Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A recent NY Times interview with Drew Shindell, an ozone specialist and climatologist at NASA. Much of this is very familiar, but it's always worth presenting new voices and evidence of the widespread censorship.

Q: As a physicist and climatologist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, you recently testified before Congress about ways in which the Bush administration has tried to prevent you from releasing information on global warming. Can you give us an example?
SHINDELL: Sure. Press releases about global warming were watered down to the point where you wondered, Why would this capture anyone’s interest? Once when I issued a report predicting rapid warming in Antarctica, the press release ended up highlighting, in effect, that Antarctica has a climate.

Q: If your department is that politicized, how does that affect research?
SHINDELL: Well, five years from now, we will know less about our home planet that we know now. The future does not have money set aside to maintain even the current level of observations. There were proposals for lots of climate-monitoring instruments, most of which have been canceled.

SHINDELL: Well, it’s a NASA decision following the directives from their political leaders. The money has been redirected into the manned space program, primarily.

Q: Are you referring to President Bush and his plan to send Americans to Mars?
SHINDELL: The moon and Mars, yes. It’s fine to do it for national spirit or exploring the cosmos, but the problem is that it comes at the cost of observing and protecting our home planet.

Q: Why is NASA involved in climate research in the first place?
SHINDELL: There is no federal agency whose primary mission is the climate, and that’s a problem, because climate doesn’t command the clout that it should in Washington. Since NASA is the primary agency for launching new scientific satellites, it has ended up collecting some of the most important data on climate change.

Q: There are now several bills floating around Congress that would limit greenhouse-gas emissions. Is one better than the others?
SHINDELL: They are useful first steps. But they are just baby steps. In the long term, we have to reduce emissions much more than any of these bills envision. At the state level, California is a great example of what the rest of the country should be doing. They require that energy be used efficiently, and as a result their per capita energy use has stayed level for decades, despite the growth in their economy.

No comments: