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Quick jump to below stories:
Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him
Clinton: Climate change is the world's biggest worry
Global warming to speed up as carbon levels show sharp rise
Ocean's temperature off Santa Barbara now highest in 1,400 years

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

By Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times
January 29, 2006
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/29/science/earth/29climate.html?_r=1&th&emc=th

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

The scientist, James E. Hansen, longtime director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said in an interview that officials at NASA headquarters had ordered the public affairs staff to review his coming lectures, papers, postings on the Goddard Web site and requests for interviews from journalists.

Dr. Hansen said he would ignore the restrictions. "They feel their job is to be this censor of information going out to the public," he said.

Dean Acosta, deputy assistant administrator for public affairs at the space agency, said there was no effort to silence Dr. Hansen. "That's not the way we operate here at NASA," Mr. Acosta said. "We promote openness and we speak with the facts."

He said the restrictions on Dr. Hansen applied to all National Aeronautics and Space Administration personnel. He added that government scientists were free to discuss scientific findings, but that policy statements should be left to policy makers and appointed spokesmen.

Mr. Acosta said other reasons for requiring press officers to review interview requests were to have an orderly flow of information out of a sprawling agency and to avoid surprises. "This is not about any individual or any issue like global warming," he said. "It's about coordination."

Dr. Hansen strongly disagreed with this characterization, saying such procedures had already prevented the public from fully grasping recent findings about climate change that point to risks ahead.

"Communicating with the public seems to be essential," he said, "because public concern is probably the only thing capable of overcoming the special interests that have obfuscated the topic."

Dr. Hansen, 63, a physicist who joined the space agency in 1967, directs efforts to simulate the global climate on computers at the Goddard Institute in Morningside Heights in Manhattan.

Since 1988, he has been issuing public warnings about the long-term threat from heat-trapping emissions, dominated by carbon dioxide, that are an unavoidable byproduct of burning coal, oil and other fossil fuels. He has had run-ins with politicians or their appointees in various administrations, including budget watchers in the first Bush administration and Vice President Al Gore.

In 2001, Dr. Hansen was invited twice to brief Vice President Dick Cheney and other cabinet members on climate change. White House officials were interested in his findings showing that cleaning up soot, which also warms the atmosphere, was an effective and far easier first step than curbing carbon dioxide.

He fell out of favor with the White House in 2004 after giving a speech at the University of Iowa before the presidential election, in which he complained that government climate scientists were being muzzled and said he planned to vote for Senator John Kerry.

But Dr. Hansen said that nothing in 30 years equaled the push made since early December to keep him from publicly discussing what he says are clear-cut dangers from further delay in curbing carbon dioxide.

In several interviews with The New York Times in recent days, Dr. Hansen said it would be irresponsible not to speak out, particularly because NASA's mission statement includes the phrase "to understand and protect our home planet."

He said he was particularly incensed that the directives had come through telephone conversations and not through formal channels, leaving no significant trails of documents.

Dr. Hansen's supervisor, Franco Einaudi, said there had been no official "order or pressure to say shut Jim up." But Dr. Einaudi added, "That doesn't mean I like this kind of pressure being applied."

The fresh efforts to quiet him, Dr. Hansen said, began in a series of calls after a lecture he gave on Dec. 6 at the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. In the talk, he said that significant emission cuts could be achieved with existing technologies, particularly in the case of motor vehicles, and that without leadership by the United States, climate change would eventually leave the earth "a different planet."

The administration's policy is to use voluntary measures to slow, but not reverse, the growth of emissions.

After that speech and the release of data by Dr. Hansen on Dec. 15 showing that 2005 was probably the warmest year in at least a century, officials at the headquarters of the space agency repeatedly phoned public affairs officers, who relayed the warning to Dr. Hansen that there would be "dire consequences" if such statements continued, those officers and Dr. Hansen said in interviews.

Among the restrictions, according to Dr. Hansen and an internal draft memorandum he provided to The Times, was that his supervisors could stand in for him in any news media interviews.

Mr. Acosta said the calls and meetings with Goddard press officers were not to introduce restrictions, but to review existing rules. He said Dr. Hansen had continued to speak frequently with the news media.

But Dr. Hansen and some of his colleagues said interviews were canceled as a result.

In one call, George Deutsch, a recently appointed public affairs officer at NASA headquarters, rejected a request from a producer at National Public Radio to interview Dr. Hansen, said Leslie McCarthy, a public affairs officer responsible for the Goddard Institute.

Citing handwritten notes taken during the conversation, Ms. McCarthy said Mr. Deutsch called N.P.R. "the most liberal" media outlet in the country. She said that in that call and others, Mr. Deutsch said his job was "to make the president look good" and that as a White House appointee that might be Mr. Deutsch's priority.

But she added: "I'm a career civil servant and Jim Hansen is a scientist. That's not our job. That's not our mission. The inference was that Hansen was disloyal."

