Houston We Have a Problem: NASA’s Magnificent Record Tainted by its Climate Activists

By Dr. John Happs

The question must be asked: Why does an organisation with huge resources, impressive achievements and some of the best scientists available allow its reputation to be sullied by a handful of activists intent on spreading misinformation about catastrophic anthropogenic global warming?

On the 21st July, 1969 an estimated 500 million people from around the world watched Neil Armstrong become the first person to walk on the Moon. Armstrong was followed to the lunar surface by Buzz Aldrin whilst Michael Collins monitored their movements from lunar orbit.

NASA: Image in public domain

There have been many other impressive milestones reached by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) since it was established by the United States Government on July 29th, 1958.

Those milestones have included the Pioneer satellite launches, the first weather satellite (TIROS1), NASA’s first manned spacecraft (with John Glenn) to orbit the Earth, the launch of the Telstar 1 satellite that relayed telephone and television signals to Earth, the Gemini missions, leading to the Apollo program, the Skylab space station launched in May 1973 and the Hubble Space Telescope launched in 1990.

Following three Mars landings by Viking spacecraft, more ambitious landings by the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission resulted in two vehicles Spirit and Opportunity landing on Mars in 2003 to explore the planet more closely.

NASA’s work has been ground-breaking and innovative. There is no doubt that NASA will continue to push the boundaries of knowledge about our neighbouring planets, the wider solar system and the universe.

Another question is: Why does the NASA administration allow those activists to ignore the more than 20 year halt to global warming whilst continuing to promote the prospects of an overheated planet accompanied by more extreme weather events?

It could be argued that NASA’s Climate Alarmist in Chief (now retired) was Dr. James Hansen who since the 1980’s claimed, albeit with no empirical evidence, that anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are leading to catastrophic global warming.

NASA personnel know that James Hansen has a record of environmental activism directed against the hydrocarbon fuel industry. Investigative journalist Donna Laframboise described Hansen thus:

Hansen is a full-blown activist. Not the peaceful, law-abiding kind, but the sort who feels the need to repeatedly break the law and get himself arrested.”


Laframboise outlined the lengths that Hansen went to in order to promote his global warming alarmism:


In 2006, Hansen called climate change “A moral issue on a par with slavery.”

With unwarranted hyperbole, Hansen described coal trains as “death trains” saying they are:

“No less gruesome than if they were boxcars headed to crematoria, loaded with uncountable irreplaceable species.”


Hansen stepped up his alarmist nonsense, suggesting Nuremberg-style trials for those scientists who challenged him about the causes and consequences of (imaginary) global warming.

James Hansen in 2009. Image in public domain

In September 2010 Hansen was arrested outside the White House whilst protesting against coal mining. In fact Hansen has been arrested on at least 4 occasions whilst demonstrating against the use of hydrocarbon fuels.


In September 2011 Hansen was arrested outside the White House, demonstrating against the 8 billion USD, 1,900 km Keystone XL pipeline designed to move over 800,000 barrels of oil each day from Alberta to Nebraska and on to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Bing stock photos

In 1986 Hansen was hopelessly wrong when he predicted that:

Within 15 years global temperatures will rise to a level which hasn’t existed on earth for 100,000 years.”


In 1988, journalist Terence Corcoran interviewed Hansen who brazenly and incorrectly predicted imminent dramatic rising global temperatures, melting ice caps and rapidly rising sea level. He attributed such calamities to our trivial emissions of carbon dioxide.


Dr. Martin Hoerling from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) referred to Hansen’s alarmism as “patently false” and “policy more than it is science” with Hansen ignoring the many natural forces that influence climate change.


Physicist Dr. Lubos Motl opined:

Hansen is not a scientist. He is a fanatically obsessed activist who lost his ability to look at the world objectively decades ago.”


Hansen was described by his former supervisor at NASA, Dr. John Theon, as an “activist” and an embarrassment. At the 2009 ICCC Conference Theon said:

“I worked as the head of the NASA Weather and Climate Program which included up to 300 scientists in NASA, in academia, and in the private sector… Jim Hansen had… some very powerful political friends. Al Gore was a Senator… and subsequently became Vice President of the US. Now there isn’t too much a NASA person can do when he’s up against that kind of a challenge… In the early ’90’s I realized the whole thing was a great big fraud… Recent developments have convinced me that it is my duty to speak out, and to help educate the public about what we’re going to get into if we don’t stop this nonsense.”


It appears that Hansen used his position as director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) to attempt to use Al Gore’s political directive and make catastrophic anthropogenic global warming NASA’s official position. Funding was forthcoming and other NASA scientists jumped on board the global warming gravy train.

When Hansen retired in 2013, Dr. Gavin Schmidt replaced him as Director of GISS and he quickly revealed his bias and environmental goals, saying:

We have to have a price on carbon because right now it’s still free to put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. So if you put a price on carbon that is commensurate with the damage that carbon-dioxide emissions cause, then people will be smarter.”


Bing stock photos

People are already smart enough to know that carbon dioxide has never driven global warming and that it does much good and no harm.

Of course newspapers that promote climate alarmism, such as The Guardian, hang on to every word that climate alarmists such as Schmidt utter, giving us silly headlines such as:

NASA: Earth is warming at a pace unprecedented in 1,000 years.”

And: “NASA said that records of temperature that go back far further, taken via analysis of ice cores and sediments, suggest that the warming of recent decades is out of step with any period over the past millennium.”

Presumably, when The Guardian refers to NASA they really mean Dr. Gavin Schmidt.

