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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

NASA's Griffin caves under political pressure


The head of NASA told scientists and engineers that he regrets airing his personal views about global warming during a recent radio interview, according to a video of the meeting obtained by The Associated Press.

NASA administrator Michael Griffin said in the closed-door meeting Monday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that “unfortunately, this is an issue which has become far more political than technical, and it would have been well for me to have stayed out of it.”

“All I can really do is apologize to all you guys.... I feel badly that I caused this amount of controversy over something like this,” he said.

I was really disappointed to see this. It's interesting how, whenever a scientist or climatologist or politician or college professor or whatever, speaks out against the global warming hysteria their career is threatened. I don't know what happened with Griffin, but reading between the lines leads me to believe that he probably was "gently" asked to make some sort of statement. He hit the nail on the head: the problem is more political than technical.

For Al Gore and the global warming fanatics, it's a dead lock. There is NO argument to be had. Al Gore invented the internet, so we must believe everything he says about global warming. He said so, and a bunch of celebretards believe it too, and therefore it is 100% accurate that humans invented global warming, and the planet is going to die, and the only way to prevent it is to cause massive destruction to the economy in the United States.

Unfortunately for the Goracle, Leo, Laurie David, Pioneer Pelosi, and the rest of the hysterics, the argument is far from over. There is even a petition, The Global Warming Petition Project (which over 17,000 scientists have signed) stating that global warming is not a problem and might actually be environmentally helpful:

Below is an eight page review of information on the subject of "global warming," and a petition in the form of a reply card. Please consider these materials carefully.

The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, and natural gas and some other organic compounds.

This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.

The proposed agreement would have very negative effects upon the technology of nations throughout the world, especially those that are currently attempting to lift from poverty and provide opportunities to the over 4 billion people in technologically underdeveloped countries.

It is especially important for America to hear from its citizens who have the training necessary to evaluate the relevant data and offer sound advice.

We urge you to sign and return the petition card. If you would like more cards for use by your colleagues, these will be sent.

Frederick Seitz
Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.
President Emeritus, Rockefeller University

Unfortunately, most of the fanatics aren't interested in actually stopping global warming. As Griffin discovered, the argument is for political gain. Just thirty years ago, they were saying we'd be in a massive ice age right now. Shoot, my weatherman can't even predict whether it will rain in a few days, and we're supposed to believe Al Gore -- who isn't a scientist or a climatologist -- is who we should believe can predict what the weather will be like ten or twenty years from now?

Unfortunately, the political crowd will excommunicate you if you question their gospel. Too bad Griffin couldn't stick to his guns.

Previous: NASA scientist "unsure" of validity of global warming


Anonymous said...

Is this the Frederick Seitz you are refering to? The one that the CEO of R.J. Reynolds declared (in 1989) not "sufficiently rational to offer advice"?

Here is the full wikipedia entry on Seitz:
Frederick Seitz (born July 4, 1911) is an American scientist. Seitz studied under Eugene Wigner at Princeton University, graduating in 1934. They invented the Wigner-Seitz unit cell, which is an important concept in solid state physics. In 1940, he published a prominent physics textbook, The Modern Theory of Solids.

Seitz has commented on the role of curiosity in the process of scientific discovery:

"Over a long time, things that people learn purely out of curiosity can have a revolutionary effect on human affairs." [1]
From 1949-1968 he served as a professor of physics at the University of Illinois. The Frederick Seitz Materials Research Laboratory at the university is named for him.

He served as the president of the National Academy of Sciences from 1962 until 1969. From 1968 through 1978, he was president of Rockefeller University.

Shortly before his retirement from Rockefeller University in 1979, Seitz began working as a paid permanent consultant for the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, advising their research program.

By 1989, the CEO of R.J. Reynolds, William Hobbs, concluded that "Dr. Seitz is quite elderly and not sufficiently rational to offer advice." [2] However, in 1994, Seitz authored a report published by the George C. Marshall Institute, of which he was a founder and chairman of the board, entitled "Global warming and ozone hole controversies. A challenge to scientific judgment." In a broader discussion of environmental toxins, he concluded "there is no good scientific evidence that passive inhalation is truly dangerous under normal circumstances." [3]

Seitz continues to question whether global warming is anthropogenic [4]. He supports the position of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) on global warming and in an open letter invited scientists to sign the OISM's global warming petition. Seitz also signed the 1995 Leipzig Declaration.

