Scientists Rally Around NASA Chief After Global Warming Comments

By | July 12, 2007

Griffin said he doubted global warming is "a problem we must wrestle with," and that it is arrogant to believe that today's climate is the best we could have and that "we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change."

While NASA scientist, James Hansen, was sharply critical of his boss, other scientists from around the world came to Griffin's support.

Said Dr. Walter Starck, an Australian marine scientist, "Griffin makes an important distinction between the scientific findings of climate change and dramatic predictions of catastrophic consequences accompanied by policy demands. The former can be evaluated by its evidence, but; the latter rest only on assertions and claims to authority. Alternate predictions of benefits from projected changes have been proposed with comparable authority and plausibility. For example, unless one chooses to define the Little Ice Age as "normal" and "optimal" the net effect of any warming has only been beneficial and any anthropogenic contribution very small indeed. Dramatic predictions of imminent disaster have a near perfect record of failure. Griffin's note of caution in the escalating concern over climate change deserves sober consideration.

Another Australian, who testified before a Senate panel last year, Professor Robert Carter, observed, "My main reaction to Michael Griffin is to congratulate him on his clear-sightedness, not to mention his courage in speaking out on such a controversial topic."

Dr. Tim Ball, a Canadian climatologist, responded: "Griffin's statement is sensible because it allows time for the testing of the man-made global warming hypothesis to continue as it should."

"I certainly support Griffin's comments," said William Kininmonth, a former head of the Australian National Climate Centre. "Not only is it speculative to claim that humans can in any way influence the course of climate but it is arrogant to suggest that today's climate is getting worse than it has been in the past. For example, who would prefer to return to pre-industrial conditions as they were during the Little Ice Age? Frost Fairs were common on many rivers of Europe and the London diarist John Evelyn records that in 1683-84 the Thames River froze from late December to early February. Conditions were terrible with men and cattle perishing and the seas locked with ice such that no vessels could stir out or come in. The fowls, fish and exotic plants and greens were universally perishing. Food and fuel were exceptionally dear and coal smoke hung so thickly that one could scarcely see across the street and one could scarcely breathe."

Kansas geologist, Lee Gerhard added, "Griffin's statement focuses on the hubris that affects much of public policy. It is great to know that someone out there besides geologists understands that humans do not dominate earth's dynamic systems.

Said Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph, "Claims of major, impending catastrophe are speculative and go far beyond what has been credibly established by researchers to date. Hence Griffin's view is not at all controversial or out of step with available evidence, and he should be commended for having the courage to say it. The fact that it took courage, however, points to the deeper problem that questioning the catastrophic propaganda we hear so much is now considered politically incorrect."

Dr. Pat Michaels at the University of Virginia agrees: "NASA Administrator Michael Griffin's statement about whether or not it is in fact a "problem" is supported by a scientific literature that his employee, James Hansen, appears to ignore. It is well-known that much of the Eurasian arctic was between 4 and 12 degrees (F) warmer than modern temperatures for much of the 6,000 years between 3,000 and 9,000 years ago, and that such warming was caused by a massive intrusion of warm Atlantic water into the arctic. Given that the only way it can get there is to flow east of Greenland, Mr. Hansen's well-publicized fears that a massive amount of Greenland's ice will fall into the ocean in the next 100 years is mere science fiction. It is ironic that today President Bush appears to have given in to Hansen's hysteria rather than to the calm reason of NASA Administrator Griffin.

Finally, Harvard University physicist Lubos Motl praised Griffin's climate comments, calling them "sensible." On his public blog, Motl said he applauds Michael Griffin and encourages him to act as "a self-confident boss of a highly prestigious institution." "I have always believed that the people who actually work with hard sciences and technology simply shouldn't buy a cheap and soft pseudoscientific propaganda such as the 'fight against climate change,'" Motl added.


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