Normally, Ms. McCarthy would not be free to describe such conversations to the news media, but she agreed to an interview after Mr. Acosta, at NASA headquarters, told The Times that she would not face any retribution for doing so.

Mr. Acosta, Mr. Deutsch's supervisor, said that when Mr. Deutsch was asked about the conversations, he flatly denied saying anything of the sort. Mr. Deutsch referred all interview requests to Mr. Acosta.

Ms. McCarthy, when told of the response, said: "Why am I going to go out of my way to make this up and back up Jim Hansen? I don't have a dog in this race. And what does Hansen have to gain?"

Mr. Acosta said that for the moment he had no way of judging who was telling the truth. Several colleagues of both Ms. McCarthy and Dr. Hansen said Ms. McCarthy's statements were consistent with what she told them when the conversations occurred.

"He's not trying to create a war over this," said Larry D. Travis, an astronomer who is Dr. Hansen's deputy at Goddard, "but really feels very strongly that this is an obligation we have as federal scientists, to inform the public."

Dr. Travis said he walked into Ms. McCarthy's office in mid-December at the end of one of the calls from Mr. Deutsch demanding that Dr. Hansen be better controlled.

In an interview on Friday, Ralph J. Cicerone, an atmospheric chemist and the president of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's leading independent scientific body, praised Dr. Hansen's scientific contributions and said he had always seemed to describe his public statements clearly as his personal views.

"He really is one of the most productive and creative scientists in the world," Dr. Cicerone said. "I've heard Hansen speak many times and I've read many of his papers, starting in the late 70's. Every single time, in writing or when I've heard him speak, he's always clear that he's speaking for himself, not for NASA or the administration, whichever administration it's been."

The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.

Where scientists' points of view on climate policy align with those of the administration, however, there are few signs of restrictions on extracurricular lectures or writing.

One example is Indur M. Goklany, assistant director of science and technology policy in the policy office of the Interior Department. For years, Dr. Goklany, an electrical engineer by training, has written in papers and books that it may be better not to force cuts in greenhouse gases because the added prosperity from unfettered economic activity would allow countries to exploit benefits of warming and adapt to problems.

In an e-mail exchange on Friday, Dr. Goklany said that in the Clinton administration he was shifted to nonclimate-related work, but added that he had never had to stop his outside writing, as long as he identified the views as his own.

"One reason why I still continue to do the extracurricular stuff," he wrote, "is because one doesn't have to get clearance for what I plan on saying or writing."

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Clinton: Climate change is the world's biggest worry

Associated Press Writer
January 28, 2006, 2:00 PM EST
DAN PERRY
http://www.newsday.com/news/local/wire/newyork/
ny-bc-ny--worldforum-clinto0128jan28,0,379601.story?
coll=ny-region-apnewyork

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Former U.S. President Bill Clinton told corporate chieftains and political bigwigs Saturday that climate change was the world's biggest problem _ followed by global inequality and the "apparently irreconcilable" religious and cultural differences behind terrorism.

Clinton's comments provided something a freewheeling and philosophical finale _ ahead of Sunday's formal wrap-up _ to several days of high-powered discourse on the state of the world, and the mostly admiring audience seemed to hang on his every word.

"First, I worry about climate change," Clinton said in an onstage conversation with the founder of the World Economic Forum. "It's the only thing that I believe has the power to fundamentally end the march of civilization as we know it, and make a lot of the other efforts that we're making irrelevant and impossible."

Clinton called for "a serious global effort to develop a clean energy future" to avoid the onset of another ice age.

He also said the current global system "works to aggravate rather than ameliorate inequality" between and within nations _ including in the United States, where he lamented the "growing concentration of wealth at the top," alongside stagnation for the middle classes and rising poverty.

"I don't think we've found the way to promote economic and political integration in a manner that benefits the vast majority of the people in all societies and makes them feel that they are benefited by it," he said. "Voters usually see ... issues from the prism of their own experience."
Clinton won frequent enthusiastic applause _ not a common situation at the annual gathering in the Swiss Alps _ for articulating a global vision more conciliatory and inclusive than the one many of the assembled tend to associate with U.S. politics.

People around the world "basically want to know that we're on their side, that we wish them well, that we want the best for them, that we're pulling for them," he said.

Clinton called on current world leaders to seek ways of easing the "apparently irreconcilable religious and cultural differences in the world, that are manifest most stunningly in headlines about terrorist actions but really go far beyond that."

"You really can't have a global economy or a global society or a global approach to health and other things unless there is some sense of global community."

Former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans was listening. "He's a great performer and then he's got the greatest convening power of anyone now in the world, I think, and the greatest capacity to articulate things that matter," said Evans, who now heads the International Crisis Group, a think tank.

Clinton also dispensed advice on the issues of the day.

