Inhofe and Morano keep making stuff up, this time utterly misquoting Revkin on Hansen

Once again, the office of Sen. James Inhofe (Denier-OK) has put out a press release riddled with misstatements, this one attacking the nation’s top climate scientist James Hansen.

Their last release was notable for the outright lies and distortions by Inhofe and his top staffer, Marc Morano (see Scientist: “Our conclusions were misinterpreted” by Inhofe, CO2 — but not the sun — “is significantly correlated” with temperature since 1850 and Inhofe recycles long-debunked denier talking points — will the media be fooled (again)?)

Now they are making stuff up about Hansen, claiming the Bush Administration did not try to muzzle him, when they clearly did, as the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee documented in a December 2007 report. Somehow I think that report, which is based on “over 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Commerce Department,” two investigative hearings, and the depositions and interviews of key officials is a tad more credible than the words of some former NASA engineer.

It is absurd for Inhofe to have a blaring headline that “Hansen’s Former NASA Supervisor” says Hansen “was never muzzled,” when this guy does not appear to have been Hansen’s supervisor (he “did not have the authority to give him his annual performance evaluation,” an authority possessed by every supervisor I ever had in government — see also NASA’s Gavin Schmidt here) — and in any case, had a position above Hansen only from 1982-1994, a full decade before the muzzling occurred!

I don’t want to waste a lot of time debunking pathological make-stuff-uppers like Inhofe and Morano, but let me point out one representative lie. The Morano post blares:

NYT’s Revkin chides Hansen for promoting sea level claims that are not ‘even physically possible’

But let’s go the link and see what Revkin actually wrote.

This is a post by David Lewis of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network on an interview Mike Tidwell did with me and Revkin that turned into a little debate. I meant to blog on this earlier but I didn’t have a transcript. It gets further in to some of the disagreements I have with Revkin. But let’s cut to the chase.

Revkin replied to the post as follows:

Jim Hansen is a remarkable climate scientist, and now also a passionate climate campaigner, and has been a trusted source of mine since 1988. But his views of some of the science are not always in sync with those of scientists focused on specific questions. Sea level is a case in point. Jim’s views are clearly at the upper boundary of what many glaciologists and oceanographers together see as realistic, or even physically possible, in a warming world.

Whether you agree with Revkin or Hansen on the science, Revkin never asserted that Hansen promoted sea level claims that were not even physically possible. Revkin is saying is that Hansen’s views are at the upper boundary of what “many” scientists say is physically possible. Okay. It’s an upper bound in the view of many experts. I won’t disagree with that.

The Inhofe/Morano headline is simply a lie. Like pretty much everything else they publish.

I assume the media will ignore this latest fabricated smear, but in any event it’s worth remember that, as I blogged earlier this month, the American Meteorological Society just awarded Hansen its highest honor, the 2009 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal:

For outstanding contributions to climate modeling, understanding climate change forcings and sensitivity, and for clear communication of climate science in the public arena.

Shame on Inhofe and Morano for trying to tarnish the reputation of this great man.

[Note: On RealClimate, NASA’s Gavin Schmidt writes: “Dr. Theon appears to have retired from NASA in 1994, some 15 years ago. Until yesterday I had never heard of him (despite working with and for NASA for the last 13 years). His insights into both modelling and publicity appear to date from then, rather than any recent events. He was not Hansen’s ‘boss’ (the director of GISS reports to the director of GSFC, who reports to the NASA Administrator).”]

25 Responses to Inhofe and Morano keep making stuff up, this time utterly misquoting Revkin on Hansen

  1. Dano says:

    Of course.

    This is all they have: making sh*t up. They can’t pound the facts, so they are pounding the table.



  2. Chris S says:

    Ah…now this is what I was looking for! Thanks for clearing the air again.

  3. Kojiro Vance says:

    So who is James Hansen? If he was silenced how can we possibly know what he said or who he is.

  4. Vernon says:

    Well, I have to admit, in my time in government service, if you did not write the annual review on someone, you were not their supervisor. But then in government service being a supervisor and being in charge can and were two different things.

  5. Dana says:

    Sometimes dealing with deniers is like game of whack-a-mole. They make some stupid and completely false or misleading claim, we disprove it with factual information, repeat ad infinitum.

    They don’t seem to care how often their ridiculous claims are disproven, but nevertheless it’s good to have a source like Climate Progress disproving them.

  6. Alan says:

    Here’s a suggestion. What goes around should come around. There should be minders assigned to Inhofe and his ilk. Each time he wants to make a statement vis-a-vis the climate crisis, they should be enjoined to first commit their statements to paper, which would then be reviewed by the minders (climate scientists) for accuracy. This might help eliminate their infernal yammering. Hey, we put up with our climate scientists being muzzled by political-types. We shoud be able to turn the tables, now that WE won!

