Note to NASA: Fire Dr. James Hansen, now.
Dr. James Hansen of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

I’ve been wrestling with this topic for hours now as to how to best present it in this forum.  I finally decided to simply just write it as I see it.

It has been an ugly day for law and common sense in the world. Vandalism in the name of ecological causes is now “ok” thanks in part to Dr. James Hansen, of NASA GISS coming to the defense of eco-vandals.  See the second story below. Now, encouraged by this “victory” that gives a sanction to eco-vandalism in the UK, how many more shall we see? And if one of these people is injured and kills themselves or others in the process of the next stunt? What then? Who is responsible?

Certainly I want a cleaner world, and better energy resources with focus on the future. But, sanctioning vandalism for these causes is not the way to get there. What do I want from NASA as a taxpayer? Science, solutions, and inspiring ideas turned into reality. I don’t want political activism in the name of science.

After thinking awhile about this, I’ve come to the following conclusions:

1- A NASA scientist siding with vandalism as a “lawful excuse” is an inappropriate abuse of the position. It was a question of law, not of science.

2- Dr. Hansen cannot separate himself from the agency as private citizen in this case, because he was brought in as an “expert witness”. Even if he paid his own way and took personal time, his presence was based on taxpayer funded research.

3- It appears Dr. Hansen has violated the code of ethics posted on the NASA Office of General Council webpage.

From the Goddard Institute for Space Studies web page:  GISS is a component laboratory of Goddard Space Flight Center‘s Earth Sciences Division, which is part of GSFC’s Sciences and Exploration Directorate. Thus Hansen falls under these ethics rules.

Specifically, Dr. Hansen’s defense of vandalism in the name of a cause he believes in fails under the NASA Misuse of position rule. If he received compensation of any kind, such as airfare, rooms, board etc. to appear as a NASA expert, he would also be breaking other NASA conduct rules.

4- As keeper of data, specifically the GISTEMP dataset, he has now brought the impartiality of that data into question due to his activism in areas unrelated to scientific research.

Certainly Dr. Hansen has a body of work that is impressive, there is no disputing that. But it is time for Dr. Jim Hansen to go. Thanks to him, GISS as a dataset is no longer impartial. We have potential bias from the gatekeeper of the data that can’t be separated from the data. If he can come to the defense of lawbreakers in the name of his global warming cause, then it is an even easier jump to allow that same bias to creep into scientific data he is responsible for and his conclusions drawn from that data.

If you feel the same way, your recourse is to write to

Michael D. Griffin


c/o NASA Public Communications Office

NASA Headquarters

Suite 5K39

Washington, DC 20546-0001

(202) 358-0001 (Office)

(202) 358-3469 (Fax)

Or use the online submission form


From the Greenpeace website:

Breaking news: Kingsnorth Six found not guilty!

The Kingsnorth 5

Five of the ‘Kingsnorth Six’ at the top of the 200m chimney

From The Independent, UK

Cleared: Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law


Nasa scientist appears in court to fan the flames of coal power station row

By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor

Thursday, 4 September 2008

The Nasa scientist who first drew attention to global warming 20 years ago appeared in a British court yesterday as a key witness in support of climate change activists charged with damaging a power station.

Professor James Hansen gave evidence at Maidstone Crown Court in the case of six Greenpeace members who scaled a 630ft chimney at the Kingsnorth plant in Hoo, Kent, last October in protest against plans to build new coal-fired units there.

The activists planned to paint the slogan “Gordon Bin It” on the chimney, but only got as far as the Prime Minister’s christian name before they obeyed a High Court injunction ordering them down. They were charged with causing £35,000 of damage – the sum it cost the plant’s owner, E.ON, to scrub off the word “Gordon”.

Greenpeace argues that under the Criminal Damage Act 1971, its activists had a “lawful excuse” to cause the damage because they were seeking to prevent even greater damage being caused to property – such as flooding from rising sea levels and damage to species caused by climate change.

Yesterday, Prof Hansen, who has spoken out against the Bush administration’s stance on global warming, said Britain had a responsibility to take a lead on limiting climate change because it was responsible – owing to its long industrial past – for much of the CO2 already in the atmosphere. Phasing out coal-burning power stations was crucial in tackling global warming, he told the court.

“Somebody needs to stand up and take a leadership role,” Prof Hansen said. “It is an opportunity for the Prime Minister. If we are to avoid disintegration of the ice sheets, minimise species extiction and halt or reverse… climate change there is just time to accomplish it, but it requires an immediate moratorium on new coal-fired power plants that do not capture or sequester CO2.”

Prof Hansen joined the Kingsnorth debate in December when he wrote to Gordon Brown and urged him to drop plans for coal-fired plants that do not capture CO2 emissions. E.ON wants to build two new coal-fired units at the ageing plant. The Government is considering whether to approve the planning application.

Before travelling to Kent, Prof Hansen met the David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, who is thought to be unhappy about the plan for Kingsnorth, which is being promoted by John Hutton, the Business Secretary. Mr Brown will have the final say later this year.

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rob r
September 10, 2008 8:29 pm

It’s time Michael Griffen to apply some real heat to James Hansen. If he can’t do so due to Hansen’s political and environmental backers then perhaps Griffen should reconsider his own employment at NASA.

T Bailey
September 10, 2008 8:34 pm

First, even if they had been found guilty, Hansen should be fired for taking part of something that is not science based, but activism based. However, now they have been found innocent on such flimsy grounds and, according to this story, Hansen acted as the defense primary witness. What an embarrassment for all Americans.
Second, I firmly believe this requires much more than contact with the NASA administrators. It’s time for a full congressional investigation into his (and probably other NASA employees) work at NASA. The activist attitude that he is putting forth is pathetic and at minimum, unethical, but probably, criminal.
His “science” (or lack thereof) is being used to push a fraud on the American people.

September 10, 2008 8:34 pm

Well, I put in my comment on the on-line form.
Maybe hearing it from another US Govt employee will carry a little weight…
I’ll be sure to post about any reply I get.

September 10, 2008 8:36 pm

I doubt the NASA Administrator is going to touch this in the seven weeks before election.
As a NASA employee Hansen will many layers of protection from discharge. A marginal violation of policy probably wouldn’t be enough.
If Hansen has used his position to tinker with data or facts then prove that. He has been a lightning rod for many years, so if his work still isn’t being completely checked by NASA it never will be.

Bill in Vigo
September 10, 2008 8:41 pm

Mr Hansen has lowered the status of NASA to that of eco Activist. He and by association those that work with him can no longer be trusted to provide the correct clear data and analysis necessary to any one to provide the information to make sound judgements concerning our current environment much less the future climate of the planet.
Bill Derryberry

Steve Huntwork
September 10, 2008 8:44 pm

“Vandalism in the name of ecological causes is now “ok” thanks in part to Dr. James Hansen, of NASA GISS coming to the defense of eco-vandals.”
This can work both ways….

Patrick Henry
September 10, 2008 8:47 pm

Doesn’t Hansen commute more than 60 miles to work? A crime by his own definition. How many species is he killing?

September 10, 2008 8:48 pm

This opens up a host of interesting legal questions. I know next to nothing about British Law other than the US adopted it. Given that a jury acquitted the defendants I imagine it won’t have too much impact on future cases, but if it’s okay to paint coal-fired smokestacks, is it okay to paint containment vessels at nuclear reactors?
If a protester manages to fall and get injured, is it the responsibility of the operators? Should they provide safety training for anyone who might want to deface the site?
Who besides Greenpeace? Farmers upset with the price of fuel? Upset with the weather? Militant Islamics out to rid the world of infidels?
Up ’til now, I figured the situation in the UK couldn’t be as bad as some have described. Guess I was wrong.

Mike Bryant
September 10, 2008 8:52 pm

Have you seen Hansen’s latest?
NASA study illustrates how global peak oil could impact climate
“Because coal is much more plentiful than oil and gas, reducing coal emissions is absolutely essential to avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change brought about by atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration exceeding 450 parts per million,” Kharecha said. “The most important mitigation strategy we recommend – a phase-out of carbon dioxide emissions from coal within the next few decades.”
“…a phase-out of carbon dioxide emissions from coal within the next few decades.”???
What happened to the 2000 deadline, and the 2015 deadline? We have decades now?
Of course, we have to shut down all our coal plants first…

September 10, 2008 9:00 pm

If he can suspend the rule of law for exigencies, he can pervert science for ideology, and he has done both.

Bill in Vigo
September 10, 2008 9:06 pm

This is the comment that I entered on the online comments for for NASA,
Sir or Madam,
It comes to my attention that one of your employees has traveled to a foreign country to act as an expert witness in a trial concerning VANDALISM. This trial had nothing to do with science it had to do with the crime of vandalism. Dr. James Hansen as a witness indicated that in his expert opinion vandalism was a valid action as regards to action to enforce your beliefs against another party. That party was not acting outside the law. Dr. Hansen’s action is tantamount to a call for anarchy in support of Eco environmentalism.
Dr. Hansen has by his actions reduced NASA in general and NASA GISS in particular into nothing more than a biased environmental activist campaign endorsing criminal activity.
In my humble but angered opinion Dr. Hansen should be sacked, fired, as no not allowed to resign but to be dismissed with out merritt. By his actions he has displayed no respect for the position that he holds and is very obviously using the position to forward his own personal agenda. The position dictates that publicly he must be totally unbiased, completely impartial. Dr. Hansen is not unbiased nor impartial. His actions are proof positive of this.
William Derryberry
Bill Derryberry

Dan Pangburn
September 10, 2008 9:06 pm

Hardly anyone is saying that the planet didn’t get warmer during the 20th century. Well, there is that question of whether UHI has been correctly accounted for, and the puzzling lack of concurrence of ground based data with satellite data. The media, politicians and businesses have been responding to pronouncements by the alarmists. The extant issue is whether humans had anything significant to do with Global Warming and whether they can do anything about it. A rigorous challenge of the complete picture shows that they didn’t and they can’t.
Continued Global Warming would have been a good thing, except for the political dopiness, but lately it has certainly changed character and the temperature trend may have changed direction again. Look at the numbers provided by NOAA (the other agencies tell similar stories). According to NOAA data (not their agenda-biased, thanks to Hansen, narrative reports), for the first 7 months of 2008 the AVERAGE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE IS LOWER than the average from 2000 thru 2007 by an amount equal to 13.5% of the total linearized increase during the 20th century. Since 2000, the CARBON DIOXIDE LEVEL HAS INCREASED by 13.6% of the total increase since the start of the Industrial Revolution.
But understanding global climate does not come from examining something so brief as the last decade, or even the last century. The ONLY predictors of significant Anthropogenic Global Warming are Global Climate Models (aka General Circulation Models) or GCMs. The only existing exact, correct computer of global climate is the planet itself. The output of this computer is recorded as climate history.
Apparently climatologists do not have much grounding in how feedback works. Unaware of their ignorance, they invoke net positive feedback in their GCMs. This causes the GCMs to predict significant ‘enhanced global warming’. Anyone who has the ability and interest to look at the NOAA data from Vostok Ice Cores for the last glaciation (and prior glaciations) will discover that, repeatedly, a temperature increasing trend changed to a decreasing trend with the carbon dioxide level higher than it had been when the temperature was increasing. Graphs of NOAA and other credible data, all fully sourced so they can be verified, can be seen at (The web site is controlled by Middlebury, not me.) Those who understand how feedback works will know that this temperature trend reversal is not possible with significant net positive feedback. Thus, as far as global climate is concerned and contrary to the assumption in the GCMs, significant net positive feedback from water vapor does not exist.
Most of the infrared radiation energy that is absorbed by greenhouse gas molecules is immediately shared with the thousands of times more numerous nitrogen and oxygen molecules. In other words, nearly all of the absorbed infrared energy is thermalized. That is what makes the air feel warm. Calculations (see ) show that half of the infrared energy from the surface that ever gets absorbed gets absorbed within 24 meters of the surface. The absorbed energy is then primarily carried up by atmospheric convection currents and radiated to space by clouds and other emitters. This mechanism is well understood by scientists that are knowledgeable in optical spectroscopy. The process is not yet adequately accounted for in the GCMs. These faulty GCMs are the ONLY predictors of significant Anthropogenic Global Warming. Climate history refutes significant net positive feedback and thus refutes Anthropogenic Global Warming.
The multi-billion dollar government grants for ‘climate research’ depend for their continuation on ominous prediction of looming catastrophe requiring more study. A lot of people have been hoodwinked by this self-serving rhetoric. Many are eager to impose their will on others. Some are positioned to profit from it. An entire industry has evolved that exploits the fear of Anthropogenic Global Warming.
The so-called consensus is primarily climatologists who stand to benefit from dire predictions and their followers. Over 31,000 qualified scientists and engineers have signed a document stating that human activity has had no significant influence on climate. The list can be seen at . Compare this to the 2,500 scientific reviewers claimed by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to form a scientific consensus.
Group-think bias has corrupted the peer review process of articles related to climate. If the peer reviewers were not mesmerized by their incomplete computer programs and corrupted by the desire for job security there might be less bias.
No one can be sure where the average global temperature will go from here. According to Vostok ice core data it has been warmer than now four other times during the Holocene (the last 11,000 or so years) so eventual temporary further rise is not out of the question. However, the change in pattern since 2001, the recent downtrend, and continued quiet sun are all indicating that the planet is in for a continuation of the cooling trend. The huge heat sink of the oceans will cause the cooling to be gradual, as was the warming.