In Iraq, he said, the United States should not "give this thing up and say it can't work," but should consider "drawing down some of our troops and reconfiguring their components, trying to increase the special forces (and) putting them in places where they're not quite as vulnerable."

Iran, he argued, must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons, and neither economic sanctions nor "any other option" should be ruled out as ways of preventing this. But he warned there would be "an enormous political price to pay if the global community ... looked like they went to force before everything else has been exhausted."

Clinton also suggested the West should be more open to eventual dialogue with Hamas, the radical Palestinian group whose election victory stunned the world this week and clouded the prospects of any resolution to the conflict with Israel.

"One of the politically correct things in American politics ... is we just don't talk to some people that we don't like, particularly if they ever killed anybody in a way that we hate," he said. "I do think that if you've got enough self-confidence in who you are and what you believe in, you ought not to be scared to talk to anybody."

"You've got to find a way to at least open doors ... and I don't see how we can do it without more contact," he said. Hamas might "acquire a greater sense of responsibility, and as they do we have to be willing to act on that."

Klaus Schwab, the forum's founder and organizer, asked Clinton to advise the next U.S. president, noting that this person might either be married to Clinton or listening in the audience _ an apparent reference to Sen. John McCain, seated in the first row along with Microsoft's Bill Gates and other invitees.

"In this world full of culturally charged issues I think we should make it clear that Senator McCain and I are not married," Clinton joked as the audience burst into laughter.
The comment earned Clinton a slap on the back from the Arizona Republican, who fought a crowd to get to the former president after the event.

"Interesting talk," said the beaming possible 2008 presidential contender. "You got us both in trouble!"

Copyright 2006 Newsday Inc.

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Global warming to speed up as carbon levels show sharp rise

By Geoffrey Lean, Environment Editor
15 January 2006
http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/article338689.ece

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Global warming is set to accelerate alarmingly because of a sharp jump in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Preliminary figures, exclusively obtained by The Independent on Sunday, show that levels of the gas - the main cause of climate change - have risen abruptly in the past four years. Scientists fear that warming is entering a new phase, and may accelerate further.

But a summit of the most polluting countries, convened by the Bush administration, last week refused to set targets for reducing their carbon dioxide emissions. Set up in competition to the Kyoto Protocol, the summit, held in Sydney and attended by Australia, China, India, Japan and South Korea as well as the United States, instead pledged to develop cleaner technologies -- which some experts believe will not arrive in time.

The climb in carbon dioxide content showed up in readings from the US government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, taken at the summit of Mauna Loa, Hawaii. The measurements have been taken regularly since 1958 in the 11,400ft peak's pristine conditions, 2,000 miles from the nearest landmass and protected by unusual climatic conditions from the pollution of Hawaii, two miles below.

Through most of the past half-century, levels of the gas rose by an average of 1.3 parts per million a year; in the late 1990s, this figure rose to 1.6 ppm, and again to 2ppm in 2002 and 2003. But unpublished figures for the first 10 months of this year show a rise of 2.2ppm.

Scientists believe this may be the first evidence that climate change is starting to produce itself, as rising temperatures so alter natural systems that the Earth itself releases more gas, driving the thermometer ever higher.

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Ocean's temperature off Santa Barbara now highest in 1,400 years

Usha Lee McFarling
Los Angeles Times
Jan. 7, 2006 12:00 AM
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0107plankton07.html

In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

Southern California coastal waters have warmed in recent decades to their highest level in 1,400 years, according to a study of fossilized plankton published this week in the journal Science.

A group led by David Field of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography analyzed sediment cores drilled off the Santa Barbara coast. The cores contained thin layers of shells from microscopic plankton called forams that rained to the seabed after the animals died.

The cores showed that, as ocean temperatures varied, forams alternated between species that thrive in warmer waters and those dominating cooler waters.

Field found that subtropical and tropical forams started to increase around 1925. The increase became more dramatic after the 1970s.

Part of the ocean warming was due to a cycle of climate variability called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which shifts about every 20 years. The last warm cycle lasted from 1977 to the mid '90s.

But Field found that the abundance of tropical and subtropical forams has risen to its highest point in 1,400 years, suggesting that the increase was not just a product of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.

"There's an additional warming ... that makes the 20th century atypical," he said.

Experts estimate the decadal oscillation accounts for 1 degree Fahrenheit variation in Southern California ocean temperatures. Over the past century, upper ocean temperatures here have warmed nearly 3 degrees.

One likely cause of the extra temperature rise is the production of greenhouse gases, which are linked to global warming, Field said.

Bill Peterson, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, agreed with Field's conclusions of a long-term warming trend.

Peterson also said the Pacific Decadal Oscillation may be speeding up for unknown reasons from its 20-year cycles to three- or four-year cycles.

"It's not behaving like it used to behave," Peterson said.

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