by Lisa Graves
Check out Johann Hari's review of James Hansen's terrific new book, "Storms of My Grandchildren." Both describe the Bush Administration's efforts to distort public opinion about global warming and climate change through hiring flacks and hacks from big coal to suppress science and truth. You've read the dry versions of the story in news clips, but the book itself is so thoughtfully and powerfully written, it's definitely worth picking it up at your local bookstore.
Hari's take is insightful and crisp: "[N]otoriously, the second Bush administration started to appoint former employees of Big Coal to run NASA's communications. They blocked press releases warning about global warming and tried to stop Hansen from giving interviews. One of the appointees explained his job was to "make the President look good." When Hansen argued back, they cut his research budget by 20 percent. Hansen said he had a duty to speak out because the first line of NASA's mission statement is a pledge "to understand and protect our home planet"—so the Bush appointees deleted the commitment. Yes: They erased the commitment to protect planet Earth. (An independent investigation by the Inspector General later confirmed all this.) Most scientists would have backed down or given up. Hansen didn't—and from his prickly prose, you can tell why."