harrison schmitt

Thu, 2011-06-30 11:12Michael Fisher
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Denial-a-Palooza: Where Are All the Scientists That Deniers Love To Talk About?

Where are all the scientists?

Wake up and smell the fossil fuel funding. That’s right, it’s that time of year again: the Heartland Institute is hosting its Sixth (annual?*) International Conference on Climate Change over the next two days in Washington D.C.

DeSmogBlog already revealed some of the oily sponsors behind the event. Now it’s time to take a look at the so-called scientists Heartland has rounded up to accomplish this year’s theme of “Restoring the Scientific Method.”   

Thu, 2011-02-10 19:57Richard Littlemore
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Harrison Schmitt Bails on New Mexico Energy Post

Ex-astronaut and current climate change denier Harrison Schmitt has withdrawn as the potential New Mexican cabinet secretary for the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department.

Schmitt, whose climate inaccuracies (and his refusal to correct obvious errors) have landed him in a pack of trouble of late, may have been telling the truth about his reasons for withdrawing. Or not.

Either way, Schmitt and his Heartland Institute fellow travellers are likely to think twice before again challenging someone with the credibility of Sandia National Laboratories physicist Dr. Mark Boslough, the scientist who revealed Schmitt’s most egregious recent false statement about climate change.

Wed, 2011-02-09 16:13Richard Littlemore
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"ArticGate" - When is a Mistake a Lie?

What did Harrison Schmitt Know? And When?

In the ongoing controversy over whether former astronaut and New Mexico Senator Harrison Schmitt intentionally misled NASA with his 2009 white paper on climate change, we come to the age old questions: What did Schmitt know? And when did he know it?

Schmitt says in that paper that “Artic (sic) sea ice has returned to 1989 levels of coverage.” When Dr. Mark Boslough, a physicist and computational modeler at Sandia National Laboratories brought to Schmitt’s attention that this was incorrect, Schmitt failed to correct it. Well, not everyone likes to admit making a mistake.

But was it a mistake?

Tue, 2011-02-08 09:42Richard Littlemore
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"ArticGate" - NSIDC Confirms Schmitt, Heartland Misrepresented Data

Two scientists from the National Snow and Ice Data Center have written to the Santa Fe New Mexican to confirm that the wanna-be head of the New Mexico Department of Energy Minerals and Natural Resources was pontedly inaccurate when he claimed in a NASA white paper that “Artic [sic] sea ice has returned to 1989 levels of coverage.”

Walt Meier and Mark Serreze, who help manage and update the daily satellite measurements of Arctic ice, point out (with patience that Schmitt hardly deserves) that there was, indeed, a moment in 2009 when sea ice extent was greater than it had been - in the same week - in 1989, but that this was in no way a fair, accurate or helpful reflection of the state of ice in the Arctic, then or since. ( The graph at left shows the fully-year comparison of 2009 and 1989 and if you click on the NSIDC graphic for yesterday, you will see that extent continues to be at its lowest level in recorded history.)

Unlike the former astronaut and New Mexican Senator Schmitt, Meier and Serreze are in no way political players in this game. You would be hard-pressed to find their names on anything other than the dozens of excellent scientific papers emanating from the NSIDC. So their measured correction is itself extraordinary.

The bottom line is that Schmitt offered advice to NASA on the basis of an unrepresentative high point in ice extent. And he either picked that high point accidentally - in which case he has clearly lost any semblance of scientific rigour and should be denied any position that demands scientific expertise - or he picked it on purpose - in which case he should be denounced as a scoundrel and dismissed from candidacy for any public position.

Mon, 2011-02-07 08:24Richard Littlemore
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"ArticGate" - Heartland Backs Schmitt in Climate Misinformation

Incompetent or Dishonest - Either Way They’re Wrong

The former astronaut and proud climate change denier Harrison Schmitt is not alone in making the false claim that “Artic [sic] sea ice has returned to 1989 levels of coverage.” He has been bolstered  by the smokey hacks at the Heartland Institute, and especially by the brittle letter writer and Heartland head honcho, Joseph Bast.

