US climate expert says NASA bids to muzzle him
Updated: 2006-01-29 13:44
NASA's top climate scientist
said the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he
gave a lecture in December calling for prompt reductions in emissions of
greenhouse gases, The New York Times said on Saturday.
In an interview with the newspaper, James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard
Institute for Space Studies, said that officials at the space agency's
headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his lectures,
papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from
"They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the
public," the Times quoted Hansen as saying, adding that the scientist planned to
ignore the new restrictions.
A NASA spokesman denied any effort to silence Hansen, the Times said. "That's
not the way we operate here at NASA," said Dean Acosta, deputy assistant
administrator for public affairs. "We promote openness and we speak with the
Rather, the spokesman said the restrictions applied to any and all NASA
personnel who could be seen by the public as speaking for the agency. Acosta
added, however, that while government scientists were free to discuss scientific
findings, policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed
spokesmen, the Times said.
The story was posted on its Web site and will be published in Sunday's
Hansen, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, is an authority on
climate who directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at
Manhattan's Goddard Institute.