back to article NASA chief regrets having unpopular opinion

NASA administrator Michael Griffin has apologized to agency scientists and engineers for expressing an unpopular personal opinion regarding global warming during a recent radio interview. The space agency head tried to appease a scientific community frothing over comments made last week that downplayed humanity's role in global …


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  1. daniel

    lost in the shuffle...

    ...Like the lunar landing tapes?

    What would happen if we got all the politicians to shut up, and stop generating warm air? (probably freeze in the artificially generated ice age)

    Then again, you have to remember that in the US, there is an undercurrent that says that the earth is only a few thousand years old, and as that is the Truth, then all the mesurements made by those heretic scientists must be wrong.

    The Great Church of the Latterday Wallys (White House Chapter) has struck again... and us heretics await with impatience the coming of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to put things right...

  2. Webster Phreaky

    Lefties Can't Stand Decenting Opinions, So They Bash Then

    This is what Lefties around the world are ALL ABOUT. Just like Hugo Chavez, when anyone has evidence and a counter-opinion, LEFTIES - Harrass, Humiliate, Censor, Badger, Refuse full media coverage of their stance and evidence and often revoke their right of free speech .... JUST LIKE HUGO CHAVEZ and the TV Stations in fledgling Totalitarian Commie Venzuela.

    REAL Scientists that aren't on the dole of lefty politicians or aren't getting sizeable Grant funds to blur the facts, all agree that there is not proof the Humans have anythign to do with changing the weather or climate, nor that there is any proof that the Earth isn't repeating previous states of the climate.

    700 years ago the Romans grew grapes in Northern Briton and Scotland, try that now ... was it the Norse with their Viking SUV's and Industry that caused that climate change towards warming???

    Tell ya what lefties, it's nice and cold still in Russia and gross poluter Northern China, why don't you all move there with your comrades?

  3. Robert Long

    Grapes of Warmth

    Webster Phreaky:

    "700 years ago the Romans grew grapes in Northern Briton and Scotland, try that now "

    OK. Paines Hill in Surrey's been doing it for ages. In fact, the number of vineyards in England has been growing steadily since the 50's. This is pure co-incidence, of course, there's no reason to think that vineyards are a gauge of that was your whole point, wasn't it? So which is it?

    I don't know anything either way about Scottish wine production so I can't make any comment.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nasa, to boldy sit in low-Earth orbit...

    Well, since Nasa has removed the part where its is supposed "to understand and protect our home planet" from its mission statement (, alignment of NASA management to the Pretzel President's alternate reality should not come as a shocker. Home planet protection is now a task for the Pentagon and understanding is of low priority (check your Bible if any questions arise). Meanwhile, let's send people to Mars. Yeah. Good idea.

    Griffin really should base his opinion on that of his own scientists, who have already had their share of trouble with shady 'political appointees' due to Badthink:

    But hey, what do you know! The US "media" has detected a change in the Prez' stance? Riiighhttt...

  5. heystoopid

    What price a comment

    What price a comment or opinion when taken outside the text that it is given!

    As for the comments about Hugo Chavez in Venezuela , how sad your mind has been deliberately poisoned and closed to what is really going on in the country since he took office , in a fully certified by all foreign observers and press corp that were present as a free and fair democratic election where all the members of parliament for the first time ever truly reflect the entire population demographics , unlike a number of US States caught using double standards in order to rig the voting results at both state and federal level since 2000 !

    To be fair , for the first time ever in the history of Venezuela , Hugo as President has done much for the poorest and lowest socio economic classes , in education , medical and many other reforms , much to chagrin of the usual stick in the mud and clinging to the past , elite original Spanish settler class.

    The many previous administrations in country, behaved like very greedy little children , and enriched their own personal wealth and deliberately short changed the less fortunate at every opportunity , ranging from outright theft to other!, with a rather lot of help from both the anti social US Government under the Munroe Doctrine guidelines of divide and conquer and the ever greedy cheap and nasty US Oil conglomerates 1 cent in the dollar attitudes and very deliberate under reporting of product as exported!