September 10, 2008 9:14 pm

Words fail me this guy takes the cake, he should have been fired long ago.

Jeff Alberts
September 10, 2008 9:21 pm

Personally I don’t care if these morons get injured or killed, they’re making their own beds and deserve whatever befalls them.

MIke McMillan
September 10, 2008 9:22 pm

I’d still like to see a transcript of Dr Hansen’s testimony. Any sources?

September 10, 2008 9:24 pm

Wow guys, you want to fire James Hansen because he voiced an opinion! Hansen did his science, and he simply expressed the results of his scientific research in court, and the science just happened to be on Greenpeace’s side. What a traitorous crime!
Also, Watts, I understand you’re a meteorologist at KPAY-AM which is affiliated with Fox News. Are you sure you yourself don’t have a vested interest in denying global warming which you can’t separate from your day job? I mean, I’m guessing that if you change your mind and start agreeing with Hansen, you won’t be able to stay at KPAY-AM for long — sounds like a crystal-clear vested interest to me.
— bi, International Journal of Inactivism
REPLY: The difference here is that there are rules. Hansen can voice opinion like any other citizen. I have no problem with that. But when using a taxpayer funded position as a political soapbox, it’s a no-no. Frank, you are welcome to inspect the KPAY public file. And you’ll see that we run commercials from Gore’s WE campaign as well as “Flex your power” from the state office. We routinely have both sides of the issue on. Of course you wouldln’t know that, since you can’t hear the signal. But I’m sure you’ll now commence to write an appropriate article condemning me, as is your MO.
Since you bring up “inactivism”, besides complain about others, what have you done? I asked you a question once before about what you’ve done to promote cleaner energy and environment, such as solar power and driving an electric car as I do. Let’s hear it Frank. Show us your lack of inactivism. -Anthony

Jeff Alberts
September 10, 2008 9:24 pm

Hardly anyone is saying that the planet didn’t get warmer during the 20th century

I believe any warming which might have occurred is within the margin or error, and is therefore negligible.

Mike Bryant
September 10, 2008 9:26 pm

What if their antics kill an innocent? Will Hansen be partially responsible?

Patrick Henry
September 10, 2008 9:32 pm

Interesting that Hansen is more than happy to fly to the UK to scare a bunch of women, but refuses to debate Lord Monckton (or anybody else.)
Real tough guy he is.

John McDonald
September 10, 2008 9:32 pm

Wow! It appears James Hansen and the Earth Liberation Front \ the Monkey Wrench Gang ideology is the same.
If this is all true, then you are right Anthony, he needs to be fired for this. Burning down McMansions, Research buildings at the University of Washington, Destroying heavy equipment, burning down animal research labs, etc. has rightfully resulted in prison for those involved. Not even the Sierra Club has come to the defense of these radicals, now James Hansen has. This man has lost his ever loving mind.
I love freedom of thought and debate, but these people are not below destroying the careers of skeptics and now have reached a new low of defending criminal behavior to further their cause instead of simple civil disobedience.

September 10, 2008 9:33 pm

This may be off topic, but as your site opened in my browser, my firewall notified me of a “malicious” attempt to access my computer. The name of the source listed on the pop-up was Greenpeace UK.
I don’t know how this would be connected to your site, but I thought you might like to know.
REPLY: Hmmm There is a link in my story to the Greenpeace UK website, perhaps that is the reason. Anybody else get this same problem?

Mike Bryant
September 10, 2008 9:35 pm

Is Hansen a mainstream environmentalist? Just wondering.
Mike Bryant

September 10, 2008 9:53 pm

[…] jury. This con man has been swindling whole countries for twenty years now, starting with our own. Anthony Watts is calling for NASA to fire him, though I don’t see that […]

September 10, 2008 10:07 pm

Watts, so simply talking about science is now “political soapboxing”? While your blatant politicking is “science”?

And you’ll see that we run commercials from Gore’s WE campaign as well as “Flex your power” from the state office.
I’m not talking about ads — it’s easy to air a few ads. I’m talking about the people employed by your radio station, which is affiliated with Fox News. How many people in KPAY-AM can you name who agree with Hansen and haven’t yet been fired? Since you claim to have no vested interest in AGW denial, surely you can name a few?

I asked you a question once before about what you’ve done to promote cleaner energy and environment

No you didn’t. Anyway, even if I answer your question, you’ll just claim that I’m a tree-hugging fanatic or some such.
So tell us, Watts — tell us about your lack of vested interest. How many people are there at your KPAY-AM station who agree with Hansen and haven’t been fired yet?
— bi, International Journal of Inactivism

REPLY: Frank – my name is Anthony. Courtesy please. Yes I did ask you before, perhaps you missed it. I’m asking again. What have you done? Actually we have several “green people” at the radio station. The morning producer for example. She’s very much into eco. I don’t know her position, nor the position of others on Hansen. I’ve never asked. The radio station also promoted and gave away an electric car in a contest recently. It was a Ford Think, which you may be familiar with in Europe since they are sold there.
Under the same general manager, when he was the GM of the TV station, in 1990 I did a nationwide project called Arbor Day-Weather week in conjunction with Earth Day, which had a goal of providing weathercasters nationwide with the ability to use computer graphics to show the need to plant trees to offset global warming. 174 TV stations participated and Arbor Day provided Colorado Blue Spruce Seedlings free of charge to any viewer that wrote in. Over 250,000 trees were planted that year as a result of that.
I suppose that you think it is impossible. But that’s the reality. My impetus at the time? James Hansen and his 1988 speech before congress.
So yes I once very much agreed with him. I don’t anymore because I don’t see data that supports the theory.
OK Frank your turn, what do you do? What have you done to promote energy conservation or other things?

Richard Patton
September 10, 2008 10:35 pm

Wow – this is a new low for Hansen.
I not only sent an e-mail to NASA but also sent e-mails to my representatives.
NASA’s James Hansen is in charge of the GISSTEMP temperature record.
If Hansen thinks it is ok to vandalise property in order to reduce CO2 emissions why should we believe that he won’t also fudge the numbers at GISSTEMP? It seems pretty clear that GISSTEMP is consistently higher in its temperature reconstruction than HadCRUT, UAH or RSS. It is clearly an outlier.
One has to start questioning his ethics regarding what he is willing to do to advocate his beliefs.
When a supposed scientist is willing to cross the line of the rule of law then why would we trust him to provide un-biased scientific evidence. And when the science he does provide is significantly out of line with other scientific data why wouldn’t someone look into this? It is at the very least a public trust issue.
Richard Patton

September 10, 2008 10:37 pm

Frank, Anthony is a private citizen. Hansen is a government employee. End of story.

Jeff Alberts
September 10, 2008 10:43 pm

Mike Bryant: “What if their antics kill an innocent? Will Hansen be partially responsible?”
Different situation entirely. I didn’t make any mention of that, only that if the cause harm to themselves, they deserve it.

September 10, 2008 10:45 pm

This is a dangerous precedent. If vandalism is OK, then what else can the same defence be used for? For harming people who have high carbon footprints, for example? Could I burn-down the headquarters of Boeing because planes emit CO2? How about slaughtering cows? When you think of the number of issues that are blamed on global warming, this is arguably a defence for nearly any crime imaginable.

September 10, 2008 11:18 pm

Some have said last winter was the worst but just wait.
I think all of the coal fired power plants in the UK voluntarily shut down for safety/eco inspections and not throw a switch until Hansen and his smart crowd certifies each of them. Let the good magistrate warm his butt with burning law books. I think there would be torches and pitchforks at the gates.

Michael Hauber
September 10, 2008 11:21 pm

‘1- A NASA scientist siding with vandalism as a “lawful excuse” is an inappropriate abuse of the position. It was a question of law, not of science.’
The point of law was that the protesters used the defence that they were ‘preventing a greater harm’. Is it not a question of science whether AGW will be a greater harm?
‘If he received compensation of any kind, such as airfare, rooms, board etc. to appear as a NASA expert, he would also be breaking other NASA conduct rules.’
Does anyone have any evidence that Hansen received compensation for appearing as an expert witness? Or is it guilty until proven innocent?

Paul Biggs
September 10, 2008 11:24 pm

On the same day in the UK we hear that a mother was fined £700 for putting her dustbin bags out a day early. Mad!
REPLY: It was £70 for using the wrong dustbin not 700, here is the story:
Yes mad indeed.

September 10, 2008 11:37 pm

The shortfall in UK energy has been pointed out to the government. They, the government, are faithfully following EU guidelines to close down existing coal and obsolescent nuclear power stations and are dependant on French (nuclear) electricity and Russian gas and Russian coal for the remaining power stations. The outcome is predictable. People are going to die, in the name of “saving the planet”!
Hansen, greenpeace et al will have blood on their hands.

September 10, 2008 11:56 pm

Sorry Anthony, I’m not with you on this one. Appearing as an expert witness for the defence in a vandalism case is not the same as ‘defending vandalism’, fine distinction though it may be. Nowhere in the reports is it indicated that Hansen approved of the activists’ actions.
REPLY: I understand where you are coming from but please consider this. When asked to travel to act as an expert witness to the defense, a personal choice was made. I would think that if Dr. Hansen did not agree with the actions, or thought that the actions were rephrehensible, would he have agreed to go?
When called upon without subpoena as force of law, any citizen has a choice, particularly when the court has no jurisdiction over you, such as a UK court on an American citizen. I believe Dr. Hansen made the choice to go because he knew it would become a show trial, and it has. Law be damned, the message was more important is how I view it.
I’ve testified in court under oath on meteorological matters pertinent to civil cases. I’ve also been asked to be a witness for cases that I have turned down, because when I saw what situation the defense would be putting me in, I saw it as a personal integrity issue and declined. I believe Dr. Hansen was in the same situation and had the same choice available to him.

September 11, 2008 12:00 am

I wouldn’t call testifying at a criminal trial “simply talking about science”.

Richard Hill
September 11, 2008 12:01 am

Slightly OT. Surely, since this acquittal sets such a serious precedent, there will be an appeal? Does anyone know what is happening?

September 11, 2008 12:38 am

Since when has it become legal to become a vigilante? Surely there must be an appeal on this case. Maybe the next prosecutor could call up lord Monckton as a witness.

Frank L/Denmark
September 11, 2008 12:50 am

Anthony, you write:
“If he can come to the defense of lawbreakers in the name of his global warming cause, then it is an even easier jump to allow that same bias to creep into scientific data he is responsible for and his conclusions drawn from that data.”
This is a very very sharp and important point.
Hansen is now testifying his low moral to the whole world, and NO ONE can any longer be considdered “Conspirasy-freak” for believing that Hansen has modified GISS data in unscientific ways to promote his ideas that where once pure and clean.
All important giss modifications support his case, and this is statistically impossible.

