputation for careful reliance upon rigorous science and accurate data most certainly is! Join us, please, in encouraging your colleagues to achieve the level of excellence the world has come to expect from America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration!Waiting to do so is not an option!
+ [signed 41]
After the announcement that the second letter was dispatched, the 4 former employees — Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmitt, Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham, Thom Wysmuller, and Hal Doiron — spoke movingly of how far astray the agency that landed a man on the moon had moved from the disciplined application of the scientific method and the danger inherent in bad science misleading policymakers.
Harrison Schmitt showed how science in America had largely been captured by the left and is now being used to advance a political agenda. Government agencies that used to act as a watchdog to guard against the politicization of science have themselves become tools in service to left wing politics. Research is now geared to giving the answer that government bureaucrats want to hear, rather than reaching independent conclusions. Academia and professional societies have been corrupted by government research grants and funding.
Schmitt thinks that what needs to happen is for groups like Heartland to keep pushing back against the warming alarmists while striving for media objectivity in reporting on climate change. Those two tasks pale in difficulty compared to the most important thing that needs to be done; recapture the K-12 educational system that has already indoctrinated the young in the global warming religion.
It was heartening to see the former NASA greats speaking so passionately about the need for realistic — and real — science in the debate over climate change. But it is a longshot that their letters will have any effect on an agency whose leading lights continue to push climate alarmism and are one of the driving forces behind global warming in the world.