    In todays age , the 30 second commercial conglomerate uniform network TV news slot , the information as presented , is so heavily edited and biased in such away as to hide the real facts 99.9% of the time!

    But then again , life is a real bitch , if your walk around with both your eyes and ears closed to the real world surrounding you , as you live in the poisoned surreal past of your closed imagination!

    As one Australian Soldier whose execution was deemed to be a political necessity , at the turn of the last century said to the firing squad "Shoot straight you Bastards!" , something that all modern media conglomerates do not do very well in this new century though!

  6. Andrew

    What an affront to scientific totalitarianism

    I have to agree with the outraged consensus here. How dare someone question a scientific theory - particularly one that is overwhelmingly politically popular - especially when that someone's job involves space, which is of major importance to earth's climate.

    It's true that General Relativity took 20 years to be accepted by the scientific community, as it contradicted the consensus of the time, and was accepted by a process of careful, open debate. But that was a question of space, which is far less important than earth's climate.

    It's great that the press has its eyes peeled for more scientific "debate" and "personal opinions" like this. Only by concerted media and political pressure can we convince scientists to keep their ideas to themselves. The cost of reducing carbon emissions is large enough already, without losing time talking about whether it is actually necessary

  7. Chad H.

    Comments like that only go and undermine the right!

    Sigh, I'll never understand the rampaging right... they go and say lefties are this that and the other, and in doing so prove that the right is just the same... guilty of the same crimes they accuse the left of.

    except of course, I've never hear a let wing radio shock jock do any of those things... maybe its because I've never heard a left wing shock jock, but I've heard plenty if right ones doing that... hey, maybe thats why we have endangered species lists...

  8. Skidoo

    Kick Him in the Bollocks

    Forget about his misinformed (read: wrong) personal opinion. He's the head of NASA. If he's dumb enough to say something like this to national media(ocrities), he needs a swift kick in jewels at the least; but removal would be the preferrable recognition of his amazing dense-ity.

  9. John Benson

    Science welcomes all viewpoints...

    and then politely dismisses those that are not testable, or at least frameable in terms of testable theories.

    The head of NASA is fully entitled to his own opinion regardless of the orthodoxy under him, politically correct or not. His views are a matter for further inquiry, not immediate obloquy.

    Bohr and Einstein had a big difference of opinion once, and Bohr resolved the question with a gedanken experiment that Einstein couldn't counter. Although the global warming controversy involves both theory and hard data, it should be conducted in the same spirit. To reduce it to a shouting contest is to kill off our precious heritage of (hopefully and in the main) disinterested scientific inquiry. If the tradition of spirited though apolitical scientific debate dies, a new crop of pandering Lysenkos will move into the top posts and reduce us to an intellectual backwater no matter how many talented foreigners we import. Americans got the Bomb because we were willing to let the scientists do their science regardless of ethnicity, national origin or political leanings. The Nazis rejected "Jewish science" and ended up with a lot of heavy water but not much else to show for their efforts.

    That said, I'm suspicious of the global warming hoopla simply on the basis that major politicians have latched onto it. I don't feel that Al Gore or any politician qua politician is qualified to pronounce on scientific issues. He is, of course, entitled to express his opinion as any citizen is, but if I want science then give me the views of the National Academy of Science and of other professional scientific bodies. Then I'll weigh the arguments while paying attention to who funded what research.

    I suppose I'm one of the people that Bertrand Russell described when he said that nobody believes that faith can (literally) move mountains, whereas if a scientist asserts that an atom bomb can move a mountain, then everybody will believe it.

    In any case, moderation of debate in this (as well as other) areas would be a consummation devoutly to be wished for.