James S
September 11, 2008 1:23 am

I couldn’t imagine that the Britain could get any worse than it had already become in the short six months since I left the place for good. But it really does seem like the lunatics have well and truly taken over the asylum.
My advice is to now ignore the country (where I was raised) until intelligent life is able to repopulate the place.

Frank L/Denmark
September 11, 2008 1:24 am

Of topic:
What a dirty dirty war where every trick is used:

September 11, 2008 1:28 am

Richard: I’m not sure the acquittal can be appealed. But the ways of the law are strange.
Spam et al. Their defense used the rule that one may break the law to prevent a “greater harm.” I have never heard of it being allowed except when the “greater harm” was an immediate and indisputable danger.
So the jury apparently decided that defacing the power plant had to be done that night or global warming could not be forestalled.
Talk about a tipping point! They calculated it to the hour and to one smokestack.
As Spam noted, the “greater harm” acquittal is a step onto the slippery slope. Why not intimidate workers at that plant? Or bomb company offices. Why not kill a few or a great number to illustrate how serious global warning is? Why not shoot government ministers who promote the wrong policies? What cannot be justified to save Earth?
Hansen’s involvement here was trivial. Like Al Gore he has transcended facts. So regardless of developments – whether the Earth warms or cools and what man’s role proves to be – they will have apostles forever.

September 11, 2008 1:49 am

cool down.
Look, when Barack Obama wins, he will install Al Gore to be head of the department of energy and head of the department of enviromental problems, or what the precise name is or will be. Call it ‘save- the-planet department’.
Al Gore in turn will need undersecretaries and a first round choice to pick is Dr. Hansen, who has a reputation of having managed GISS (for the record: I really mean manage and not massage!). Then, Dr. Hansen will manage all science involved in climate change.
Dr. Hansen, of course, will also manage all sceptics to get convinced of his views.
You should strart calling him Uncle Hansen.

September 11, 2008 2:03 am

I have given expert testimony in British courts many times – at all levels – and am thus more than usually familiar with the requirements for expert witnesses. Strictly – honoured more in the breach than the principle – the expert does not represent either side, but is an officer of the court, there to give guidance to the court.
As such, the expert is duty and legally bound to give impartial evidence. Evidence of partiality is one of the grounds for disqualifying an expert. I once spent three days in a witness box, two days of them under hostile cross-examination where the prosecution strategy was to argue that, having publicly taken sides on the argument, I was an “activist” or “campaigner” and thus disqualified as an expert.
On that basis, I doubt very much whether Hansen – had he been challenged – could have stood up as an expert and most certainly should have been disqualified.
Incidentally, Hansen is not the only one to misuse his office. Zac Goldsmith, the “environmental policy advisor” to the Conservative opposition leader, David Cameron, also gave evidence to the court in favour of the activists. He has since made statements in his role as a policy advisor.
By inference – as he as not been disowned by the Party – the Conservative Party also supports the commission of criminal damage in pursuit of environmental campaigning. And this is a Party which has ambitions to become the next government.
See here.

September 11, 2008 2:14 am

Herehere!! Thank you for the link. I had been looking for a petition or some such thing to this effect for almost 6 months now. Thank you.
I believe that Hansen lost his scientific objectivity some time ago and has been spouting his quazi GW “fear monger” crap on my dime for way too long. I cannot respect a man who uses scare tactic and out right bully tactics to further his agenda. Is it any suprise that he advocates such behavior as acceptable in others? He only opens his mouth to change feet these days and that is not someone I would like to see at NASA.
NASA should be above the argument, and continuing to look at the data being gathered. As an organization they should not be playing sides in this debate especially since they provide a signifigant role in data collection. If the objectivity is skewed twards a specific agenda, then the data collection can and WILL be skewed as well. Don’t sit there and tell me the numbers cannot be skewed, all you have to do is wonder where the heck the hockey stick theory went and how much trouble it took for objective scientists to get the message out that it was wrong.
Im getting tired of scare tactics by the climate change folks. Why does climate change mean disaster? The Earth warms, the earth cools. The sun has spectacular displays of power, and has the audacity to go silent. The temp drops in spite of predictions and where one ice pack diminishes, another grows. I have not seen or read anything that would prove to me that its man that causes any of it. I suspect that this winter in the NW United states will be a very bad one. Its one of the coldest summers I have seen in about 30 years and the cold for winter is already setting in. GW’ers responce, dont worry it will warm up again.. WELL DUH… doesnt that mean its a natural fluxuation? But no.. according to the latest scare, complete with cute polar bear picture, the Artic is now an island for the first time in human history. I kid you not that is the byline.
I know I am preaching to the choir here folks. But I have taken to being very vocal. I write news organizations when they run stupid stories, I write to my congressmen, and I voice my opinion just as loud as a GW’er. Good news is, maybe its starting to work as I see more in kind responces as mine showing up. I just figure this. If it works for them, it will work for me too.

Steve Berry
September 11, 2008 2:31 am

That woman was found not guilty of puttings the wrong things in her bin, by the way. She never paid £700 or £70.

John M
September 11, 2008 2:41 am

Hansen revealed his lunacy earlier this year in calling for the heads of companies to be prosecuted for “crimes against humanity,” if they muddied the waters by presenting information skeptical of global warming to the public, during his 20th anniversary (of his 1988 1st testimony to the U.S. Congress on global warming dangers) testimony to Congress. At least we know he no longer believes in real science which requires skepticism to progress.
The guy is a kook (and this is coming from someone trained in the atmospheric sciences, which Hansen was not).
If British (common) law is similar to the U.S. Constitutional prohibition against double jeopardy (i.e., being tried twice for the same crime if already acquitted), there will be no appeal available. The jury gets the last word, period. It’s the same reason O.J. Simpson’s not guilty verdict could not be appealed.
Maybe a few more cold, wet winters will put some sense into the British citizenry. And where were the prosecution’s expert witnesses?

September 11, 2008 2:42 am

What I wrote to NASA:
“Nasa scientist appears in court to fan the flames of coal power station row.” From the UK Independent.
Jim Hansen stated in a court of law “Somebody needs to stand up and take a leadership role,” Prof Hansen said. “It is an opportunity for the Prime Minister. If we are to avoid disintegration of the ice sheets, minimise species extiction and halt or reverse… climate change there is just time to accomplish it, but it requires an immediate moratorium on new coal-fired power plants that do not capture or sequester CO2.”
Are these the statements of a scientist or an advocate/zealot? Is GISS data a tool of discovery or the tool of a zealot? What is the budget of GISS and how can it be justified when its administrator is a man of faith in the cause of AWG? Fire him and let him get on to making the big bucks lobbying legislatures.

Rob Thomas
September 11, 2008 2:49 am

As a UK citizen I have to tell you that my view is that Hansen was just putting the ball in to an empty net. An “eminent” NASA scientist addressing 12 wise men and women who are constantly receiving the “climate change” message from the printed press, government and the BBC!
It is no surprise at all.
The surprise for those members of the jury will come in 7- 10 years time when, due to the closure of many existing coal power staions (due to EU pollution regs) and the shutdown of worn out Nuclear plants, the lights start to go off in periods of high energy requirements. A string of mild winters has just increased the complacency.
All in a country that has well over a 100 years of coal reserves and you might think would be interested in developing clean(er) coal generation.
Hansen no doubt sees this as an important victory in the “fight” against CO2, but be aware that there is already some speculation that the govt may not now approve the new coal plant. If that is the case no doubt he will feel his trip to the UK well worthwhile.

September 11, 2008 3:12 am

there is an other Hansen involved at NASA
scary stuff

September 11, 2008 3:18 am

I think he looks like Homer Simpson in the photo.

September 11, 2008 3:27 am

So an ‘activist’ from a ‘animal’ welfare/rights group, see’s that a dog has been run over in the street. He decides the dog needs urgent veterinary care, So he steals a nearby car, vandalizing it by breaking the window and hot wiring it…. At his trial he is found innocent of stealing/damaging the car, probably as he had an expert (from a foreign country no less) saying the dog might have otherwise died. But the point of the trial (surely) is that the owner of the car wants compensating for his loss. Not be told that the court had effectively given cart-blanch for his (or anyone elses) car to be stolen for reasons of some ‘greater good’ !!! the lunatics have indeed taken over the asylum

September 11, 2008 3:56 am

The only good thing about Hansen is that his “adjustments” were so glaring that they awoke me to the fact science was being distorted. Up until thirteen months ago I naively accepted the NOAA and NASA data as Gospel, and didn’t even imagine any distortion could be involved. It was McIntyre’s work at Climate Audit forcing Hansen to “readjust” his “adjustments,” that shook me up. (Then, of course, Hansen “readjusted” the “adjusted adjustments.”)
I wrote my congressman about Hansen using his position in a way that was illegal last August 2, stating he should be fired. I received a form letter in response. (See copy below.) It didn’t leave me feeling heard, however I feel we should keep the pressure up, and write our congressmen again and again and again.
Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on the current global climate change discussion. I truly appreciate hearing from you, and I am working hard to stand up for New Hampshire’s interests in Congress.
I understand your concerns about the scientific debate on climate change. Recent peer-reviewed scientific reports, including the reports issued by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), have indicated that global warming is a real threat to our planet. However, independent from the evidence for global climate change, working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and developing alternatives to fossil fuels will improve both the environment as well as our domestic economy. Instead of sending more than $1 billion overseas every day for oil, it is critical to our economy to develop our own renewable energy sources.
I share you concern for the ability of New Hampshire’s families to heat their homes this winter. On July 10, 2008, I introduced H.R. 6473, a bill that provides a bipartisan solution to bring down the price of heating oil. This bill would release heating oil from the Northeast Home Heating Oil Reserve onto the market by auction if the price stays above $4 a gallon from November through March. The money raised would go to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Weatherization Assistance, two programs that assist thousands of New Hampshire families dealing with energy costs each year. H.R. 6473 has been referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Although I am not a member of this committee, please know that I will keep your thoughts in mind if this comes to the floor for a vote.
I encourage you to continue to contact me about the issues that are important to you. Please feel free to visit my website at where you can share your ideas with me, learn about the services I can provide to you, and sign up for my periodic e-mail updates on what I am doing to help New Hampshire.
Paul Hodes
Member of Congress

Pierre Gosselin
September 11, 2008 4:06 am

So anything that emits CO2, i.e. threatens global warming, is open game to vandalism and destruction?
That’s pretty much what this kook UK judge is saying.

Pierre Gosselin
September 11, 2008 4:09 am

Still, it might be a good idea to leave Hansen at his position, as there is clearly no better display of the the AGW lunacy. Let the world see it for what it is.

Dodgy Geezer
September 11, 2008 4:32 am

I would like to sound a note of caution here – like Climate Audit I would like to think that this site supported proper science, and accepted proven facts, even when they go against our beliefs.
In this case the issue is a strict legal one. Was damage to the chimney justified in pursuit of a ‘greater good’? English law (IANAL) seems to have some problems with this concept – it is there to allow you to ‘perform emergency help’, such as break down a door to rescue a fire victim, and so I suspect that there has to be some element of emergency for it to be invoked. Incidentally, I believe this legislation has been successfully used before to defend anti-war protestors damaging military equipment – the claim being that Iraq was an illegal war was disallowed, but the claim that sabotage prevented individual ‘war crimes’ such as the use of cluster bombs over cities was allowed to be argued. So there is ‘form’, though not a full precedent. Google ‘Fairford Five’.
I assume Hanson was brought in to argue that a ‘immediate emergency’ existed. We may believe this to be unproven, but he is entitled to put his views to a court. The judges would have been in a difficult position – they must decide on the evidence presented. If goverment bodies such as NASA say that there is an emergency, the judge has little option under law.
I think the problem is that the UK and other governments have been trying to have their cake and eat it. They want there to be an ’emergency’ from which they can ‘save’ people (usually by more laws and taxes), but they also need to enforce their writ over controversial military/environmental/what-have-you decisions they make. If I can use the existence of an ’emergency’ to justify causing damage aimed at stopping any controversial action, then the rule of law is severly dented!

