Coming Dec. 27: “Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen”

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Here’s something we’ve pre-ordered for New Year’s reading: Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming, by climate science author Mark Bowen, “tells a chilling story of deliberate efforts by senior NASA managers, acting in concert with the Bush White House, to play up uncertainties and minimize dangers regarding global warming….A must-read not just for environmentalists but for all politically conscientious readers.” (Kirkus Reviews) The book, published by Dutton, is scheduled for release on December 27.

Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming (Hardcover)
by Mark Bowen

From the publisher:

Preeminent climatologist and leading NASA scientist Dr. James Hansen has been studying climate for over three decades. It was his testimony to a Senate committee in 1988 that first brought the threat of global warming to the world’s attention. In January 2006, news broke that the Bush administration had been attempting to censor Dr. Hansen—­obscuring his message and suppressing the vast body of his scientific work, which unequivocally demonstrates the reality and immense danger of global warming.

Now, for the first time and with unfiltered access, writer and physicist Mark Bowen finally tells the exclusive story of Hansen’s decades-long battle to bring the truth about global warming to light. Censoring Science illuminates the real science behind global warming and maintains that we can still prevent environmental disaster, while both strengthening our economy and our national security. In the tradition of Ron Suskind’s blockbuster bestseller, The Price of Loyalty, Censoring Science exposes the truth behind the administration’s spin doctors, and shares the inside story of one of the most important and influential scientists of our time.

About the Author
Mark Bowen is the author of the highly acclaimed book, Thin Ice, which was praised as “one of the best books yet published on climate change” (New York Review of Books) and named the best science book of 2005 by NPR’s Living on Earth. An avid climber with a Ph.D. in physics from MIT, Bowen has written articles for Climbing, Natural History, and Technology Review.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Bowen tells a chilling story of deliberate efforts by senior NASA managers, acting in concert with the Bush White House, to play up uncertainties and minimize dangers regarding global warming. Never made in writing, directives were generally issued orally, and in closed-door meetings, to NASA public-affairs officers, who were asked to act against their own principles and obtain approval from appointees before scientists could speak to the media. Hansen spoke out on 60 Minutes, noting government efforts to restrict his statements on 2005 as the warmest year on record. Bowen details the manipulations; shows how conservative NASA press officer George Deutsch was scapegoated as a rogue trying to control Hansen (while higher-ups declared an open-door media policy); and reveals how the White House “orchestrated” censorship on climate science at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and elsewhere. Amid the attack on credible, unbiased science, writes Bowen, Hansen despairs that no real progress is being made on global warming. A must-read not just for environmentalists but for all politically conscientious readers.

From a December 16 advance review on Daily Kos:

Politicians have always meddled in science policy. But when George Bush rode into the White House, what had been run of the mill irritating pressure to downplay politically charged scientific conclusions swelled into a rather dark, covert campaign to suppress data and misinform the public seemingly orchestrated at the highest levels.

That era was marked not just by blatant interference and censorship, the rewriting of scientific data and press releases were carried out in most cases anonymously, with no paper trail and no stated policy. NASA public affairs officers were told ‘do not email me!” and instructed to bring proposed press releases and data to the Ninth Floor exec area, drop them off, and retrieve the handwritten edited version as they mysteriously came back later—if they came back at all. And that’s merely one of the more obvious methods of censorship, there are many others, both more subtle and devious.

Consider if you will the New Horizons mission to Pluto. It has zero to do with climate change. But the probe carries a nuclear power supply, meaning it cannot launch without an executive order for national security reasons. All an unscrupulous administration need do then, to sow doubt and bitter division against the scientists and staff studying earth’s climate within the broader NASA organization, is imply through unofficial, unwritten backchannels that that order will never come, until certain researchers play ball. Better yet, simply cut the NASA earth science budget to the bone, throwing junior researchers on to the street and threatening the life’s work of senior scientists, not to mention making it more difficult, or in some cases impossible, to report new, ominous signs of global melting in a timely manner.

And those two tiny, shadowy examples are just the nasty tip of the calving ice-berg revealed in the book that our taxpayer funded public servants have endured, and which remain in place to this very day….

[The more you learn about] James Hansen, and the dozens of lesser known but equally dedicated public servants whose courage you will quickly come to admire in the book…the more you will come to admire and cherish them. It is to our great benefit as a nation and a species that they continue to diligently advance our understanding of the precious spaceship we inhabit called earth. They undertake scientific projects of astonishing complexity, under ever tightening budgetary pressure, making prediction after verified prediction, while simultaneously battling the most powerful and profitable political corporate hybrids ever assembled.

And while the reaction of individual readers is sure to differ, by the end of book, far from being outraged at the all too familiar shenanigans of the neoclowns, I hope you feel the same as I did: so inspired to help, honor, and follow the example of courage demonstrated at every turn by the staff of NASA GISS and their sister organizations, that you’ll ask yourself, aside from heeding the words of those experts, what can you do?

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