  10. Adam Kotter

    Much scarier then the radical right

    As a US based reader of The Register I find it fascinating to read comments like these. Throughout history radical conservatives, particularly so called “Christian” conservatives, have done some pretty scary things to create fear and control people. Horrific events like the inquisition and the crusades come to mind. However, I've never seen anything in decades that compares to the fear mongering created over the issue of global warming.

    If you have a different opinion from the left, you are now labeled a “denier” full of “disinformation” or just branded a fool. You are attacked with a vitriolic hatred normally reserved for child molesters and baby killers. After all, why would anyone go against something that “everyone” knows to be true.

    I consider myself a pretty intelligent guy, and very skeptical of most anything I read until I’ve taken the time to study all sides and form a conclusion. So far, my experience has been that whenever people start telling me that “everyone” believes something or “there is no doubt” or “All scientist” agree with something, there’s a problem. If the facts are so compelling, so undeniable, then why the vicious attacks on someone who disagrees? If the truth is so obvious, you wouldn’t need this behavior.

    However, if the best argument the media has is “everyone believes it so it must be true”, I have a hard time believing the veracity of the argument. History shows that people so entrenched in their dogma, do very scary things. Whether it’s a religious sect killing innocents in the name of god or socialist murdering millions of Jews in the name of racial superiority, the result is the same. Learn from history; be cautious of any dogma that inspires such hate. The real fear is not climate change that has been going on for eons and will continue to go on for eons yet to come; it’s the actions that humans take to destroy their fellow humans using this as an excuse.

  11. Herbys

    And the earth is flat

    People dissenting with the mainstream opinion is the basis of advance. Even when they are wrong (as it is most likely this case) they help us evaulate our theories and confirm they resist criticism.

    Do YOU, the guys posting comments here, have more information about global warming than this guy? I seriously doubt it. DId he say anything that's proven wrong, or even highly unlikely? No, he just said that there's no proof that today's temperature is the best one for humans. It is possible that a higher average temperature would lead to higher water evaporation and more rainfall in most of the world. It is likely that more ground would become hospitable with higher temperatures (areas like greenland) than the ground that the ones that would become inhabitable. It is possible that higher temperatures would enable more green areas in the world to grow. Or perhaps not. The fact is that there are few studies in that area (as opposed to the actual global warming likelyhood) and this guy has his right to express an opinion on it, even if it is not a popular one.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Socratic dialog

    Ok, you've have heard of the 'Socratic Method' but you haven't read the Socratic Dialogs, right? Here is a comment from the WWW: "The Socratic method stands on the foundations of fear and embarrassment." ( However, that is particularly talking about education, so let's turn to our favourite, Wikipedia:

    "The practice involves asking a series of questions surrounding a central issue, and answering questions of the others involved. Generally this involves the defense of one point of view against another and is oppositional. The best way to 'win' is to make the opponent contradict themselves in some way that proves the inquirer's own point."

    And I agree with you that "Journalists are widely known for this technique to "push" people into saying things". I just don't understand why you qualified this by saying that NASA's description of the event was "technically" correct. You don't have a vested interest in defending journalists do you ????

  13. jake Silver badge

    Carrying Cabernet from Newcastle?

    >Robert Long wrote:

    >>Webster Phreaky:

    >>700 years ago the Romans grew grapes in Northern Briton

    >>and Scotland, try that now "

    >OK. Paines Hill in Surrey's been doing it for ages.

    ::sighs:: Kids these days ... No sense of history ... Nor geography, nor oceanography apparently ...

    First, Surrey's hardly Northern England; it also gets a little climatological help from the Gulf Stream ...

    Secondly, 700 years ago (AD 1300 or so) the Romans were long gone from England ... and we were in the beginning of a little ice-age, to boot. (For extra points, when was the last time the Thames froze over?)

    In counter point, the Romans were growing wine grapes at Hadrians Wall (on the England/Scotland border) around AD 120, maybe earlier.