Richard S Courtney
September 11, 2008 4:39 am

Under the subject heading of
“Complaint at improper involvement of a NASA employee in English Law”
I have posted the following to NASA.
Dear Sirs:
I am a British Subject resident in England and I am writing to request that NASA distance itself from actions in an English Court of Law by a NASA employee, Dr James Hansen, by issuing a public statement and by taking disciplinary proceedings against Dr Hansen.
Reasons for this request are as follows.
Members of Greenpeace, an activist group, scaled the chimney of Kingsnorth power station, England, and painted graffiti on it. Eon own the power station, and they sued the activists for recovery of the ~$60,000 it cost them to remove the graffiti. Greenpeace did not dispute the damage or its cost, but argued in Court that their activists’ actions were justified under English Law according to the Criminal Damage Act 1971.
This Act says that it is a “lawful excuse” to cause damage to a property as a method to avoid greater damage; e.g. fire fighters have a “lawful excuse” to smash a door to gain access to a building when that is action needed to fight a fire.
Greenpeace argued that their activists had such a “lawful excuse” to damage the power station because they were seeking to prevent even greater damage being caused to property by climate change induced by power stations. This damage from climate change includes flooding from rising sea levels and damage to species.
The main witness that Greenpeace had to support their case was Dr James Hansen. His authority for this was his position working for NASA. And he had already placed his views concerning Kingsnorth power station on record when, in December, he wrote an open letter to the UK Prime Minister, Mr Gordon Brown, to urge him to prevent plans for coal-fired plants that do not capture CO2 emissions. Eon wants to build two new coal-fired units at Kingsnorth to replace the ageing plant, and UK Government is considering whether to approve the planning application for the replacement.
In the Court case, the jury found in favour of Greenpeace by a majority verdict. The statements of Dr Hansen must have been a major contribution to this result because he was the key witness for Greenpeace.
And this result has serious consequences. It has set a precedent in English case law that permits damage to the English power supply system using as a “lawful excuse” that the damage is intended to avoid climate change.
Such attacks are not restricted to grafitti. A few months ago activists stopped a coal train supplying a power station and they spread its coal over the surrounding countryside. Indeed, any act of terrorism aimed against coal-fired power stations in England and Wales now has a “lawful excuse” that will exist unless and until the UK Parliament changes the law.
I was employed as the Senior Material Scientist of British Coal (aka the National coal Board: NCB). It was clearly recognised by all that as an employee of the NCB I was responsible to UK Government. And I would have rightly suffered instant dismissal if – when in that employ – I had sent a letter to the US President similar to that which Dr Hansen sent to the UK Prime Minister: my employment defined that any such letter was being issued by the NCB and UK Government. So, I fail to understand how Dr Hansen’s letter was not issued by NASA and the US Government. And this understanding of the source of that letter is supported by Dr Hansen’s employers permitting him to travel to the UK and to put the views in that letter to an English Court of Law.
Clearly, the jury in the Court had similar understanduing to myself.
And the results are serious. As I said, any act of terrorism aimed against coal-fired power stations in England and Wales now has a “lawful excuse” that will exist unless and until the UK Parliament changes the law. This result of a US Government employee is so serious that some could consider it tantamount to an act of war.
Hence, I write to request that NASA issue a public statement and takes disciplinary action against Dr James Hansen for his actions in an English Court of Law, and thus to distance NASA from those actions.
Richard S Courtney

September 11, 2008 4:42 am

My comment via the form is below. NASA has had at least its share of ethics issues in the past, as I saw first hand in my relatively short time at MSFC.
Dr. Hansen has long been a vocal figure in the research on global climate change, and holds a position of high visibility at NASA-GISS. His recent testimony in the UK that Eco-Terrorism is valid in support of his views on GCC raises a real question as to his ability to function objectively. It also seems to be yet another abuse of the NASA misuse of position rules.
James Hansen has a long, distinguished record, but one which has progressively moved to political rather than scientific activism. In the interests of the integrity of both NASA and Dr. Hansen, it must surely be time for him to move on to an institution where the conflict of interest can be properly accommodated, and not at the expense of the taxpayers.
I have been retired for many years, but I was a proud member of NASA at MSFC for much of the 1980s. We had our own share of ethics issues, all seemingly less flagrant than this. The difference is that the issues where not just considered, but acted upon effectively. Can today’s NASA do less, or afford not to?

September 11, 2008 4:42 am

As a federal employee engaging in political advocacy, is not Hansen in violation of the Hatch Act? If so, for this alone he may/should be removed.

Dodgy Geezer
September 11, 2008 4:45 am

So an ‘activist’ from a ‘animal’ welfare/rights group, see’s that a dog has been run over in the street. He decides the dog needs urgent veterinary care, So he steals a nearby car, vandalizing it by breaking the window and hot wiring it…. At his trial he is found innocent of stealing/damaging the car, probably as he had an expert (from a foreign country no less) saying the dog might have otherwise died. But the point of the trial (surely) is that the owner of the car wants compensating for his loss.
Yup, that’s reasonably close. The action has to be proportionate, so we might find that a dog dying was not sufficient, but perhaps a person?
So if you find a dying hit-and-run victim on the road, are unable to communicate with anyone, hot-wire a nearby car and bring that person to a hospital, you could use this legal argument to avoid being charged with ‘taking without consent’. Of course, you would not be charged with stealing in any case – you would have taken due care of the car and would have returned it to the owner, so you have no intent to ‘permanently deprive’.
i would guess that breaking a nearby window to use a phone in this circumstance might also be justifiable…

September 11, 2008 4:47 am

What if their antics kill an innocent? Will Hansen be partially responsible?
If we have a 1947/1963 winter in the UK this year, which is looking very possible, then we will have rolling blackouts, because greens have stalled new coal and nuclear for a decade.
Most people in the UK have gas central heating with a pump and controls that relies on grid electricity, without any alternative backup heat source.
A 1947/1963 winter will result in thousands of elderly Britons dying of hypothermia.

Tom in Florida
September 11, 2008 4:53 am

Hansen is paid by me and all other taxpayers of our Country. If he used part of his vacation time to fly to another country I have no problem with that. However, since his “expertise” was developed on government time using government facilities for which I and every other taxpayer has funded, that “expertise” belongs to us, not to the UK courts. I wonder if this would fall under proprietary information laws? At the very least he is overstepping his job description.

September 11, 2008 4:54 am

When I first discovered Watts Up it was very refreshing to see the graphs and intelligent discussion of the science – and now things have moved steadily onto opinions and sniping – and I have plenty of opinions – but is this what I want from Watts Up? Not really! But I will add my voice as a Brit, sometime expert witness, mostly lawyer and advocate, also former activist and practicing scientist – having worked on both sides of this particular fence (Greenpeace and the Government) –
I don’t like the way Greenpeace have used Hansen as a witness – they select the science that suits their campaign objectives. But I support Hansen’s right to speak and seriously question moves to limit that right simply because his work is supported by the US taxpayer. His expenses should be paid by the organisation he speaks for.
Many years ago, I and a small number of activist scientists, supported by environmental campaign funds, invited Prof Edward Radford over here to speak as an expert witness on the hazards of breathing in alpha particles such as plutonium and uranium dust – no doubt his work at Pittsburgh University was paid for by the US taxpayer. He was a minority opinion on the risks – but also chairman of the US BEIR committee (Biological Effects of Ionising Radiation) and directly in opposition to the UN’s committee on the same. Eventually we won our case and Radford’s position was ultimately adopted. Many workers received enhanced protection and many commuunities benefited from new legislation that I helped to draft which prevented discharging dilute solutions of plutonium into coastal seas.
I also am somewhat surprised at the collective response of Watts Up bloggers to this charge of ‘vandalism’. This was not wanton damage, but a risky climb and tricky operation to paint a slogan. I personally think Greenpeace are misled – but sincere. In the 1980s, when I was more of an activist, I supported Greenpeace in climbing Big Ben and putting a banner up to coincide with Ronald Reagan’s visit – telling him it was time to stop nuclear weapon testing (in Nevada, and with us Brits sharing a slot). My two brothers and I were directly involved and we all spent a day in jail and came up before the magistrates – arguing we were trying to keep the peace, as much as the military were.
The British courts some time back exonerated two women for bulldozing several very expensive fighter planes at a military base – agreeing they were trying to prevent a greater evil; and also Greenpeace activists for trashing a field of GMO corn.
Personally, it makes me feel good to know that the courts have this much freedom, that experts and government employers are free to speak and to travel – the reverse control would not feel at all good – and I have to accept that sometimes it works for my side, and at others against. Is that not what freedom is about? And I am only too well aware that it might be a different story if activists against AGW dogma were to request someone like Drew Shindell to explain his theories of solar UV, the polar vortex, ‘quiet sun’ episodes and the jetstream shifting…..but then who knows?

Paul Demmert
September 11, 2008 5:08 am

Anthony, I agree with your post completely.
From my comment form submitted today to NASA:
“Since he has shown that activism in support of a cause he believes in (CO2 warming) is not a crime, can NASA depend on him to be impartial in monitoring the GISTEMP dataset? Or a better question: is he the right person to maintain this vital dataset after he has show that he will take extraordinary actions to forward his own agenda on global warming? Do we have confidence that the GISTEMP dataset has not already been modified, revised, and changed by Dr. Hansen with no scientific basis, only his driving obsession with CO2 warming?
I suggest it is time for Dr. James Hansen to be removed from office.
I look forward to your response.”
Please continue to keep us informed on any developments on the Dr. Hansen front.

September 11, 2008 5:11 am

Sheesh…Leave him at his position, but somebody should go slash the tires on his cars and stuff cheese in his tailpipe. Everyday. He couldn’t bring charges because of the precedent he set.
(Please don’t really do it, I’m not advocating vandalism but pointing out irony)

Steve in SC
September 11, 2008 5:13 am

Don’t fire him. There is a recession coming on.
These are trying times. Money is tight.
Perhaps the good Dr. Hansen has overspent his budget in some way.
Perhaps he has too much taxpayer money to spend.
Does NASA really need to be in the buisness of monitoring climate and weather
with anything that does not involve spacecraft?
I think a thorough review of NASA’s mission is in order.

Paul Biggs
September 11, 2008 5:14 am

Re: £70?
She was fined £350 with £350.12 costs and ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge under the terms of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The maximum fine is £1,000.
REPLY: Thanks Paul, just goes to show you can’t believe everything you see printed 😉

September 11, 2008 5:15 am

The Old Farmer’s Almanac is going further out on a limb than usual this year, not only forecasting a cooler winter, but looking ahead decades to suggest we are in for global cooling, not warming.
Based on the same time-honored, complex calculations it uses to predict weather, the Almanac hits the newsstands on Tuesday saying a study of solar activity and corresponding records on ocean temperatures and climate point to a cooler, not warmer, climate, for perhaps the next half century.

I guess this means that Al Gore will be canceling his subscription.

nigel jones
September 11, 2008 5:16 am

It was a criminal trial before a jury. Juries can arrive at strange verdicts on occasion. The judge may or may not be a kook, but he may not have had much to do with it. You’d have to look at the transcript and his summing up.
I can’t imagine that the prosecution did a very good job, and the jury may have been over-awed by the high-profile expert witnesses.
Furthermore, I don’t see this being a landmark decision because as you say, it would make it open for all sorts of vandalism to be justified on the grounds of saving the planet.
With another jury and on another day, people doing this sort of thing would be for the high jump. In that case, we wouldn’t hear much about it.

Bill Marsh
September 11, 2008 5:24 am

Keep up the letters. I got the same treatment when I first contacted my Congressman about another issue that was VERY important to me, totally unrelated to climate change. I got form letters the first three times. The fourth time I got a call from an aide (who tired to explain the policy I was apoplectic about as though I didn’t know anything about it, which angered me greatly). The fifth time I got a call from another aide who actually listened to me. You just have to be persistent, 1 letter won’t do it.
I guess this is more evidence of the Bush Administration’s effort to ‘silence’ him? Yet another thing the Administration has proved basically incompetent at. 😉

Bill Marsh
September 11, 2008 5:25 am

and people emit CO2, don’t they?

