The Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, James Hansen, has come forward to talk about climate change, and the dire consequences that face us if we don't talk corrective measures. But what made this different from similar proclamations by scientists was Hansen's frank assessment of the government interference in scientific issues:
The major obstacle to saving the planet from its inhabitants is not technology..."The problem is that 90 percent of energy is fossil fuels. And that is such a huge business, it has permeated our government," he maintained.
"What's become clear to me in the past several years is that both the executive branch and the legislative branch are strongly influenced by special fossil fuel interests," he said, referring to the providers of coal, oil and natural gas and the energy industry that burns them.
This would be people like Senator James Inhofe (R - OK), who champions the denialist position of the oil industries that are, not coincidentally, powerful in his state.
More from Hansen: "The industry is misleading the public and policy makers about the cause of climate change. And that is analogous to what the cigarette manufacturers did. They knew smoking caused cancer, but they hired scientists who said that was not the case."
Hansen says that with an administration and legislature that he believes are "well oiled, our best hope is the judicial branch."
Last year Hansen testified before the US Congress that "interference with communication of science to the public has been greater during the current administration than at any time in my career."
Government public relations officials, he said, filter the facts in science reports to reduce "concern about the relation of climate change to human-made greenhouse gas emissions."
One can easily see the Easter Island rulers disparaging talk of depletion of their trees, and promoting the latest and greatest over-sized stature proclaiming their greatness. We have an urgent need for a strong department of science to counter the political manipulation that the current, and no doubt future, administration will engage in.