Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
April 13 2012 12:16 PM

Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA

I've been getting lots of email and other notes about a group of 49 people -- including some ex-astronauts -- who have written a public letter to NASA complaining about the space agency's stance that global warming exists and is caused by humans.

You can guess how I feel about it. But to be clear: it's more denialist spin, nonsense, and noise. You can read the original leter here, and then I strongly suggest reading Shawn Otto's devastating deconstruction of it. You can also read the response to this letter by NASA's Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalatim if you'd like.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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I'll note that it doesn't matter that former astronauts signed this propaganda letter -- I've written about Apollo 17's Harrison Schmitt and his climate change denialism before -- but I note it does matter that of the 49 signatories on that letter, not one is an actual working climate scientist. That should give you pause. I'll also note that 49 former NASA employees is a tiny, tiny fraction of the total. It's not hard to find statistical outliers in a group that big. I knew a creationist who worked for NASA!

But really, my very favorite thing about this is the group behind the letter: a non-profit called Plants Need CO2, which, if you can believe it, actively advocates that more carbon dioxide is good for us.

Yes, once you're done comically rubbing your eyes with your fists you can read that again. They think more CO2 is a good thing. The sheer gall of this idea is almost beyond imagining; it reminds me very strongly of the tobacco industry's propaganda saying that smoking is good for you.

As for why this argument is weapons-grade nonsense, watch this Climate Crock video and see just how ridiculous it is:


It's fascinating to see the denial noise machine move from trying to (misleadingly) sow doubt on the cause of global warming to actually advocating proactively for more carbon dioxide. It's literally breath-takingly ludicrous.

As I've said before, here are the facts about carbon dioxide global warming:

The Earth is warming up. The rate of warming has increased in the past century or so. This corresponds to the time of the Industrial Revolution, when we started dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases warm the planet (hence the name) -- if they didn't we'd have an average temperature below the freezing point of water. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas which is dumped into the atmosphere by humans to the tune of 30 billion tons per year, 100 times the amount from volcanoes. And finally, approximately 97% of climatologists who actually study climate agree that global warming is real, and caused by humans.

All the spin by the noise machine is just that. Spin. And remember, U.S. elections are coming up in November. The amount of nonsense in the media from global warming denialists will only increase during this time. How you vote will have an actual, physical impact on the future of not just your town, your state, and your country. It will impact the entire planet. Your vote counts. Make it a good one.



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