    Are there any real vineyards in the north of England today? There sure weren't when I was getting my Os & As in Yorkshire in the late 80s ... Lord Harewood was trying, but the results weren't exactly spectacular from this west-coast Yank's perspective.

    YES, we are seeing climate changes. But we are hardly at either extreme, when compared to historically observed climate variations.

    I'll start getting worried about "global warming" when a hundred year old bottle of Chataux Edinburgh Cabernet is selling for 200 pounds^Weuros^Wdollars ...


    jake in California

  14. Nexox Enigma

    Politics and science

    Left, Right, doesn't really matter. Anyone that may be described thusly can be depended upon to defend their side's position, which tends to be more based in something almost, but not entirely unlike reality. And one may assume that since their position is mostly derived for their own benefit, their arguments will similarly not be based in reality.

    Anyone that can banter so long about global warming, yet totally disregard all that data that we have from ice about the last many millenia, and their indications that we're on the tail end of an ice age should probably be ignored.

    I applaud Mr. Griffin for recognizing that Earth's climate might just be bigger than the human race. He is right, we are rather arrogant to think that we could be the only cause of a climate cycle that seems to have been proceeding fine without our emmissions for the last couple hundred thousand years. And he's right that we don't know if we are in any way obligated to do anything about it.

    Shit (and climate change) happens, if we're at the tipping point of shit happening... well then I think maybe people aught to stop declaring tipping points and such. Sounds like a cheap attempt to gain some more fervor and sell another Prius.

    I wonder how long people will try to claim that we're currently at a tipping point. If you think about it, once we're past this point, theres not a hell of a lot of reason to any of the arguements about reducing carbon footprings and whatnot, since we really can't do much.

  15. Adam West


    "700 years ago the Romans grew grapes in Northern Briton and Scotland"

    Get that off Wikipedia, did you?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Global warming is a left wing conspiracy theory

    Chavez is behind it, he's working with the liberals to undermine our country. If the atmosphere is warming it's God's rath on us for our sinful ways.

    Did God not say 'Women are from Venus and Men are from mars?' And does Venus not have runaway global warming? Is mother earth not female? So it simple science that global warming is God's plan!

    The rapture will be soon and those left behind will be burned to a crisp. lE YOUR EVOLUTION SAVE YOU NOW PROTO-HUMANS!

    Pray brothers.

    Pat Robinson

  17. Dax Farrer


    You can grow it in England. England has a growing wine industry. But I agree down from its hey day during the tudor period. Its got very little to do with climate though, so I don't really understand the relevance.

    If you think it was warmer in AD120 than today, you would be wrong.

    If you think Northern England doesnt benefit from the gulf stream, you would be wrong as well.

    The biggest error is that you claim some sort of historical (rather than geological) point in time when it was warmer than today. This is totally untrue.

    I would suggest you took a look at a source other than your own personal ruminations. Naval gazing can be fun, but its better when you are bit more knowledgeable.

  18. James Bassett

    Two questions not one (and the one people are arguing over doesn't matter)

    I think the problem is that the masses (and politicians) are getting two questions confused as one.

    The first question is "Is the world climate getting warmer on average" to which the answer, based on the evidence available, is yes. Over the last 40-50 years the average temperature accross the planet has gone up by just over a degree.

    The second question is "Are humans causing the average temperature of the planet to go up by releasing relatively small quantities of Co2 and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere?". Now, I'll admit to not having read every paper on this subject. I have a life. However, I've tried to keep a pretty close eye on things and, as yet, I've seen very little evidence to suggest the answer to the second question is a definitive yes. That doesn't mean the answer is no. Just that I haven't seen anything to prove it is yes.

    As others have mentioned (and I believe the answer to the Thames question is 1823 - though I may be a couple of years out) the earths climate has endured huge swings over (geologically) small periods of time in very recent history. The story to which the "thames" question alludes is that, at the end of the 18th and the begining of the 19th century, the Thames would freeze over to a depth of over 1 meter. This occured EVERY year and there was an annual fair on the frozen Thames for a few decades, before things warmed up a bit. Indeed, the North Sea, at this time, would regularly freeze as far south as Aberdeen. Today, it would never freeze as far South as the artic circle.