  7. Barry says:

    Maybe we need to use their tactics against them.

    An Onion-esqe climate “news” website spoofing the deniers using their own words…er, perhaps a wee bit out of context.

    It sure would be fun to write for…

  8. Anthony says:

    Hansen’s estimates are at the upper end of scientific estimates, but natures responses have been faster still. So far Hansen’s estimates look good.

    [JR: I didn’t mention it but Holdren, the nation’s new science adviser, has warned of sea level rise by 2100 comparable to what Hansen has warned of.]

  9. David B. Benson says:

    Morano’s salary is paid by tax dollars. Shouldn’t he be doing something more productive, such as taking out the trash?

  10. EEB says:

    Hansen is loon.

  11. K. Nockels says:

    We could all hope Inhofe and Morano have all their money tied up in property in close prox to the ocean, any ocean. And its a very good thing for all of us that men like James Hansen and Joe Romm speak up and tell the truth.

  12. John Hollenberg says:

    > Hansen is loon.

    Could this be a poster with Anti-Science Syndrome? :-) We don’t just need to make a diagnosis, we need to come up with some sort of treatment.

  13. JeffT says:

    I will not criticise or pass comment on James Hansen one way or the other.

    But please check out his appearances on the satellite and web TV services:
    Supreme Master TV.

    There is a couple of interviews with Dr Hansen on this site, one on coal and another on tipping points.

    In light of Dr Theon’s statements, what are your opinions?

  14. David Lewis says:

    Andy Revkin’s post comparing Hansen’s position on sea level rise with that of other scientists is here:

    It is that post you should refer to if you want to understand what Inhofe and Morano are up to. Here’s what I think, so far:

    Revkin says Hansen states his position in his 2007 “Scientific Reticence and Sea Level Rise” paper, and Revkin takes that as one pole in a debate he writes involves other scientists who “push back”. One group, Pfeffer and Harper, discussed research leading to their paper “Kinematic Constraints on Glacier Contributions to 21st Century Sea-Level Rise” at the 2007 AGU. And there is Abdalati, whose personal correspondence with Andy is quoted.

    Hansen is concerned that the general public doesn’t understand what is known about sea level rise. He mentions in the 2007 paper that the IPCC just left out what scientists call the “dynamical response” of ice sheets when it came up with its number for sea level rise in AR4. The IPCC left it out because they couldn’t agree on what to say, not because they thought it was unimportant. “Dynamical response” is if an ice sheet, or part of it, slides into the sea.

    Hansen has brought up in the past that Meltwater Pulse 1A from the Laurentian ice sheet disintegration caused a global sea level rise of 5 meters per century for 400 years.

    In this “reticence” paper Hansen states that paleoclimate data like Pulse 1A, coupled with the “most compelling” data from the gravity satellite mission GRACE showing accelerating Greenland ice sheet mass loss, and “the most disconcerting” Antarctic data such as ice shelves in contact with the warming sea and the recent detection of sudden albedo flipping, i.e. increasing surface melting on West Antarctica, leads him to be “confident” that if he did a back of the envelope calculation and said global sea level will rise by 5 meters this century, it would be a “far better estimate than a linear response for the ice sheet component” in a BAU estimate from yet another scientist.

    Compared to the position the guys Revkin comes up with who are “pushing back”, I wouldn’t even call this statement of Hansen’s the same type of thing. The “push back” boys are being scientifically precise writing for an audience of scientists. Hansen on the other hand, is writing about the science, but also about the difficulty a scientist has in trying to speak as a knowledgeable citizen to other citizens on matters that are urgent and vital to civilization as a whole. Revkin’s writing is a different type of thing: it is for a publication that has an audience mostly composed of people who believe climate disruption isn’t that important, or it isn’t even happening.

    Moving right along. So Hansen writes he is “confident” his back of the envelope estimate is better than some BAU analysis that assumes a linear response from ice sheets. Revkin’s “push back” guys, who aren’t so confident Hansen is correct, are working and publishing, and Revkin writes about it. This is what science reporting, and science, is. One of the guys Revkin got, Abdalati, is talking 1 meter when Revkin writes. But less than a year later, i.e. December 2008, Abdalati published his revised “Sound the Alarm on climate change”. In this paper, Abdalati warns us “a rise of 3 feet or MUCH MORE is possible” (My capitalization).

    This leaves Pfeffer and Harper “pushing back”. I have yet to really fully digest their “Kinematic Constraints…” paper except to say they’re seeing what they can come up with if they assume a high end figure for melting in place and try to figure out how much more the seas would rise if they added in the rise to be expected if the biggest possible amount of ice actually slid into the sea. They feel they’re on sound ground to say .8 of a meter this century is what their assumptions led them to calculate. They say they take their paper to be a “starting point” for work that doesn’t leave out “ice flow dynamics” as the IPCC work did.