If Schmitt’s false statement had stood on its own (or if he had moved to correct it when it was pointed out), you could reasonably have dismissed it as an error made in good faith.  But when Bast stooped to the flagrant manipulation necessary to argue that Schmitt’s assertion could have some basis in fact, well, you have to wonder - especially when there is already an established relationship between Schmitt and Heartland (check the name on the podium in the Schmitt denier video).

It’s awkward always to trace climate denial back to the money trail. Some people - maybe even Schmitt - deny climate science out of ideological blindness, not greedy self-interest. But it’s interesting that Heartland’s two favourite projects are denying the science of climate change and arguing that tobacco is really not all that bad for you. It’s relevant, too, that before they started hiding their funding sources, Heartland used to acknowledge the generous support of the tobacco and oil industries in propping up the “think” tank’s operations.

Mon, 2011-02-07 06:13Chris Mooney
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Criticism Intensifies of New Mexico’s Climate Denying Energy Secretary, Harrison Schmitt

harrison schmitt, astronaut

Harrison Schmitt has had an impressive and storied career: Apollo astronaut and moonwalker, U.S. Senator,  Ph.D. geologist. Since his recent appointment to head the New Mexico Department of Energy, Minerals, and Natural Resources, however, much attention is being focused on Schmitt’s highly unconventional views about climate change.

It’s not just that Republican Governor Susana Martinez’s new pick for the state’s top energy and environment role is a climate denier. It’s the highly politicized nature of his views and past statements–and just how wrong he is about technical matters in climate science–that’s particular stunning.

Fri, 2009-07-10 21:03Leslie Berliant
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Global Warming Deniers Part Ways: Australian Institute of Public Affairs Says Goodbye to Jennifer Marohasy

The Center for Media and Democracy PR Watch reports that an Australian corporate funded think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) is not renewing the contract for Jennifer Marohasy, one of its Senior Fellows and a global warming skeptic.

The news is actually somewhat surprising. IPA is a right-wing, corporate funded think tank with close ties to the Liberal Party of Australia (which is actually on the political right). Its Executive Director John Roskam is a former Howard government staffer and one of the organization’s key positions is to refute the science on issues such as climate change. A position that Marohasy promoted with vigor during her six-year tenure at IPA, though not all of her attempts to spread global warming denial came to fruition.

“I had great hopes for the planned collaboration between the IPA and University of Queensland on evidence-based environmentalism but the University proved too timid and conservative – at least for me.” - JenniferMarohasy.com

Marohasy has also left her position as Executive at the Orwellian named Australian Environment Foundation (AEF), which was established to help protect timber interests in Australia and founded by the IPA. The former Executive Director of the IPA described the AEF as “pro-biotechnology, pro-nuclear power, pro-modern farming, pro-economic growth, pro-business and pro-environment.” That last pro might be questionable.

Tue, 2009-02-17 20:15Mitchell Anderson
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Former Astronaut in Bed with Big Oil?

Don’t be too surprised that former Apollo astronaut Harrison Schmitt publicly denounced the entire scientific community around climate science.

Schmitt provided Fox News another climate denier moment this week when he said, “I don’t think the human effect [of climate change] is significant compared to the natural effect.” Schmitt is also speaking at a climate denier conference next month sponsored by none other than the notorious Heartland Institute.

Desmog Blog readers will recall the hilariously unethical stunt pulled by the Heartland Institute last year when they produced a list of 500 scientists who apparently disputed climate change. The problem was that most of these individuals no idea that their reputations were being dragged through the mud by an astroturf group that has so far received almost $800,000 from Exxon.

Enter Harrison Schmitt. Most media coverage of this story has rather lazily reported Schmitt only as a former astronaut and one of the last people to walk on the moon. A lot has happened since 1972. It turns out that Schmitt was the Chairman and President of the Annapolis Center For Science-Based Public Policy between 1994 and 1998, and remains “Chairman Emeritus”.

This may be a lucrative gig given that the Annapolis Centre has received more than $860,000 in funding from ExxonMobil since 1998. But what does money have to do with anything?

Fri, 2006-08-25 11:30Kevin Grandia
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NASA big wig a climate change skeptic?

Chris Mooney, well-known author of The Republican War on Science, has a post today that may in part explain NASA's recent culling of climate change  research programs.
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