This is an interesting anomaly:
Some prominent voices at NASA are fed up with the agency’s activist stance toward climate change.
The following letter asking the agency to move away from climate models and to limit its stance to what can be empirically proven, was sent by 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts.
The letter criticizes the Goddard Institute For Space Studies especially, where director Jim Hansen and climatologist Gavin Schmidt have been outspoken advocates for action.
“The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASAâ€™s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.”
“We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.”
“We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject.”
It’s true there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding abrupt and runaway climate change scenarios. That’s true almost by definition, since they represent major deviations from the functioning of the climate as we know it and we have no ability to conduct experiments on a planetary scale. It also seems fair to say that the possibility of abrupt and runaway climate change scenarios cannot be entirely excluded, if the world continues to emit vast amounts of greenhouse gas pollution.
While they are clearly objecting to some of the worst-case scenarios raised by James Hansen and others, I don’t think the people who signed this letter are likely to be of the view that climate change isn’t a problem at all. Unfortunately, it’s certain that this letter will circulate for years as a tool used by climate change delayers to argue that we should do nothing about the problem of accumulating CO2.