NASA’s Hansen asked to account for outside activities

NASA’s Hansen asked to account for outside activities (June 21st, 2011). Here’s another whopper from Christopher Horner of that home of scientific inquiry, the American Tradition Institute (an arm of the Competitive Enterprise Institute). Anthony Watts naturally jumps to endorse the accusation that “taxpayer-funded global warming activist” James Hansen receiving a “prize” is an ethical violation and that government scientists are clock-punching shift-workers…

Sez Anthony, “Gavin Schmidt’s time spent on editing realclimate.org during working hours apparently was the trigger for a broader investigation.”

Tip to Anthony: scientists are salaried employees, not hourly assembly line workers. The “broader investigation” Anthony tries to imply is simply think tank thug Christopher Horner speaking out of both sides of his mouth at once. Previously, Dr. Hansen’s involvement with the RealClimate website was decried as “advocacy” on government time, now it’s an “outside activity” that must be “accounted for”. Which is it? Do he really care?

ATI seeks to learn whether NASA approved Hansen’s outside employment, which public financial disclosures and other documents reveal to have brought him at least $1.2 million in the past four years. This money comes on top of and, more troubling from an ethics and legal perspective, is all “related to” and sometimes even expressly for his taxpayer-funded employment, all of which outside employment commenced when Hansen stepped up his “global warming” activism from his perch at NASA. – ATI press release.

I guess the attempts to undermine Hansen’s scientific claims are running out of steam; the harassment and personal attacks will continue though, they’re pretty much reflexive.

Joe Romm at Climate Progress has a more detailed look (who would have ever thought that Fox News would jump on a story like this?): Fox News Compares James Hansen’s Prizes for Truth Telling to Big Tobacco Paying a Doctor to Deny the Risks of Smoking.

4 thoughts on “NASA’s Hansen asked to account for outside activities

  1. Dr James Hansen, you stand accused of being a prize winning scientist! How do you plead?

    [Certainly a damning accusation... - Ben]

  2. For deniers the juicy bit is their news release, in which they get to spread as fact whatever speculations they’ve put into their legal brief.

    “…those outside activities have become extraordinarily lucrative – yielding on average more than a quarter of a million dollars per year in extra income between 2007 and 2010 from outside sources all relating to the work he is paid by the taxpayer to perform for NASA.”

    In the news release they don’t have to mention that $246,000 per year of this comes from 3 international awards that he received. And that because each is from an “established program of recognition”, prior permission is not necessary.

    BLUE PLANET PRIZE…………………….”an international environmental award which is considered to be Japan’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize” in 2010, $550,000

    SOPHIE PRIZE…………………….”set up in 1997 by Norwegian Jostein Gaarder, the author…” in 2010, $100,000

    DAN DAVID PRIZE…………………….”is a joint international enterprise endorsed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University….The Dan David Prize recognizes and encourages innovation and interdisciplinary research that cuts across traditional boundaries and paradigms.” in 2007, $333,000?

  3. I don’t think they realise that many scientific organizations encourage ‘public outreach’ from their staff; i.e. the scientists are expected to actively communicate their science with the general public, and blogs nave moved to the top of the list, along with more traditional methods like public lectures and articles in popular magazines. I’m don’t know if NASA has any policy on this, but I doubt that they will frown upon one of their high profile staff promoting their research (and, no, Anthony: communicating the reality of AGW is not ‘advocacy’ any more than communicating the reality of evolution)

  4. Mr. Schmidt:

    Not long ago your brother Gavin was being harrassed by T.Watt about posting on Real Climate during office hours. Gavin commented that part of his remit was public outreach. No further twaddle was heard from the T.Watt.

    John McManus

    [With Anthony it's all about the accusation, not the conclusion... - Ben]

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