    The problem is that peope are mixing these two questions up. It all gets confused into a single "is climate change a reality?" question. When people hear "Climate change" they think of humans burning oil etc. If we could separate the two questions out and accept the first, we could have a much simpler, more reasoned debate about the role of humans in making the earth warmer.

    At the moment, as mentioned above, anyone who dares question the, apparntly accepted, wisdom is shot down in flames.

    Of course, whether or not humans are responsible could be argued as irrelevant. The climate appears to be changing. We will probably have run out of fossil fuels within a couple of hundred years in any case. So, saving energy, looking for alternative energy sources and preparing for a warmer climate and increased Sea Levels are separate issues from Whether or not the release of CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels is making the earth warmer.

  19. Colin Jackson


    So now you have to be a 'leftie' to accept man-made global warming these days? When did that happen?? Filthy commies, taking over everything! Fight the socialists! Burn more fossil fuel now!

    I find it ironic to hear a bunch of right-wingers complaining about the left wing attaching too much 'faith without evidence' to global warming.

  20. David Cantrell

    "decenting" opinions

    "Webster Freaky" may or may not be right that us lefties can't stand "decenting" opinions - I don't know, because I don't know what one of those is. We also can't stand far-right nutjobs who are too stupid to spell "dissenting" correctly and who think that the Romans were still ruling Britain in the 1300s.

    It's also worth noting that Roman wine was so awful that no-one would *want* to make it these days. They generally drank it watered down or mixed with honey to make it taste better.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mile-high bollocks.

    Some of you guys apparently think we're living in fairyland where you can pack your bags and move to another place where the grass is greener if you fall on hard times. So how many US citizens exactly will be able move to a de-thawed Siberia, a warmed Canada or a wetter Sahara? Of course once there they will wait a bit while the biosphere catches up with conditions that shifted in 100 years instead of a 1000. Hey, aren't those people over there Mexicans coming north?

    It's also pretty tiresome to see the standard tropes of people who consider themselves "not on the left" or "not librul":

    * Nature ever progresses in linear fashion only.

    * Control theory must be something to do with Karl Rove.

    * Science should work like a "fair and balanced" political debate on Fox TV, with every viewpoint given equal weight.

    * Statements from persons of authority must 'per se' be trustworthy, (except if that person can be considered a 'liberal' or worse, associated to Clinton).

    * Going against accepted scientific consensus somehow is the hallmark of "progress" and "advancement" (then Einstein is invoked). This is not the case if the dissenter is a "leftie".

    * A scientific consensus that one fought tooth and nail for two decades with big helpings from Exxon and that still establishes itself is somehow "pushed", "forced", bankrolled by shadowy forces or the sheer result of "peer pressure".

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Opinions and predictions

    Interesting place NASA.

    Griffin, as an adminstrator with an overview (presumably) of all NASA activities puts forwards mild opinion which, I would suggest, was probably intended to point to other problems of humanity being more immediately pressing (and potentially more solvable) than some warming and his colleagues and the media jump on him.

    On the other hand James Hansen, also employed by NASA, who has a rather narrower brief within the organisation to keep him busy, puts forward his opinions as testimony at an official shindig and very few people question them. This despite the fact that his opinions seem to be at odds with the official IPCC statements and so presumably designed to ratchet up the political pressure.

    Meanwhile Hansen calls for Griffin's resignation or so it has been reported.


    Or maybe not. After all people who erroneously predicted catastrophic cooling in the 60s and 70s are now predicting catastrophic warming. Looking back over over almost all 'scientifically' based predictions through history few prove correct. Maybe none? Presumably the best form of defence to known innaccuracy or doubtful 'facts' is simply to attack those who do not actively agree.