September 11, 2008 5:30 am

Hmm, as a UK citizen this leaves a very unsavoury aftertaste.
But Hansen may have found the perfect outlet to turn his crusade into a modern-day Lysenkoism. I’ve always shied away from such comparisons because I did not think in the modern world there would be scope to go so far, but now I start to wonder.
The reason this is the perfect outlet for Hansen is that as an expert witness, he has immunity from suit. The only legal risk he faces is perjury, but perjury requires strong evidence of lies, which is virtually impossible. Take his projection that 400 species will go extinct for each power plant; this is an absurd claim on the face of it, but how do you prove it is a lie or negligent? By the time that can be realistically tested, we’ll all be long gone.
So Hansen can turn up at pretty much any trial and say whatever he wants. Then it gets real good. The method used in UK courts to “police” the veracity of expert witness is – the professional institutions. If someone gives “bad” expert witness, they cannot be sued, but they can be dismissed from their professional body. And we all know how impartial the professional bodies are, don’t we? The bottom line is Hansen can say what he wants but if a sceptical scientist makes counter claims, a witch hunt can be set up through the institutions.
There is just one provision that can protect us from this creeping Lysenkoism in climate science. Under the Civil Procedure Rules part 35, there is a protocol for the instruction of expert witnesses. An expert witness has a duty to the court, and the following guidance is given:
1. Independence from the prosecution / defence
2. Provide […] objective, unbiased opinion in relation to matters of his expertise and
3. Should never assume the role of an advocate.
In Hansen’s case, I think he is OK on number 1, questionable on number 2 and absolutely fails number 3. Roger Pielke Jr., for example, has often illustrated Hansen’s advocacy on AGW. Under these circumstances, the judge is entitled to throw out the expert witness statements. This seems to be the only remaining protection a court could offer.
Info from LegalWeek.

Leon Brozyna
September 11, 2008 5:37 am

By his actions in voluntarily offering his “expert” testimony, Dr. Hansen is santioning criminal activity. Not surprising since his views of the criminality of the use of fossil fuels and their promotion are well known.
Perhaps Vice President Palin might prevail upon the NASA Administrator, Michael D. Griffin, to accept Dr. Hansen’s resignation before proceding with more vigorous action.

Christopher Elves
September 11, 2008 5:39 am

I’ve long had an uneasy suspicion that democratic society is undergoing a fundamental shift away from the principles that have served it so well since the Enlightenment and that we are moving ever closer to the superstition and public hysteria that characterised the Medieval world view.
I used to joke with friends about the possibility of “Climate Change Heresy” becoming a crime punishable by burning at the stake. This latest example of the breakdown of the principles of the Rule of Law within a democratic society gives me real cause for concern that another bout of state sponsored extremism may be just around the corner – there now seems to be a genuine possibility that my joke may come back to haunt my childrens’ generation.
Perhaps the Climate Change issue will truly be the disaster the Hansens of this world are predicting….just not in the way they expect!

Paul Biggs
September 11, 2008 5:43 am

Hansen is one of the climate skeptics best assets. With a friends like Hansen, AGW doesn’t need enemies.
BTW – did Hansen vandalise his plane, on the way to the UK, for burning fossil fuel and emitting CO2?

September 11, 2008 5:52 am

Caleb (03:56:09) :

I wrote my congressman about Hansen using his position in a way that was illegal last August 2, stating he should be fired. I received a form letter in response. (See copy below.) It didn’t leave me feeling heard, however I feel we should keep the pressure up, and write our congressmen again and again and again.

Hey, I got a previous version of that form letter back in May when I wrote him touting my climate science web page. The differences are a little customization in the first sentence or so, the paragraph citing my concerns (which didn’t quite match what I wrote about), and the bill he’s pushing.
So far haven’t haven’t taken him up on his generous offer of “periodic e-mail updates on what I am doing to help New Hampshire.”

Patrick Henry
September 11, 2008 5:56 am

Jihadists in Britain can now change their theme to stopping global warming, and act with even more impunity than they did under the guise of an established religion.
Plane Stupid protesters can now attack Heathrow terminal 5, 10 Downing Street and Parliament, all for the good of the earth. They have legal precedent.
England should turn off their coal burning power plants for a few days in support of the terrorists. The country desperately needs a serious kick in the pants to regain an attachment to the real world. One would think that two years without a hot day might have clued them in, but apparently that wasn’t adequate.

Dill Weed
September 11, 2008 6:02 am

I wrote this about two weeks ago.
Jim Hansen will fail.
I have been following the development of global warming for the last two years. I just finished reading all the posts on Jim Hansen’s website documenting his understanding of the science and his efforts to communicate it. I regularly follow developments on many climate sites pro and con.
Explaining, attempts at persuasion, argument, appealing to others’ humanity (save the planet for your children and grandchildren and the animals too (Don’t vote, can’t talk.) will NOT get the United States to lead the fight against global warming (place a moratorium on coal plants that don’t sequester carbon or result in a large scale conversion to carbon neutral energy).
It’s NOT going to happen, EVEN in the face of mounting evidence that we are approaching or have passed ‘tipping points’.
Jim Hansen is learning that.
He’s already encountered what he appropriately calls ‘green wash,’ politicians talking a good talk that expresses agreement and even commitment to change, but lacks substantive determination. There are two kinds of individuals, both lacking courage, that communicate this way and one is far worse than the other. The first is someone who understands and agrees, but who out of fear does not take a stand. The second is the smiling glad handing, back stabbing weasel who will step over your body to further his or her own interests.
From the frustration that mounts as he literally attempts to save the planet and humanity as we know it and because of the slowness of others to respond meaningfully, Hansen may resort to more radical actions.
If he does, he will give his opposition a readymade gift– a way to marginalize and nullify his voice while continuing with business as usual, profiting while exploiting and destroying the planet and endangering our futures.
What to do?
Hansen et al and all their evidence and arguments lack the leverage necessary to create change and on their own are not powerful enough to overcome the inertia of the status quo and those benefitting from it.
Newscasts show the bill for our CO2 emissions is coming due. It appears that the consequences are going to escalate. Politicians will promise. Special interests will delay. We will all pay.
What to do?
Without accountability there can be no change.
With anonymity there is no accountability.
It is time to put the spot light of attention on those who are delaying change. Names need to be put with faces and actions so that later there can be accountability. If deniers are right, then they deserve our heartfelt thanks. If not, then not.
It’s time to start taking names.

September 11, 2008 6:04 am

The fact is that if we are cooling long term and deeply, then encumbering carbon will starve and freeze untold numbers of those poor people living on the margin. Hansen’s advocacy for restricting carbon will come back to haunt him.
I believe he started with good intentions, but he has badly lost his way. He is leading the world into great, great evil.

September 11, 2008 6:05 am

I don’t know how British law works, but in the US, the govt cannot appeal an innocent verdict.

Tony Edwards
September 11, 2008 6:07 am

This could also cut the other way. For instance the example given by Paul (03:27:00) : .
Or you could start to protest at Hansen’s house on the possibility that, if some brilliant idiot takes him seriously and comes up with some way to remove most of the CO2 from the atmosphere, enough so that the level drops below 180 ppm and all of the plants die, we are all in danger of dying. This is not as far-fetched as it sounds, as there are probably several ways in which some sort of positive feedback action could be initiated to reduce CO2 and if control were lost, oops.
[SNIP that sort of commentary is not appropriate for this forum]

September 11, 2008 6:08 am

The greater harm defense is usually used for example, if I was to break into a house in order to rescue a child that was choking.
Trespass into a neighbors yard in order to put out a trash fire.
Things like that.
This case has to be the most absurd use of the greater harm defense that I have ever heard of.

Wondering Aloud
September 11, 2008 6:15 am

Saddly the GISS data set is so corrupted by all the bias and the “adjustments” that it is basically completely worthless. It is far too late to fire Hansen.
Whatever other body of work he has, his deliberate abandonment of science in the case of the GISS data and this legal case, brings it’s value all into question. Hansens only surviving legacy as a scientist will be for fraud unless he admits and corrects his behavior.

Eric Meyers
September 11, 2008 6:18 am

I wrote very similar comments as these people have, and I said that unless Hansen is fired for the reasons I provided, I will write both my senators and my representative to discontinue public funding to GISS and that I will draft a petition of a necessary amount to do so.
Hopefully that gets them stiring.

Gerry Pratt
September 11, 2008 6:19 am

I wanted to let you know what I said in my letter to NASA
My letter to NASA:
It is unbelievably unconscienable that you could even consider to keep this man on with NASA. He has done more damage than thousands of 9/11 terrorists by promoting, under the NASA letterhead, the greatest fraud in memory. This fraud, and potentially subsequent, misguided, calamitous laws that could result, will destroy our economy and our country. Believe me, this man, and his right hand henchman, Mr Al Gore, have done more damage to our nation than you’ll ever realize.
I consider this kind of action to be treasonous in nature, and will result in the promotion of all kinds of eco terrorism through out this nation and the world. Now I know the real reason why Russian and Indian scientists are laughing at the stupidity of the US. They know the reality of people in power who have “eyes to see”, and cannot see, and have “ears to hear”, and cannot hear.
I will be on the front lines to do everything in my personal power to stop this kind of nonsense.

September 11, 2008 6:19 am

Most people in the UK have gas central heating with a pump and controls that relies on grid electricity, without any alternative backup heat source.
A 1947/1963 winter will result in thousands of elderly Britons dying of hypothermia.

Not to worry. I have a nice fireplace in which I can burn logs and heat the whole house. And logs are carbon neutral as they are only releasing the CO2 they took from the atmosphere in the first place (or something). So, problem solved. We should all burn more wood to keep warm. We can use all that rainforrest they are cutting down to make way for crops for biofuel.
Who’d have thought that cutting down the “lungs of the planet” could be good for the planet? Only a few years ago people were trying to stop deforestation, now we are all for it so we can stop putting CO2 into the atmosphere. Erm…

Bill Illis
September 11, 2008 6:27 am

He should be removed for not allowing the rest of the employees at GISS to start doing objective climate science.
In 1982, a Committee was established to determine an estimate for CO2 sensitivity (the temp rise for a doubling of CO2 and GHGs).
At the time, there was only two climate models which were sophisticated enough to produce an estimate. One run by Manake predicted 2.5C per doubling. The other run by Hansen at GISS predicted 4.5C per doubling. The Committee just split the difference and started using 3.5C per doubling.
Since then, the figure has been reduced to 3.0C per doubling but Hansen’s models sometimes still show 4.5C. ALL of the other climate models have used Hansen’s or Manake’s models as a base.
In other words, Hansen has a death grip on the entire climate science field and especially at GISS (even RealClimate posted the other day that the estimate of global warming’s temp impact is entirely based on the climate models.)
We need to fire/retire him so that more objective scientists can do more objective research. How can anyone at GISS fix GISS’s climate model without being ostracized by Hansen (he runs the organization.)

Aussie John
September 11, 2008 6:47 am

Could it not be argued that, as Mr Hansen has been spear-heading the AGW agenda for the past 20 years or more, the KingsNorth’protestors’ beliefs and subsequent actions were, in part, initiated by Hansen himself? His ‘expert opinion’ is a merely reiterating the propaganda that caused the actions to be taken in the first place.
Also, If the ‘lawful excuse’ for causing damage defence is to be used, wouldn’t the damage caused have to be shown to be necessary (eg, break a window to save someone)? How does painting a smokestack have any relevance to saving the world?

September 11, 2008 6:54 am

I would say this case will go to a higher court. It is where it needs to go anyway…. It’s not over yet.

