Kitty's Reviews > Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Truth of Global Warming

Censoring Science by Mark Bowen
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's review
Jul 23, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: climate-change, science-and-science-related, library-books
Recommended for: everyone
Read in July, 2008

If we don’t do something now to stop the ever increasing amounts of CO2 going into (and staying for hundreds of years) the atmosphere, then pretty much nothing else we do now will matter in a hundred years. We will be the generation of people who still had a chance to make a difference but were too busy wrangling about money – yes, it boils down to money – that we just couldn’t rise to what the occasion demanded of us.

This is the message of [I]Censoring Science[/I], the message Jim Hansen wants the American people and the rest of the world to clearly understand. He feels the responsibility to give us the information we need for understanding weighing heavily on him and he [I]is[/I] rising to the occasion. In the last chapter of Censoring Science, he is quoted from an NPR interview, one which the NASA administration tried to prevent, giving his motivation:
“In thinking about whether I was going to speak up or not, what really brought me to this conclusion was, I don’t want, in the future, my grandchildren to say, ‘Opa understood what was going to happen, but he didn’t make it clear.’ And so I’m trying to make it clear.”

Dr. James Hansen is “almost universally regarded as the preeminent climate scientist of our time,” says Mark Bowen in Chapter 1. Bowen tells a painful story of the secrecy and subterfuge used by the Bush administration to censor the information that Dr. Hansen and other scientists at NASA and NOAA attempted to release to the American public about climate change. President Bush’s appointees carried out White House orders to suppress information completely or change the wording to soften the implications of any information relating to climate change. They (the appointees) developed a system of monitoring scientists’ contact with the press and denying interviews to news organizations they felt were too left wing, or just sitting on the requests for interviews long enough that the requests were withdrawn.

There are points in the book where things get a little confusing – lots of names and organizational acronyms being bandied about. But that is a minor flaw. If this book had only told the story of the suppression of scientists, it wouldn’t be as important as it is. But Bowen also includes much of the information that was suppressed by the administration, information that Dr. Hansen wants everyone to know, information that we need to know if we are going to make informed decisions about our future on this planet. After reading this book, I think I understand a bit better what’s going on.

This book will help you think seriously about what you’re doing to help and what our country should be doing. Dr. Hansen makes recommendations for the changes we should make to our CO2 emission levels, our energy usage as a whole and longer term strategies. He bases his recommendations strictly on the information he’s gotten from his scientific studies and global climate models he created. Hopefully the next administration will be listening to those recommendations.

If you’ve ever seen Dr. Hansen on TV and wondered why he looked grim and very worried, this book explains it.

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