    Griffin attacked no one - I'm sure it would have been reported to death if he had.

    Hansen, on the othe hand ...

    I draw my own conclusions.


  23. Greg Nelson

    You Can't Get There From Here

    What has Global Warming to do with science, and what has Michael Griffin to do with NASA?

    "NASA administrator Michael Griffin has apologized to agency scientists and engineers for expressing an unpopular personal opinion regarding global warming during a recent radio interview."

    Science, working with 'long chains of close reasoning' speaks to the how of things. Politics, excluding tyrants, kings and the President, is action by consensus. Political debate often speaks to the why of things. Once a scientific debate enters the political arena it serves little purpose to cry foul about the loss of elegance, rigour and robustness. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said recently (from memory), 'the debate on climate change is over'. He followed that statement up with, 'Science leads policy follows.' His pronouncements can be seen to kick off the political debate on Climate Change Policy. Using quasi science one could say the debate has passed from the analytical left side of the brain to the more political right side of the brain. As Mr. Griffin pointed out Climate Change has become politically charged and scientists should ask themselves what science has to do with Climate Change in a political forum. The obvious answer is to heavily qualify any response in terms of the hat one is wearing in posing an answer. Was he speaking as a scientist, as an expert, as the head of NASA, as a private citizen? Not qualifying an answer where there is any ambiguity as to the hat one is wearing at the time is a rookie mistake.

  24. john mann

    Roman Wine

    This about the romans growing grapes for wine in northern britain is all a load of tosh. They might have done, but the legionaires on hadrian's wall got their preferred plonk from Gaul, as was made perfectly clear in some of the vindolanda tablets.

    The local stuff was probably for the roman wanabee britunculi who wanted to keep up appearances but couldn't afford anything decent.

    Bit like today's brits who slurp australian grape pressings....

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So scientists are only interested in facts

    Is it not interesting to see that scientists are actually interested in their pet hypotheses, whatever they may be, rather than the facts, just like ordinary people. "If you don't agree with my pet idea, be it human induced global warming, evolution or geocentricity, then you are wrong , stupid and probably not even a real scientist".


  26. Dax Farrer

    Lunatic Fringe

    I fail to see of any reason why the lunatic fringe should not be shot down in flames. In every society those individuals that are not running on mainstream opinion are rightly labeled nutters. Laughed and pointed at ... hahahhaha. You see, if I went around claiming a deep belief in the abiogenesis of oil, I would be rightly shot down. Why should I give a bunch of tin foil hatters any legitimacy ? Grant is a classic example. So science is bunk is it Grant, all those scientists that can't get anything right.

    The lunatic fringe just gets sillier by the second, its very unfortuante that the web seems to generate more of these nutters all the time. Far from being an aid, you can control ignorance through like minded people getting together and reinforcing their own beliefs.

    I hate that these people use data from the 70's when more recent studies have shown them to be flawed. You have to wonder about the vested intrests (Exxon et al), and how they have spent their money. Well we know they have spent it promoting ignorance and stupidity, and we can see the fruits of their labours on the posts above.

    Thats right Grant, you draw your own conclusions. They are bound to founded on a stringent methodology and testing. Or rather pulled out of your arse, when required.

  27. florian mosleh

    nice photo

    is it just me or does this guy look totally blazed?

  28. Paul A. Walker

    Impartial eh...

    "...possibly referring to a future race of proto-humans who may find the bone-blistering heat from an environmental apocalypse pleasurable..."

    Some impartial, professional journalism here then?

  29. Carrie

    Political Science

    i have to agree with Mr James Basset... It's unfortunate that one's position on "climate change" indicates one's political leanings. ( This has always been the case - politics and science have always been unhappy bedfellows. ) The right questions are not being asked. JB has put forward two excellent questions (above), but I would like to add a third:

    Given that the global average temperature of the earth is warming, and assuming that this change is as a result of human activity, what is our path forward? How do we want this question to end? Are we going to assume that with effort we can revert climate data to, say, 1965? 1865? Are we going to arbitrarily chose a "positive zone" of data to which we will work toward? From what I understand, capping carbon output will still allow change to happen exponentially. So really, what are our expectations of our actions?