Aussie John
September 11, 2008 7:02 am

A statement on the acquital from Mr Hansen is at:
and his court statement (provided by him in the first link) is at:
He is still positing that the wrong people are on trial, viz:
The main point, that the government, the utility, and the fossil fuel industry, were aware of the facts but continued to ignore them are more generally valid worldwide. It raises the question of whether the right people are on trial.

September 11, 2008 7:06 am

[…] discussion on the role of James Hansen here (a plausible case is presented that Hansen has breached codes of practice) and on the role of Zac […]

September 11, 2008 7:15 am

I’m no British Solicitor, but in the US, an acquittal cannot be appealed. A legal excuse defense is exactly that. It admits the crime, but argues it should be excused. In this case, the excuse being the harm prevented is greater than the harm committed.
Defacing private property with a socialist environmental slogan caused 30,000 pounds damage. What harm did it prevent? Was there any proof that even one gram of CO2 discharge was prevented? In fact, the manufacture of the paint used to deface the property caused CO2, and possibly other emissions. (Cooking latex requires energy.)
Simply put, the question should never have been presented to the jury. The burden of an affirmative defense is on the Defense, not the prosecution. The Defendant must prove the elemental facts of the affirmative defense. The Judge is the gatekeeper. If insufficient evidence of the legal excuse exists such that a REASONABLE person can believe the facts, then the jury doesn’t get the question.
These are pretrial issues. If the Judge says she will allow the defense, then the Prosecutor needs to take an interlocutory appeal. That is, before trial, a higher court considers the legal question, and if it agrees with the Prosecutor direct the trial court accordingly, including prohibiting evidence of the “excuse” and jury instruction. However, once jeopardy attaches by the rendering of a verdict, the individuals are free and clear on criminal charges.
Will a civil suit follow? I hope the power company pursues these vandals and their supporting organizations. It’s doubtful that British law provides the extensive discovery rules of US Courts, but if it does, digging around in the private correspondence of Greenpeace, WWF, etc. would be some interesting reading.

Gary Gulrud
September 11, 2008 7:18 am

Dispatched a civilized, respectful ear-full.

September 11, 2008 7:22 am

I have not posted here before although I have been a reader for a long time. I have to say, nothing before has motivated me quit so much to move me to make my voice heard. I have just submitted the following comment to NASA:
“If I thought for a moment that James Hansen was conscious that his position of authority and influence might have a weighed the decision of the jury in the UK vandalism case against the “Kingsnorth Six” beyond the contribution of an ‘expert witness’, then I can only say that as a US government employee he made a very, very poor decision.
On the other hand, how am I to believe that a man of his experience and profile (an activist, as well as a scientist) could be so naive as to not be aware that he has sway beyond the mere delivery of impartial scientific facts?
Either way, as a very high profile representative of one of the most recognised and respected institutions in the world, surely his appearance in this affair represents a gross professional blunder – I have to ask: could a high profile organisation of any kind tolerate this kind of association with incompetence?
Yours sincerely,
Michael Bott, UK”
You know, I’d be really surprised if the UK government weren’t absolutely livid about this – there will be words being exchanged behind the scenes, I’m sure. It will be interesting to watch for any manifestation of a shakeout behind the scenes over the coming weeks and months.

Dan McCune
September 11, 2008 7:39 am

Watts Next? Torching SUVs in the name of eco-terrorism? Anarchy in the name of AGW? The UK has set an embarrassing precedent.
Scientists are people who build the Brooklyn Bridge and then buy it.
– William Frank Buckley, Jr. (1925),
US journalist.

September 11, 2008 7:45 am

Hansen has run to the aid of this group giving scientific legitimacy to their motivations, the climate change defense.
London -2012…
Police Respond to an altercation..
Why did you assualt this man?
He was killing me.
Where is his weapon?
Right then, have a nice night sir.
I am old fashioned I guess and I believe in the rule of law and that there is civil accountability.
Free speech does not insulate you from the results of what you say, and Hansen has said a great many things.

September 11, 2008 7:55 am

Anthony, thanks for making this travesty of the court system more widely known. I think the judge and the prosecution are mainly to blame for the jury’s decision. In the end, the jury’s ruling is based not on what is right or wrong, but on which side makes a more compelling case, and whether the judge maintains strict adherence to law while the case is presented. It is clear to me that the prosecution should have removed Hansen as an expert witness based on his lack of impartiality. The judge should have instructed the jury to ignore Hansen’s testimony for the same reason. It seems that an appeal could be filed based on Hansen being an unsuitable expert witness.
I’ve sent in my note to NASA, which ends with-
I am not advocating that Hansen be fired, since his overt and misguided advocacy of an impending climate crisis has great entertainment value. It does not, however, reflect well on NASA as a professional scientific organization. I no longer accept anything published or uttered by Hansen as having scientific merit, due to his numerous prior non-scientific, advocacy-based and extremist-laced statements concerning global warming and climate change. I would suggest that there are other employees at NASA who would be more suitable choices for Hansen’s current position.

Tom in Florida
September 11, 2008 8:04 am

Peter Taylor:”But I support Hansen’s right to speak and seriously question moves to limit that right simply because his work is supported by the US taxpayer”
If Hansen were speaking and presenting scientific agruments to a government body for the purpose of helping them with policy making then OK, that would certainly fall within his job. But to testify at a crimminal trial in another country expressing his personal views as a representative of NASA goes over the line. If he wants to champion his personal cause then he needs to resign and present himself as “former NASA” whatever he wants to call himself and now a private citizen.

G Alston
September 11, 2008 8:12 am

The British government has a number of people (socialists and communists — at least at heart — call them “statists”) who are using the climate change issue as a way of arrogating increasing amounts of power to/for the state (and themselves, of course.)
Hansen doesn’t know much about politics outside the US. He’s a scientist by training. Activism is a hobby, not a result of temprement, much like Sagan before him (who was also quite wrong.) The government case could have asked for any number of homegrown experts (e.g. from the Met Office) but didn’t, did they? Hansen thought one thing. Those who wanted him thought something else entirely. Hansen didn’t know.
So here we have Hansen using his activist clothes testifying because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. He’s got no idea he’s a pawn. You guys have it wrong; if anything, Hansen ought to be fired for his gullibility. For being, interestingly enough, a victim of sorts. All he managed to do was help the bad guys in their show trial.

September 11, 2008 8:13 am

Because I used tag braces a line was hidden in my previous post…
London -2012…
Police Respond to an altercation..
Why did you assualt this man?
He was killing me.
Where is his weapon?
(points to a H2 parked nearby)
Right then, have a nice night sir.

David Segesta
September 11, 2008 8:23 am

Maybe the UK needs a CO2 free month, a month when no CO2 producing processes are allowed. There would be no coal fired power plants running, no oil fired plants, no gas fired plants, no cars no buses and no trains unless they run on electricity produced by non-fossil fuel sources.
After one month attitudes might change.

David Segesta
September 11, 2008 8:26 am

OOPs I forgot, no cooking with natural gas, propane, wood or charcoal.
Of course to go truly CO2 free there could be no breathing either, but that might be a bit extreme.

Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 8:29 am

This all sounds a bit like “The Royal Society for Putting Things On Top Of Other Things”

Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 8:30 am

So here we have Hansen using his activist clothes testifying because he thinks it’s the right thing to do. He’s got no idea he’s a pawn. You guys have it wrong; if anything, Hansen ought to be fired for his gullibility. For being, interestingly enough, a victim of sorts. All he managed to do was help the bad guys in their show trial.

No idea he’s a pawn?? He’s the friggin’ queen!!

September 11, 2008 8:30 am

Aussie John (07:02:34) :
your link to nails it!
From Hansen
Good news from the UK: the Kingsnorth Six were acquitted by a Crown Court jury. They were members of a group of 23 Greenpeace volunteers who had attempted to shut down the Kingsnorth coal-fired power plant, specifically the six were the ones painting the smokestack with “Gordon Bin It” when interrupted by the police. Their defense was ‘lawful excuse’, that they were protecting property of greater value (the Earth!) from the impact of climate change. We will need our Mercedes-driving lawyer friends to tell us if the verdict has greater significance — but the jurors were common people, not politicians. It was an impressive show — judge and lawyers with their white wigs — hopefully it has an impact.
It raises the question of whether the right people are on trial.
The article is signed with “Doctor James Hansen, an adjunct professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Sciences”
Clearly he sees no difference between professional and personal.
Hansen is one scary dude and shouldn’t be working for what is supposed to be an impartial government agency.

September 11, 2008 8:45 am

When temperatures were falling in the 1970’s, Hansen believe burning fossil fuel would send us into an ice age. When temperatures started rising, Hansen turned about and said burning fossil fuel will cook us all. The common thread in all of this is that he is simply an anti-fossil fuel activist who will used whatever he can find to validate his views.
Sure he should be fired. He isn’t a climatologist and he doesn’t appear to be much of a scientist of any sort. He is attempting to justify an end with whatever means he can find. But firing him would be politically risky.

Scott Covert
September 11, 2008 8:46 am

you should have handled this the way you did with the public comment posts encouraging your viewers to post their opinions without adding your’s.
Starting this off with “Fire Dr. James Hansen, now.” implies you think we should all call for his termination at NASA. Calling for opinions is one thing, encouraging a flood of pointed comments is quite another.
I think Hansen is of the lowest caliber and …bla bla…. like most other people here but you are turning your blog into just another cheap activist site.
I pray you get back to objective, impartial commentary based on facts and strict discouragement of ad homenim attacks and bulleying.
Junk Science’s web site started as a varied and informative site that dealt with everything related to science, it is almost solely about AGW debunking now and not worth the time to read. Please don’t go down that road, you are much better than that.
An adoring fan.

Dodgy Geezer
September 11, 2008 8:53 am

You know, I’d be really surprised if the UK government weren’t absolutely livid about this – there will be words being exchanged behind the scenes, I’m sure. It will be interesting to watch for any manifestation of a shakeout behind the scenes over the coming weeks and months.Michael Bott
Yup. One of the main ‘excuses’ the UK (and US) home Security Services have had to keep their budgets since the decline of the Soviet threat is the concept of ‘protecting the state infrastructure’ from ‘terrorism’. ‘Homeland’ Security, and the UK equivalent ‘Critical Infrastructure’ security are both in receipt of large handouts. Here is an example of just part of the UK service –
And now we find out that anyone can just enter a power station and disable it without punishment? If I were Greenpeace, I would be commissioning and training sabotage teams immediately. You are right, Martin, there will be a lot of unhappy and confused MI5 staff at the moment…

Fernando Mafili
September 11, 2008 8:56 am

[SNIP – comment not appropriate for this forum]

September 11, 2008 9:00 am

This would have been an ideal opportunity for Lord Monckton to confront Mr. Hansen. Though I would expect, that Hansen would have stayed at home if Lord Monckton would have been invited.
The question remains, what criminal act will be legal after this verdict.
Is it now perfectly and legally possible to ruin other people’s scientific careers, just because they may have a different view about so called global warming, while allowing their scientific research would do harm to the AGW agenda ?
Is it possible to falsify or discard scientific data if a resercher believes, the data does fully not support the AGW models or that the global warming trend may be “hidden” somewhere not yet fully understood.
Just as precautionary measure against the much greater threat, that “deniers” may use the “uncorrected” data to disqualify the AGW agenda ?

September 11, 2008 9:26 am

I’m very curious what the standards or criteria are for government scientists appearing as expert witnesses. In the US, in a trial before a lay jury, juries are not presumed competent to evaluate expert testimony. Thus an expert witness has to be qualified to the court through voir dire examination. It is presumed that the jury is going to base their determination of conflicting expert testimony not on the merits of the testimony, which they are not qualified to assess, but on the qualifications of the witness. I don’t know if this is the practice in UK courts or not, but assuming something similar occurs, what “qualified” Hansen to be accepted by the Court as an expert? Did he represent his qualifications to include his NASA position? What are the federal government guidelines for this sort of thing? Does anyone know?

