(CNSNews.com) - The scientist touted by CBS News' "60 Minutes" as arguably the "world's leading researcher on global warming" and spotlighted as a victim of the Bush administration's censorship on the issue, publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president and received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by Kerry's wife.
Scientist James Hansen has also admitted that he contributed to two recent Democratic presidential campaigns. Furthermore, he acted as a consultant in February to former Vice President Al Gore's slide show presentations on "global warming," which Gore presented around the country.
But Scott Pelley, the "60 Minutes" reporter who profiled Hansen and detailed his accusations of censorship on the March 19, edition of the newsmagazine, made no mention of Hansen's links to Kerry and Gore and none to the fact that Kerry's wife -- Teresa Heinz Kerry -- had been one of Hansen's benefactors.
Pelley's "Rewriting the Science" segment focused on Hansen's allegations that the Bush administration was preventing his views from becoming publicized because it did not like his conclusions. Hansen's complaints were first publicized in January.
"In my more than three decades in the government, I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public," Hansen told Pelley.
But Hansen had made similar claims of another Republican White House allegedly censoring his views. In 1989, Hansen claimed that President Bush's father - then-President George H. W. Bush - was censoring his climate research. Kerry and about a dozen other senators eventually co-signed a letter written by Gore, who was also a senator at the time, demanding an explanation for the alleged censorship.
'Apocalyptic predictions' and political alliances
Hansen has previously acknowledged that he supported the "emphasis on extreme scenarios" regarding climate change models in order to drive the public's attention to the issue, but Pelley's "60 Minutes" report made no mention of that admission.
"Not only are [Hansen's] apocalyptic predictions not coming true, but more and more countries are beginning to realize that they will destroy their economies just under Kyoto 1, to prevent about 0.1 degrees of warming," Paul Driessen, the author of Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death, told Cybercast News Service.
"Hansen's rants might still garner headlines in the Washington Post and New York Times, and raves from CBS - especially if you believe every beetle infestation, forest fire, cold snap, hot flash, dry spell, flood, frog death and malaria outbreak is due to global warming - but they're complete hogwash," Driessen said.
In endorsing Kerry's presidential bid late in the 2004 campaign, Hansen conceded that it could harm his reputation. "Dr. Hansen, 63, acknowledged that he imperiled his credibility and perhaps his job by criticizing Mr. Bush's policies in the final days of a tight presidential campaign." according to the Oct. 26, 2004, edition of the New York Times.
In a speech delivered on that same day, Hansen praised the Massachusetts senator, declaring that "John Kerry has a far better grasp than President Bush on the important issues that we face."
Three years earlier, Hansen had accepted the $250,000 Heinz Award granted by the foundation run by Kerry's wife Teresa. But the same day Hansen publicly endorsed Sen. John Kerry's presidential candidacy in 2004, the New York Times quoted Hansen as saying that the grant from the Heinz Foundation had had "no impact on my evaluation of the climate problem or on my political leanings."
But George C. Deutsch, who served as a spokesman for NASA until resigning in February, said he quickly learned that "Dr. Hansen and his supporters have a very partisan agenda and ties reaching to the top of the Democratic Party." Deutsch resigned his post earlier this year following a controversy surrounding a false resume claim that he graduated from Texas A&M University.
Deutsch also denied that the Bush administration was clamping down on scientific views that did not support its preferred conclusions.
"There is no pressure or mandate from the Bush administration or elsewhere, to alter or water down scientific data at NASA, period," Deutsch said, according to a Feb. 11, article in the Washington Post. Instead, he said, there existed a "culture war" at the federal agency.
"Anyone perceived to be a Republican, a Bush supporter or a Christian is singled out and labeled a threat to their views. I encourage anyone interested in this story to consider the other side, to consider Dr. Hansen' s true motivations and to consider the dangerous implications of only hearing out one side of the global warming debate," Deutsch added.
Hansen fired back at Deutsch's assertions in an online statement published in February, calling Deutsch's claims "nonsense."
"I can be accurately described as moderately conservative," Hansen wrote, while acknowledging that he had endorsed Kerry for president in 2004 "because he recognized global warming problem."
Hansen stated that he had great respect for former Vice President Al Gore, noting that he met with Gore in January 2006 and ended up consulting Gore on his climate change slide show presentations.
"I have great respect for Vice President Gore and his dedication to communicating the importance of global warming. He has a better understanding of the science of global warming than any politician I have met, and I urge citizens to pay attention to his presentation, which I understand will come out in the form of a movie," Hansen wrote.
Hansen wrote that his only two political contributions were to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign and to either the 2000 Al Gore presidential run or the Kerry 2004 campaign. "I don't remember which," Hansen stated.
Hansen, described by Pelley in the "60 Minutes" report as an "independent," also reportedly refused to go along the Clinton administration on the issue of "global warming." The Clinton administration "wanted to hear that warming was worse than it was," Pelley reported.
Justifying climate alarmism
In the March 2004 issue of Scientific American, Hansen appeared to be justifying the past use of climate models to scare the public into believing the "global warming" problem was urgent.
"Emphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue," Hansen wrote in 2004. "Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate-forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions."
Patrick J. Michaels, the author of several books on climate change, including the recently published "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming," declared that Hansen has "advocated the use of exaggeration and propaganda as political tools in the debate over global warming."
Michaels, who leveled his charges in a Feb. 21 commentary entitled "Hansen's Hot Hype," wrote that "Hansen thought the public should be subjected to nightmare scenarios regardless of the scientific likelihood of catastrophe, simply in order to gain people's attention."
Michaels, who believes claims of catastrophic, human-caused "global warming" are scientifically unfounded, is a climatologist at the University of Virginia and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute.
Michaels has previously credited Hansen with taking a more moderate stance toward climate change. "The irony is that, in recent years, Hansen's positions on global warming have come increasingly in line with those of the administration he claims is censoring him," Michaels said.
Several attempts to contact Hansen for comment were not returned. Telephone calls to Bill Owens and Catherine Herrick, the two CBS News employees who produced Pelley's "60 Minutes" segment, were referred to the network media affairs office.
"60 Minutes" spokesman Kevin Tedesco defended the segment, telling Cybercast News Service that "it was a fair and accurate report."
A call to reporter Scott Pelley was not returned by press time.
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