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"Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own fact." - Sen. Daniel Patrick “Pat” Moynihan [D-NY] (1927-2003)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A bit of fresh air about James Hansen's "boss"

The deniers are at it again. "Outing" James Hansen's former supervisor, Dr. John S. Theon, as a global warming skeptic after his years of working under Al Gore.

This all goes back to a "news release" from the U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works with a headline screaming " James Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor Declares Himself a Skeptic - Says Hansen ‘Embarrassed NASA’ & ‘Was Never Muzzled’ - Gore Faces More Scientific Blowback".

A bit of examination is needed here:

First, the two men behind the article are Marc Morano and Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe. Let's check SourceWatch about them:

"Marc Morano is communications director for the Republicans on the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Morano commenced work with the committee under Senator James Inhofe, who was majority chairman of the committee until January 2007 and is now minority ranking member. In December 2006 Morano launched a blog on the committee's website that largely promotes the views of climate change skeptics.

Morano is a former journalist with Cybercast News Service (owned by the conservative Media Research Center). CNS and Morano were the first source in May 2004 of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth claims against John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election and in January 2006 of similar smears against Vietnam war veteran John Murtha.

Morano was "previously known as Rush Limbaugh's 'Man in Washington,' as reporter and producer for the Rush Limbaugh Television Show, as well as a former correspondent and producer for American Investigator, the nationally syndicated TV newsmagazine."


"James M. Inhofe has voted in favor of big oil companies on 100% of important oil-related bills from 2005-2007, according to Oil Change International. These bills include Iraq war funding, climate change studies, clean energy, and emissions.

On April 28, 2004, Inhofe was honored for his 'work in promoting science-based public policy' by the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy, a think tank that disputes the scientific consensus on the causes and magnitude of global warming. (The think tank has received $658,575 from ExxonMobil since 1998).

Asked in writing in 2004 by journalist Chris Mooney whether Inhofe agrees that he's at odds with the scientific mainstream, his committee staff retorted, 'How do you define 'mainstream'? Scientists who accept the so-called 'consensus' about global warming? Galileo was not mainstream.'

On September 28, 2005, The Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works held a hearing titled 'The Role of Science in Environmental Policy-Making'. Inhofe, the committee's chairman opened the hearing stating that: 'Today's hearing will focus on one of the three objectives I set out when I assumed the Chairmanship of the Committee – to ensure that regulatory decisions are based on sound science.Too often the environmental policy decisions made by EPA and other science-based agencies are driven by political or personal agendas. You see this in types of research that gets funded or the types of grants that get awarded. It is my hope this hearing will help shed some light on how science is used by policy-makers and that we can arrive at some concrete suggestions for making the process better.'

In 2003, the Natural Resources Defense Council noted that Inhofe 'scored zero with the League of Conservation Voters since 1997, was the only senator to oppose Everglades restoration, and once compared the Environmental Protection Agency to the Gestapo.'"


Next is the claim that Theron was Hansen's supervisor. He wasn't. He retired in 1994, a full decade before Hanson's claim that he was "muzzled". Quoting NASA’s Gavin Schmidt on RealClimate:

"Dr. Theon appears to have retired from NASA in 1994, some 15 years ago. Until yesterday I had never heard of him (despite working with and for NASA for the last 13 years). His insights into both modelling and publicity appear to date from then, rather than any recent events. He was not Hansen’s ‘boss’ (the director of GISS reports to the director of GSFC, who reports to the NASA Administrator). His “some scientists” quote is simply a smear - which scientists? where? what did they do? what data? what manipulation? This kind of thing plays well with Inhofe et al because it appears to add something to the ‘debate’, but in actual fact there is nothing here. Just vague, unsubstantiated accusations."

More info here at Climate Progress.

Nice try guys, when you don't have any facts to speak of, please stop pounding the table.

1 comment:

Ted said...

OK, OK, OK, enough already, I can't take any more hoaxes: First we have Al Gore's gobal warming, next comes Obama being a constitutionally qualified President, followed by Obama's stimulus plan, but now we have Robert Reich telling us why we need stronger unions. Are we heading for Saturday Night Live 24/7?