September 11, 2008 9:33 am

I’ve given this a fair amount of thought. I think firing Hansen will just martyrize him. I think that this sort of thing (the testimony) is a defeat-that-is-a-victory that will redound. I think that this is a painful but necessary part of giving him enough rope to hang himself with.
Besides, if Obama is elected, he might well bring him back, amid accolades and hooting and hollering in general. Then he’d be an even more untouchable resurrected martyr.
I think it’s probably best to let it spin out the way it’s been doing.
P.S., I totally agree with the Rev than he deserves to be fired. Keeping him on is just one of those, “Tactics, Comrades, Tactics,” things.

September 11, 2008 9:35 am

So people at NASA don’t get free speech?

September 11, 2008 9:36 am

It has been an ugly day for law and common sense in the world.

September 11, 2008 9:37 am

A better analogy. An activist for the poor spray paints the words “Liar and mass murderer” on Dr. Hansen’s car and shoots his locks with superglue.
In court the defense presents Bjorn Lomborg to argue the plain truth that a slowdown of global economic growth will result in the deaths of millions.
I lie about my beliefs to avoid recusal from the jury, and then hang the jury by voting innocent for as long as necessary regardless of the facts presented at trial.

September 11, 2008 9:54 am

The whole green movement has been using ad hominem attacks and bulleying tactics for years!!!! Hanson himself has called for the jailing of people who
disagree with him. Wake-up and smell the roses the guy has lost it.
If James Hanson feels so strongly about coal why not go and scream at the Chinese?
Is Briton going to change anything by opening one or two more coal plants?
Maybe if these guys and girls at greenpeace want to shake things up a bit
they can go climb smoke stacks in China! see if jimmy comes to bale them out.
I really like reading junk science’s site. I think the reason AGW get’s so much press there is It is a world changing movement. It’s not just someone raving about second hand smoke any more.
The AGW crowd is out to radically change our way of life using fear mongering, half truths and in some cases bald face lies. I think that the green movement has become so full of its self it can no longer see the forest because of the trees. We cannot endanger human life by throwing much of the world into fuel poverty.
We have seen how that has worked in Africa. People of the world need a hand up, not a hand out. Massive wealth distribution programs like carbon trading are a bad idea and won’t help anything.
Why do you think the U.N. keeps pushing this? because they
and the green movement get their hands on billions in these wealth redistribution
plans. You trust the U.N. I don’t, And I don’t trust NASA anymore either.

September 11, 2008 9:56 am

Rick – “(Please don’t really do it, I’m not advocating vandalism but pointing out irony)”
I believe you left out the “wink, wink” that folks at Greenpeace and such always give after they make the disclaimer that they really don’t want people to spike trees.

September 11, 2008 10:00 am

As a UK citizen I am disturbed by the results of the court case. On the other hand, I think it’s a storm in a teacup and will quickly be forgotten. It seems to me that as the UK economy heads into recession, the UK public in general are becoming ever more sceptical and/or indifferent about AGW. The court case and the antics of Greenpeace aren’t about to reverse this trend.
And do any of us really believe that NASA will take any sort of disciplinary action against DR. Hansen at all? They haven’t in the past, so why should they now.
I would also like to say I completely agree with Scott Covert’s comment above. I read “Watts Up” on a regular basis for its scientific content, and would hate to see this diluted by too many political pieces.

September 11, 2008 10:02 am

I’m not sure outright firing, or the call for outright firing is a good idea. I suppose it’s because it’s a common tactic for greenies – such as those who called for all sorts of heads at Britain’s Channel 4 TV station because of the Global Warming Swindle documentary.
I’m in favour of a person writing a letter outlining the various abuses of position, and even of posting where it was sent, but would draw the line before advocating what the end result should be, or encouraging anyone else do the same or posting an online form.
People have already mentioned the Martyr aspect. At the end of the day, it is a decision that can only be made by his bosses, who are sure to be afraid of the inevitable PR fallout even if they wanted to rid themselves of the guy. Not just that, but there are plenty of other NASA employees who are also alarmists, such as the ‘real scientists’ so it would be very difficult to just fire their boss and not restructure the entire department.
Demands for an external audit of that particular organisation, however? Fully in favour of that!

Barney Frank
September 11, 2008 10:04 am

Peter Taylor says,
The British courts some time back exonerated two women for bulldozing several very expensive fighter planes at a military base – agreeing they were trying to prevent a greater evil; and also Greenpeace activists for trashing a field of GMO corn.
Personally, it makes me feel good to know that the courts have this much freedom

Would you feel as sanguine about judicial discretion were someone to bulldoze your house or the things you use for your livelihood for the ‘greater good’ and get away with it?

September 11, 2008 10:19 am

G Alston (08:12:21) :

The government case could have asked for any number of homegrown experts (e.g. from the Met Office) but didn’t, did they?

Given my reading here and elsewhere, if the defense used anyone from the Met Office, I suspect the jury would have laughed them out of the courtroom. See
An Internationally known expert trumps a local expert any day, in part because most people don’t know the former’s record.

September 11, 2008 10:21 am

anthony great work in letting us know about this. I notice that Bi — IJI has not responded as of yet could it be that he has no accomplishments?

Jeff Alberts
September 11, 2008 10:32 am

Sure he should be fired. He isn’t a climatologist and he doesn’t appear to be much of a scientist of any sort. He is attempting to justify an end with whatever means he can find. But firing him would be politically risky.

Not to mention he’s got a wicked combover.

September 11, 2008 10:40 am

The buck stops in the Oval Office. Bless his heart, George W. Bush has a certain soft touch in matters of people. It gets in the way of business at times. Many hoped for major reorgs of the Federal bureaucracy after Jan 20, 2001. It never happened en masse (one cannot count the domestic security “reorg” as it did not really result in many people being RIFed or fired). While the WoT has been a major source of sensory overload in DC, still, things might have been done. As I understand it, W is a well trained devotee of Dale Carnegie Training. That is a good set of tools for things like small businesses dealing with each other, but in the backstabbing world of DC (let alone the world stage) you cannot always begin in a friendly way.

David Gladstone
September 11, 2008 10:49 am

Thanks for this piece, Anthony. He needs to be gone; the sooner the better.
It’s strange that the more ignorant these people are, the better they are able to spread their germs of ignorance, seemingly unchallenged in the media.

September 11, 2008 10:55 am

To those worried about scientific vs. political content?
Unfortunately, there is no way to separate the two anymore. Hansen is no more qualified to determine that vandalism is ‘justified’ than is Matt Damon, however he has used his position and sullied the good name of NASA in order to do so.
Maybe you don’t see this as vandalism. Great! Just send me your home address, and I’ll ensure that nobody, er, “vandalizes” your home for any good cause…
I personally will never understand the mindset of people who do these kinds of stupid, childish stunts. Does anyone ever actually change their minds? What kind of fool says to himself, “oh, I didn’t believe in AGW, but with those wacky writings on the smokestacks I’m starting to come around” ? Is it supposed to speak to how fervent someone is in their belief when they risk life and limb and legal action in order to deface someone else’s property?
I’m fervently against these people, Hansen, Gore, Pachauri… where do I sign up to perform vandalism against them to show others how I feel?
[REPLY – I must presume that you are speaking facetiously regarding “signing up to perform vandalism”. So I’ll pass on this. And I feel your pain. But please, people, no incitement to actual lawbreaking. ~ Evan]

Patrick Henry
September 11, 2008 11:23 am

Reminds me of the movie “Hot Fuzz.” Great movie where the village council of Sanford, Gloucestershire took it upon themselves to clean up their neighborhood for “the greater good” – including property destruction and murder when necessary.

September 11, 2008 11:31 am

Words fail me this guy takes the cake, he should have been fired long ago.
I agree, but the key phrase is “long ago”. It’s too late to do it now.
Besides, this is the kind of “help” the AGW movement would be better off without. As the owls always say, when your enemy is making a fool of himself, get the heck out of the way and let him get on with it.
It seems pretty clear that GISSTEMP is consistently higher in its temperature reconstruction than HadCRUT, UAH or RSS. It is clearly an outlier.
There are liars, damnliars, and outliers.
On the same day in the UK we hear that a mother was fined £700 for putting her dustbin bags out a day early. Mad!
My building gets fined 800 clams if anyone fails to separate garbage. This is a pain in the patoot, takes up space, attracts bugs, and wastes a godawful amount of fresh water.
As I understand it, none of it is actually recycled–too expensive–it just goes to landfill.
But it puffs up the city coffers and “teaches us how to act”.
Not madness. Method.

September 11, 2008 11:45 am

Evan, you just slay me.

September 11, 2008 12:01 pm

This time I can grab credit for the one-liner.
(BTW, I always wondered, why are FDR’s clever remarks are known as “quips” while Ronald Reagan’s are commonly referred to as “one-liners”?)
Paul Hodes
Member of Congress

BTW, sorry I bracketed that 700 quid and made it 70. Make it 765.12. I’ll go back and restore.

September 11, 2008 12:06 pm

I submitted my 2 cents to the Nasa site… hopefully this will result in something more than a ‘stern talking to’…

Molon Labe
September 11, 2008 12:23 pm

Let them freeze in the dark.

September 11, 2008 12:24 pm

It’s a pretty moral quandry, isn’t it?
If the way of demonstrating that violence or vandalism is wrong is to perform the acts on those that advocate the acts, we can’t morally do it. However, the logic only works if both sides have the same morals.
If one group believes they have the right or imperative to cause damage or inflict real or financial pain on another group, they do so. Those that believe otherwise, when not backed by laws/governments, can only stand and watch.
Sad times.

September 11, 2008 12:32 pm

Not guitly.
Truth hurt much?

September 11, 2008 12:37 pm

I say FIRE HANSEN NOW! If Griffin refuses to do it, then Bush should fire him and find somebody who will fire Hansen. Enough is enough. Hansen now enlists his biased services in a cause, in total violation of NASA ethics. None of his work is now reliable – if it ever was.

Frank Davis
September 11, 2008 12:38 pm

What’s the retirement age at NASA? James Hansen is now 67. How much longer can he stay on anyway?

September 11, 2008 12:45 pm

“Would you feel as sanguine about judicial discretion were someone to bulldoze your house or the things you use for your livelihood for the ‘greater good’ and get away with it?”
A better question might be: how would NASA feel if these twits vandalized the Shuttle? I mean, it does crank out a goodly amount of GHG’s, and it is (very) arguably less necessary than a power plant. Fair is fair. Perhaps it should be pointed out to them. Does NASA have any supporting installations in the UK (tracking stations, etc.)? If so, does NASA agree that they should be vandalized to prevent the damage to the planet? Does Hansen? And please note that I am not inciting anyone to commit a crime. No, the geniuses in the UK, along with Hansen, have established the precedent that by encouraging people to disable any NASA assets in the UK that are directly or indirectly involved in Shuttle operations, I would be acting completely within the law. No doubt Hansen would come and testify on my behalf. I’m sure NASA would understand.

Diatribical Idiot
September 11, 2008 1:00 pm

My comment has been submitted to NASA, as follows:
I am gravely disappointed at the involvement of Dr. Hansen in a case in which he seems to have testified in favor of eco-vandalism. The story to which I am referring to is here:
I am simply a lay person who has an interest in taking a look at the data on a monthly basis and taking a look at global trends. I won’t get into a debate about the merits of Dr. Hansen’s viewpoints on global warming. That is not the point.
The point is that he has crossed a line that I find unfathomable. Of course, in reality, he long crossed the line from scientific analysis to political activism. We all know that Dr. Hansen has a great conflict of interest.
As the presider over arguably the most-watched data set that presents global monthly temperatures, it would seem to me that NASA would wish to do everything in its power to present pure scientific analysis, with no perception of bias – at least inasmuch as it goes towards political activism or personal gain of the individual gatekeeper of that data. This is simply not the case. The GISS data – rightly or wrongly – is viewed with a very skeptical eye. We all know that there are adjustments to the data. These adjustments can be debated regarding the soundness of the theory behind them. But because of the adjustments, there is legitimate debate. It has been shown that the adjustments, over time, have increased the trend line from the raw data. This bias in the adjustment may be appropriate, or it may not be. But it sure looks fishy and undermines the credibility of the unbiased nature of such an adjustment with Dr. Hansen at the helm.
When someone such as Hansen is as public, and quite honestly, obnoxious as he is with regard to his own opinion on not just the conclusion of what the data shows, but why it shows that, then it puts NASA in a position of looking like a political tool rather than a scientific asset.
This line was crossed long ago in testimony to Congress and in the press. It has reached a new level with a testimony in defense of ecovandalism. He is paid with my tax dollars, which seals my unfavorable opinion of all this.
I am loathe to call for someone to be fired or reassigned for expressing personal opinions, in most cases. It is not an easy thing to request, because it affects another person’s livelihood to siggest such a thing. But a preson also needs to be held accountable for their actions. Dr. Hansen has continually diminished the reputation of NASA and the public’s perception of NASA’a unbiased scientific analysis. It is time to act.
Thank you for your time.
Thanks for bringing this to our attention, Anthony.