    I have yet to find out their opinion of how Meltwater Pulse 1A achieved its 5 meters per century. That’s the compelling thing about paleoclimate studies. If it happened before, it can happen again.

    Hansen is doing some deep thinking on the paleo data and he doesn’t like what he sees. This is the basis for his 325 – 350 ppm CO2 target change. It is his study of what the data of ancient climate change means for us that has him taking prominent policy positions.

    If people such as Inhofe and Morano want to take all this and claim it means that Revkin wrote that what Hansen is saying is physically impossible, or that Revkin wrote that some scientists say what Hansen is saying is physically impossible, they’re demonstrating they haven’t one clue about what any of these people are talking about, or they’re just throwing around words to fulfill their agenda.

    I’m studying in more depth why I get a strong feeling that I disagree with Revkin on aspects of certain subjects, such as Arctic sea ice melting, Greenland, sea level rise and the possibilities for abrupt climate change when I read some of his work. The more deeply I study, the less sure I am that he is toeing some line over at the NYTimes. And I have by now read him discuss how arguments over single words occur between reporters and editors the nearer an item gets to being placed on the front page. Revkin is a formidable talent: that is for sure.

    I don’t have experience with Inhofe and Morano. This doesn’t seem to be their finest hour.

  15. Time for Congress to Censure Inhofe.

    Didn’t bad information get us into a 3 trillion dollar war recently?

    When are we planning to learn anything?

  16. koen says:

    Came across this yesterday – but forgot already the author:

    “History teaches us that history teaches us nothing”.

    So still a long way to go.

  17. EEB says:

    “…we need to come up with some sort of treatment.”

    First you need to build the gulag…comrade.

  18. John Hollenberg says:

    > First you need to build the gulag…comrade.

    Actually, the Bush administration was the one politicizing the science, as referenced above in the book “Censoring Science…” The education I was referring to would involve a lot of science classes and the ability to critically evaluate information. It is the exact opposite of the enforced political orthodoxy you mention.

  19. Wes Rolley says:

    Inhofe reminds me of another Senator who made things up. Joseph R. McCarthy. This is especially true with his “I have in my hand.. or on my web site… a list of….” kind of statements.

    I how I wish that Murrow would come back and lead 60 Minutes again. Or even to debate the issue with Congressman McNerney (PhD in Math) or Rush Holt (NJ – PhD in Physics).

  20. Barry says:

    Inhofe is part of the latest incarnation of the “American Can’t” brigade.

    They traffic in the tired and rejected notion that America is a nation of feeble, poor, weak-spined, whiners, unable to still accomplish great things.

    In Inhofe’s America, we:

    — can’t build a home-grown, hopeful, secure energy future

    — can’t sacrifice for a better tomorrow

    — can’t break from our addictions

    — can’t create a new morning in America

    He is selling head-in-the-sand, scared-to-try, too-big-for-us negativity. End of American greatness and transformation.

    He has no faith that Americans can escape the triple threat bearing down on us of oil shocks, climate chaos and national energy security.

    We just can’t do it.

    “America Can’t.”

  21. David Lampo says:

    Censure Inhofe? For speaking out against the global warming orthodoxy? And one of the other global warming zombies on this thread raised the spectre of Inhofe as McCarthy.

    You guys have it a bit backward. If anyone is engaged in the bullying and intimidation that characterized McCarthy’s style, it’s the proponents of the climate “crisis” and their near total intolerance of dissent. Surely those are crocodile tears when discussing the “silencing” of Mr. Hansen.

    As a proponent of show trials for those who dissent from his own views, Mr. Hansen is the one deserving censure, not to mention dismissal. He and his group of slavish devotees are the real fascists in this debate.

    [JR: You Cato folks are comical, that is for sure. Yes the slavish devotion of science is the problem. Zombies? The only people who mindlessly follow doctrine are those who don’t understand science and the scientific method — the people who populate “think” tanks like yours.]

  22. Krumhorn says:


    Naturally, you acolytes of the Church of the Global Warmingists would love a reprobate like Hansen who has systematically phonied up data to the ridiculous point that he or his organization has actually had to retract some of his most outlandish claims.

    Far from science, y’all are truly anti-science fabulists in your attempt to harness it into the service of your political objectives

    This would be the same Hansen who got a very large grant from the Heinz Foundation just before announcing his support of Lurch. But that’s ok just so long as Big Oil doesn’t finance any research.

    Astronaut Walter Cunningham has spoke forcefully about the disgrace Hansen is to NASA. Rather than being a body of scientific rigor, Hansen has dragged the place into the muck of looselugnut lib politics. Hansen’s predictions have been very often wrong and his statements about the past have been fraudulent.

    He’s just the kind of “scientist” a librul could love: relentless, clueless and without scruples. Just another political activist. Sort of a community organizer on a larger scale.