    I am neither political nor have I decided whether I know enough to have an opinion on whether or not Global Warming is the end of the world as we know it, but I would like to be able to see the situation in a light without bias and think on an End Result. I think in properly defining the situation and the expectation, we can move forward without all this political mumbo jumbo. Maybe.

  30. Tom Richards

    Alarmists over global cooling in the 1970s

    The scientists said "it might happen. We don't know yet". The papers said "OMG WE'RE ALL GOING TO HELL IN A POPSICLE!!!". But if you have any proof that respected climatologists screamed about global cooling in the 1970s only to scream about global warming now, Bill Connolly would like to know:

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where to begin

    Concern for the planet's ability to support life wasn't always a "leftie" issue. Teddy Roosevelt was a Republican, and he founded the National Parks system. The Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act were signed into law by president Nixon, of all people. How the "liberal left" inherited it, I think, is by the infiltration of "the right" by corporate special interests more concerned with the next quarterly report than by long-term consequences. Just an opinion there, no supporting data.

    The ability of the planet to supply fresh air, clean water, and other life support would sensibly be a centrist issue, I would think.

    Regarding the perception of hysterical treatment of "climate heretics" -- yes, some of that goes on, but maybe some of it is also panic? If person A's foot-dragging is perceived as the doom of person B's descendants, might not person B be excused for a bit of exasperation?

    As to a "left wing conspiracy" -- I haven't seen anything specific proposed yet. I have seen evidence put forth of a corporate conspiracy -- not right wing, although it seems to hide under and manipulate the right wing -- to distort the debate on climate change. See the Union of Concerned Scientists' web site, and scan for mentions of Exxon corporation.

    Finally, suppose for a moment (in turn) that each side of the argument is dead wrong, and we react wrongly to the evidence. First, suppose that human-caused climate change is complete nonsense, and we bought it all:

    We will have cleaned our air, moved to renewable energy, reduced our dependence on middle-east oil, and generally thought out sustainable schemes for all production. This includes food, manufacturing, recycling instead of landfilling, etc.

    Now, suppose that human-caused climate change is real, the tipping point is at hand, and we decided that it was a popular myth to be safely ignored:

    Increasing ocean temperatures continue killing off coral reefs, setting off the chain reaction deoxygenation of the oceans. Fairly soon this causes anaerobic bacteria to start farting sulphur into the atmosphere in large quantities; most other marine life dies off. There are the predicted super-hurricanes, drought, etc. For those who live in the eastern US, you can expect to see alligators in the Chesapeake bay -- the clamdiggers will love that. That is, if the marine oxygen kill doesn't cause a large scale extinction event, leaving nothing left but cockroaches and pond scum.

    (I'd like to support the oceanic oxygen depletion thing directly, and I believe it comes from the TV program below, but the overview isn't sufficiently complete and I'm not going to purchase the DVD to prove a point.

    The point being, it's safer to work against human-caused global climate change and be wrong, than it is to ignore human-caused global climate change and be wrong.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Lunatic Fringe

    Dear Dax,

    I think if you re-read my offering I was focusing on the free expression of opinion, right or wrong, and how various people respond to it.

    As, indeed, you responded, somewhat confirming my intended point.

    For that I thank you.

    Is your comment title - repeated above as an reminder - intended to vilify me (which seems a little extreme since you don't know me and have made certain incorrect assumptions it seems about what I wrote) or are you using it as an identification of your own position?

    As it happens I have a strong belief in good science but very little belief in the benefits of single view politics and the absence of debate. In the so called Western World much recent history used to refer to 'Totalitarianism' with a rather negative meaning indicating a lack of serious debate about political policies. The word is rarely seen these days (in the UK), possibly because the current political model is too close to that definition for comfort.