Gary Gulrud
September 11, 2008 1:31 pm

“There are liars, damnliars, and outliers.”
Now that is good.

September 11, 2008 1:34 pm

I regard Hansen with a jaundiced eye, but the article for which you supply a link does not say much about his testimony. He could have spoken as an expert witness without explicitly endorsing vandalism. Still, his involvement is troubling…

Robert R. Prudhomme
September 11, 2008 1:47 pm

You might try contacting JUDICIAL WATCH. They successsfully
sued the Clintons over the health plan . The Clintons tried to
prevent the release of the Health Plan working group documents . I believe that Jim Hansen has been guilty of violating the Hatch Act by receiving money from Kerry’s foundation -$250000 ; being a political adivsor and activist to
Al Gore ,and using his position to campaign for Al Gore and
John Kerry . He also accepted $720,000 from one of George
Soros foundation . Received money for talks relating to his work .
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Mike Bryant
September 11, 2008 1:50 pm

Diatribical Idiot,
You said, “I am loathe to call for someone to be fired or reassigned for expressing personal opinions, in most cases. It is not an easy thing to request, because it affects another person’s livelihood to suggest such a thing.”
Don’t worry about Dr. Hansens livelihood, Soros has that covered just fine. Also just consider the millions he will make on his “tell all” book royalties. The greens will buy lots and lots of books from this ecomartyr.
He will undoubtedly make more money outside of government service.
Mike Bryant

Mikael H
September 11, 2008 1:56 pm

How serious is UK court?
Al Gore’s alarmism is not ok… but vandalism is ok…
Oh please, do not fire Hansen. Making him martyr would hurt much more, than anything else: Science has already lost… haven’t anyone noticed?

September 11, 2008 2:00 pm

This guy is a nutcase. It would be a great service and give me confidence in the government if they let him go.
Watt are the odds?

September 11, 2008 2:22 pm

The precedent that’s been set by this jury is appalling. Vandalism is okay if it’s in the name of preventing global warming? Does this mean I can steal my neighbor’s gas-guzzling SUV? Maybe I should just kill my neighbor and prevent him from creating an even greater carbon footprint…
Apparently, all ethics are suspended to prevent greater harm to the environment…

September 11, 2008 2:23 pm

Dr. Hansen is a [snip]. It’s incredible how far people will go because of their intellectual arrogance.
What I’m sure those Greenpeace people don’t understand is that power stations like the one they damaged enable scientists to do work on finding safer ways of creating energy. They certainly can’t do their research in the dark!
And another thing. If all of these “awful, terrible, planet raping” power plants were shut down, we’d start burning wood to stay warm. And it’s not probable that everybody would survive the winters. So in order to save the earth and mankind by cutting our dependence on oil, coal, and gas, we would start chopping down the forests and freezing to death. Pretty ironic.
However, hardcore environmentalism may actually be a very serious mental disorder so I won’t say anything to offend them. I’m just that sensitive.
Reply: Let’s avoid ad hominem attacks. Thanks. – Anne

Diatribical Idiot
September 11, 2008 2:36 pm

Mike Bryant: I knew that when I wrote it. Still, whatever you think of Hansen, I always do try and remember that this is another human being we’re talking about.
But, egad. I re-read the part you quoted, and the short part after that and I am embarrassed that I didn’t catch my typos before I sent it. That Diatribe makes me look like an Idiot…

simon talbot
September 11, 2008 2:53 pm

Anthony Watts,
You make disgraceful and unsupportable assertions in this post. Hansen did not ‘side with vandalism’. He made no statement whatsoever regarding any judgment on the case. He testified as an expert witness and commented only upon his understanding of climate change, its attribution and its anticipated consequences. You may disagree with his judgment, by all means, but your assertion that he “defend[ed] vandalism in the name of a cause” is entirely without basis and is defamatory. Your demand that he should be fired for speaking the truth as he understands it to be is tantamount to witch-hunting, forwarded as it is by unsupportable allegations on your part regarding what he said. I suggest that you should read a transcript of the trial before you assert what you presume he said. Is that basic decency too much trouble to be taken when you have a ’cause’ of your own to pursue?
Frankly, shame on you.
REPLY: Flying across the Atlantic at the request of the defense pretty clearly says that he “sides” with them. He simply could have said no, and remained impartial. He made a choice. The choice was to help the Greenpeace defense team. That is called taking a side.

September 11, 2008 3:05 pm

Personally, I was really happy to hear that the Greenpeace campaigners were released. And it feels like about time for NASA and other U.S. agencies to start publically supporting and recognizing the valid fears behind global warming. Obviously, there is a need for science to remain outside of politics – which I can see as a dilemma in this case – but with the politicizing of global warming by the clear divide between the GOP and the Dems, how else can it be handled?

Lee from WA
September 11, 2008 3:10 pm

The verdict (and especially the reasoning for it) does set a dangerous precedent. But, it’s certainly not the first time.
Here’s a worse example: A few years ago (perhaps 5 to 15 ??), a jury in Washington state acquited protestors who had blocked a train carrying nuclear warheads to the submarine base at Bangor. The reason? Because “they believed in what they were doing“. Can you imagine? How many actions could have that justification? Remember when French agents blew up a Greenpeace ship in New Zealand? I’m sure they believed in what they did… (It was ironic for Greenpeace, an organization that believes that the end justifies the means, to be hoisted on their own petard by an illegal act committed against them. Too bad that, unexpectedly, someone was in the ship and killed.)
Richard S Courtney (04:39:56):
Richard, that was a masterful letter – excellent, indeed!

September 11, 2008 3:23 pm

simon talbot,
By simply traveling to the UK to testify, Hansen was implicitly supporting the protesters. Whether he stated they were justified or not, his action and subsequent testimony was a resounding endorsement of their actions. There is no other interpretation.

September 11, 2008 3:32 pm

I’d bet that in the current climate he is more likely to be promoted. My prediction is new Chief Science adviser to the new US government or whatever the title is.

September 11, 2008 3:33 pm

Not being an American, I’ve also posted a message on NASA’s site. I hope I don’t need a reply for the following:
“To: Michael D. Griffin
I’m particulary ashamed about NASA’s James Hansen behaviour in the Greenpeace trial in the UK. Not being an American, I’ve praised the many men who dedicate their lives to science. Till now.
There should be no place for activists in science. There should be no place for Hansen in NASA, whom clearly supports criminal acts on other’s infrastructure. And please remember today is 9/11.
I would appreciate a reply if Mr Hansen’s stays in office, explaining your view on why he should not be fired.”

September 11, 2008 3:39 pm

“Hardcore-environmentalists” as you call them, perhaps have a mental disorder, or perhaps they’re the parrot in the mine who see the construction of more coal-power stations as abhorrent act from an administration who lack the will or the imagination to lead us properly during a time when we need real leadership.
The juries out, folks, we need to act. Building new coal plants is a symbolic act in the face of the evidence. Climbing a tower and painting the name of the Prime Minister is an equally symbolic act, though an imaginative and brave one.
Dr James Hansen wasn’t explaining away the actions of people who destroyed or maimed an important piece of infrastructure, he was taking part in a gesture of commitment. And it is a gesture not towards the planet — no matter what it will certainly be fine in another million years or so — but towards our future on this planet.
There’s no God, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Shinto, Sun… who’ll step in and take care of us all. It’s up to us. Disparaging the actions of a few who think the time to act forcefully is now is certainly no help, another symbolic act if you will, clouding the issue with arguments of funding and loyalty. You should be proud you’ve got a moral man is such an important position, one who backs his science with words and actions.

September 11, 2008 3:40 pm

Further in support of simon talbot (14:53:47), the fact that
you have left standing without comment or rebuke, calls for
Hansen [to suffer bodily harm]
And all this for the ‘crime’ of free speech.
Shame on you.
[REPLY: Those comments have been removed, thank you for pointing them out – I’ve been away from moderation most of today, had I seen them they would have been removed immediately. Since the comments have been removed at the source, they don’t get repeated here in your own post.
NOTICE TO ALL: anyone that makes any types of these suggestions again will be banned- Anthony]

John M
September 11, 2008 4:10 pm

To add to Jeez’s response to Simon Talbot
He sure wasn’t subpoena’d. And the subject of who paid his expenses and whether he punched his time card before he left are still on the table.
Not exactly “free” speech if he did it on the US Gov’t’s dime.

September 11, 2008 4:11 pm

Tony Edwards and Fernando Mafili’s suggestions are direct corollary’s to the behavior Hansen is encouraging. Maybe we should rise above it. Maybe we should point out where his logic leads us. It’s a judgement call.

Mike Bryant
September 11, 2008 4:18 pm

[SNIP adds nothing to this discussion, tone it down]

Mike Bryant
September 11, 2008 4:28 pm

“The juries out, folks, we need to act.”
No, when the jury is out we do not need to act. The analogy is to a court case after the two sides have made their arguments but before the jury has returned a verdict (final decision). It may also express that we are waiting to see what the results of something will be.
I don’t even think the contralto (gravitationally-challenged female singer) is warming up yet.

September 11, 2008 4:31 pm

Dr Hansen lost me last year when he signed this as:
James E. Hansen Ph.D.
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
Adjunct Professor
Columbia University Earth Institute:
An Urgent Call to Action:
Scientists and Evangelicals Unite to Protect Creation
January 17, 2007
National Press Club, Washington, D.C.
Our Shared Concern
We agree that our home, the Earth, which comes to us as that inexpressibly beautiful and mysterious gift that
sustains our very lives, is seriously imperiled by human behavior. The harm is seen throughout the natural
world, including a cascading set of problems such as climate change, habitat destruction, pollution, and species
extinctions, as well as the spread of human infectious diseases, and other accelerating threats to the health of
people and the well-being of societies. Each particular problem could be enumerated, but here it is enough to say
that we are gradually destroying the sustaining community of life on which all living things on Earth depend.
The costs of this destruction are already manifesting themselves around the world in profound and painful ways.
The cost to humanity is already significant and may soon become incalculable. Being irreversible, many of these
changes would affect all generations to come.
We believe that the protection of life on Earth is a profound moral imperative. It addresses without
discrimination the interests of all humanity as well as the value of the non-human world. It requires a new moral
awakening to a compelling demand, clearly articulated in Scripture and supported by science, that we must
steward the natural world in order to preserve for ourselves and future generations a beautiful, rich, and
healthful environment. For many of us, this is a religious obligation, rooted in our sense of gratitude for Creation
and reverence for its Creator.
One fundamental motivation that we share is concern for the poorest of the poor, well over a billion people, who
have little chance to improve their lives in devastated and often war-ravaged environments. At the same time,
the natural environments in which they live, and where so much of Earth’s biodiversity barely hangs on, cannot
survive the press of destitute people without other resources and with nowhere else to go.
We declare that every sector of our nation’s leadership—religious, scientific, business, political, and
educational—must act now to work toward the fundamental change in values, lifestyles, and public policies
required to address these worsening problems before it is too late. There is no excuse for further delays.
Business as usual cannot continue yet one more day. We pledge to work together at every level to lead our
nation toward a responsible care for creation, and we call with one voice to our scientific and evangelical
colleagues, and to all others, to join us in these efforts

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