Seitz questions the view that CFCs are damaging to the ozone layer.[5]

Anonymous said...

As to the petition:
The petition had a covering letter from Frederick Seitz, who identified himself as "Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.; President Emeritus, Rockefeller University", and an attached article. The six paragraph letter said that the attached article was "an eight page review of information on the subject of 'global warming'."[4] The senior author of the article was Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, a biochemist. The second and third authors were Drs. Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Both Baliunas and Soon have ties to the George C. Marshall Institute, which has taken a skeptical position on global warming since the 1980s. The fourth and final author was Zachary W. Robinson, Arthur Robinson's 21-year-old son.[5]

The article states that "over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly" and says that this was based on comparison of satellite data (for 1979-1997) and balloon data from 1979-96. At the time the petition was written, this was unclear. Since then the satellite record has been revised, and shows warming. (See historical temperature record and satellite temperature measurements.)

The article that accompanied the petition was written in the style and format of a contribution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal.[3] Raymond Pierrehumbert, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Chicago, and (now) member of RealClimate, said that it was "designed to be deceptive by giving people the impression that the article…is a reprint and has passed peer review." Pierrehumbert also said the article was full of "half-truths". F. Sherwood Rowland, who was at the time foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, said that the Academy received numerous inquiries from researchers who "are wondering if someone is trying to hoodwink them."[6]

After the petition appeared, the National Academy of Sciences said in news release[7] that "The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal." It also said "The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy." The NAS further noted that its own prior published study had shown that "even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises."[8]

In a 2006 interview for the magazine Vanity Fair, Seitz acknowledged that "it was stupid" for the Oregon Petition to copy the National Academy of Sciences format
Because of various criticisms made of the two Leipzig Declarations, the Oregon Petition Project claimed to adopt a number of measures, though none of these claims have been independently verified:

The petitioners could submit responses only by physical mail, not electronic mail, to limit fraud. Older signatures submitted via the web were not removed. The verification of the scientists is listed at 95%,[1] but the means by which this verification was done is not specified.
Signatories to the petition were requested to list an academic degree; 86% did list a degree. The petition sponsors stated that approximately two thirds held higher degrees, but provided no details confirming this claim.
Petitioners were also requested to list their academic discipline. The petition sponsors state that 2,660 scientists were trained in physical or environmental sciences (physics, geophysics, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, or environmental science) while 25% were trained in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or other life sciences.[1]
The Petition Project itself avoided any funding or association with the energy industries. A few of the scientists who signed the petition are affiliated with organizations funded by groups such as Exxon or the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell and the Cooler Heads Coalition's Patrick Michaels.
The term "scientists" is often used in describing signatories. The petition requests signatories list their degree (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.) and to list their scientific field.[2] The distribution of petitions was relatively uncontrolled: those receiving the petition could check a line that said "send more petition cards for me to distribute".

The Petition Project itself states:

“ Of the 19,700 signatures that the project has received in total so far, 17,800 have been independently verified and the other 1,900 have not yet been independently verified. Of those signers holding the degree of PhD, 95% have now been independently verified. One name that was sent in by enviro pranksters, Geri Halliwell, PhD, has been eliminated. Several names, such as Perry Mason and Robert Byrd are still on the list even though enviro press reports have ridiculed their identity with the names of famous personalities. They are actual signers. Perry Mason, for example, is a PhD Chemist.[1] ”

In 2005, Scientific American reported:

“ Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community.[10] ”

In a 2005 op-ed in the Hawaii Reporter, Todd Shelly wrote:

“ In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided. Why the lack of transparency?[11] ”

In May 1998 the Seattle Times wrote:

“ Several environmental groups questioned dozens of the names: "Perry S. Mason" (the fictitious lawyer?), "Michael J. Fox" (the actor?), "Robert C. Byrd" (the senator?), "John C. Grisham" (the lawyer-author?). And then there's the Spice Girl, a k a. Geraldine Halliwell: The petition listed "Dr. Geri Halliwell" and "Dr. Halliwell."
Asked about the pop singer, Robinson said he was duped. The returned petition, one of thousands of mailings he sent out, identified her as having a degree in microbiology and living in Boston. "It's fake," he said.[12]