    I hope and trust that science will not be dragged into the same state, for then it will not be science, at least not in the public domain. Possible it may survive in some way behind the political front in an underground form.

    The so called Totalitarian regimes may have produced some remarkable cut-price military engineering over the years but overall seemed to fail on the humanitarian and social levels. Not really a great surprise when most people were expected to have the same opinion as whoever was the leader at the time. If they did not they were usually 'persuaded' to agree, removed from view or simply eliminated.

    Alternative views, no matter how mild or innocuous the expression of different opinion might be, were not tolerated.

    Of course you may remember such times Dax, or perhaps have read about them somewhere. Or not. I have no idea. I'm not writing this to be critical, just outlining how I see things. In other words making my opinion known as you did before.

    Now it seems we might be heading into the same philosophical arena that the Totalitarian states once occupied (and where some may still at heart be found) .

    Political activity, which I fully admit I distrust as I always have, could and probably will have a huge social impact in the short term. On the other hand science, according to most currently expected time to confirmation estimates to obtain whatever the results turn out to be, will take much longer to have any conclusive result. That is also assuming that someone can be sure that a scienfically definitive experiment can be devised in line with the evolving changes observed, as they will surely be. The conclusive analysis of the results may not happen in my lifetime but then I still see that the search for the scientific proof should continue no matter how difficult or distant the point of success might be.

    In the intervening period it seems we will have a politcal focus, in the absence of any other threats appearing, that will be managed by the United Nations. I doubt that once under way it will need to make any call on science at all.

    So, a 'One World' view?

    Or something else?

    Am I allowed to express this opinion still or is it now verboten?

    I quite enjoyed your rant Dax, though probably not for any reason you would take comfort from. I hope mentioning that does not upset you too much.

    Have fun.


  33. Dax Farrer

    The lunatic AKA Grant

    I dont understand your problem. You havent been stopped from saying anything. No thought police were sent to your abode. You have not been stoned to death by angry scientists. So whats your beef ? Mine is that your are a tinfoil nutter that obviously does a lot of naval gazing !

    Are you saying I should not be allowed to say that ?

    Im not upset at you at all, your welcome to your personal fantasy world, I see you take a lot of comfort in it.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Looking out to see ...

    As you wish Dax. I don't suppose either of is of much consequence in the grand scheme.

    However I am curious as to why people who you think might wear tin hats (for some obscure reason) should also spend time looking for ships.

    On the other hand I am merely curious. No answer is sought.


  35. Dr Coles

    Telling The Truth Is Now a Political Crime?

    My point in all of this is that CO2 does NOT cause climate change; I am not arguing that a change in the climate might be occurring. The climate on earth changes all the time and that global change is caused by the Sun (a new NASA finding). All life on the planet is carbon based, CO2 is part of our food chain, and it is not a pollutant. The biggest “green house gas” is water vapor. If climate change is caused by human activity then we would need to start eliminating life on the planet, yes this is absurd, so is the assertion that humans are causing climate change. It just is NOT the truth.

    Additional information

  36. Dax Farrer

    Dr Coles

    Doctor of what ?

    You seem to be out there on your own, swimming against the tide. I wish you luck, because 99% of scientists believe Global Warming is man made.

    Love the link, points you to a place that states JUNK SCIENCE is infesting the world of science (one page, no refs, no addresses, no author) and then links to "papers" by that well known scientist Senator James Inhofe. A giant in the scientific community Im sure. As opposed to my link, to the IPCC website.

    Or how about this, the recent New Scientist article that attempts to bring the out of date up to speed with this vital issue.

    Mr Coles I dont think telling what you believe is a problem, the problem is that you "believe" in the 1st place. There is no room for belief in science. Leave your beliefs and prejudices at the door, and try and come up with some cold, hard facts. Peer reviewed please, none of this political guff.l

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