Oliver Milman went on to quote Schmidt saying:

In the last 30 years we’ve really moved into exceptional territory. It’s unprecedented in 1,000 years. There’s no period that has the trend seen in the 20th century in terms of the inclination of temperatures.”


I’m left wondering what happened to the Medieval Warm Period and why hasn’t Gavin looked further back to the Roman Warm Period and the Minoan Warm Period?

Schmidt (a climate modeller) has been criticised by a number of scientists for misrepresenting aspects of climate science. In 2009 atmospheric scientist Dr. Hendrik Tennekes said he was appalled by Schmidt’s lack of knowledge about climate science, saying:

Back to graduate school Gavin.”


Climate scientist Dr. Roger Pielke also criticised Schmidt for:

Erroneously communicating the reality of how the climate system is actually behaving.”


Pielke added:

I think we can get past the lie – and it was a lie – that these activist scientists, in the words of RealClimate.org’s Gavin Schmidt, are not taking a political stand.”


Astrophysicist Dr. Nir Shaviv commented on Schmidt’s real goal as reflected on his website:

The aim of [Schmidt’s] RealClimate.org is not to engage a sincere scientific debate. Their aim is to post a reply full of a straw men so their supporters can claim that your point has been refuted by real scientists at RealClimate.org.”


Tony Heller has illustrated how NASA temperature data appear to have been systematically “massaged” since 2000. He pointed out that:

Climate science depends on the accuracy of this data, which is neither accurate nor legitimate. Global warming is the biggest science scam in history.”

Heller added:

There was plenty of data tampering to the temperature record prior to the year 2000, but since the year 2000 the tampering has become very systematic and cynical. Gavin Schmidt at NASA has more than doubled global warming by altering his own temperature data since 2000.”

The NASA temperature trend and uncontaminated satellite data trends are shown here:



Heller’s findings can be located at:


Dr. Duane Thresher worked for a number of years at NASA (GISS) and described the culture there as being self-serving, with mis-management and incompetence. He said:

“NASA GISS is a monument to bad science that truly should be torn down.”


NASA astronaut Walter Cunningham has, on several occasions, attempted to bring about reform to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He suggested that Dr. James Hansen and Dr. Gavin Schmidt were activists and had used NASA’s name to present politicized views of climate science.

The ongoing activism by some personnel at GISS was well known by other NASA employees who lodged formal complaints once they had retired from the organisation. A copy of one joint letter sent to the NASA administration from former NASA scientists, astronauts and engineers is here:

March 28, 2012

The Honorable Charles Bolden, Jr.

NASA Administrator; NASA Headquarters

Washington, D.C. 20546-0001

Dear Charlie,

We, the undersigned, respectfully request that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites. 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, especially when considering thousands of years of empirical data. With hundreds of well-known climate scientists and tens of thousands of other scientists publicly declaring their disbelief in the catastrophic forecasts, coming particularly from the GISS leadership, it is clear that the science is NOT settled.

The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.

As former NASA employees, we feel that NASA’s advocacy of an extreme position, prior to a thorough study of the possible overwhelming impact of natural climate drivers is inappropriate.

We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject. At risk is damage to the exemplary reputation of NASA, NASA’s current or former scientists and employees, and even the reputation of science itself.

For additional information regarding the science behind our concern, we recommend that you contact Harrison Schmitt or Walter Cunningham, or others they can recommend to you.

Thank you for considering this request.

Sincerely, (Attached signatures)

CC: Mr. John Grunsfeld, Associate Administrator for Science

CC: Ass Mr. Chris Scolese, Director, Goddard Space Flight Center

Ref: Letter to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, dated 3-26-12, regarding a request for NASA to refrain from making unsubstantiated claims that human produced CO2 is having a catastrophic impact on climate change.

It’s worth looking at the list of signatories. This can be found at:


It seems there are other climate activists in the NASA organisation posting misinformation on NASA’s climate change website. Unfortunately, this is where so many teachers would go for information about the climate, trusting that any material posted on a NASA website would be scientifically valid, There is little doubt they are being misled. NASA’s climate website can be found here and the reader can decide if the material is misleading or not.


Erroneous and misleading statements about climate change are numerous and appear to be deliberately provided for trusting readers of the website. Such statements include:

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping (greenhouse) gas.”


Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities, and most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.”


The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.”

The NASA website blatantly promotes the political/ideological Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as an authority on climate science, saying:

Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)

My emails and stamped mail objections, sent to the NASA administration, were ignored and other complainants have experienced similar rebuffs.

Equally concerned about the deceptive information on the NASA website, the Competitive Enterprise Institute directed its lawyers to write to Renee Wynn, NASA’s Chief Information Officer, asking that the blatantly false claim that “97% of climate scientists agree that humans are responsible for global warming” be removed from NASA’s website:


July 9, 2019

Renee Wynn
NASA Chief Information Officer

300 E. Street SW, Suite 5R30

Washington, DC 20546
(202) 358-0001

Via Email: Renee.p.Wynn@nasa.gov

Re: Information Quality Act Correction Request Regarding NASA’s Claim that 97 Percent of Scientists Agree on Anthropogenic Global Warming

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) submits this request for correction under the Information Quality Act (IQA), 114 Stat. 2763, section 515, as implemented through National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidelines. These guidelines were expanded by OMB in a memorandum issued on April 24, 2019.1

The information we seek to have corrected is the claim, on NASA’s website, that 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are responsible for global warming.

We expect a response to this request for correction (RFC) within 120 days. Under OMB’s new requirements, “agencies will not take more than 120 days to respond to an RFC without the concurrence of the party that requested the request for correction.” In addition, the new OMB guidelines require that, “The agency response should contain a point-by-point response to any data quality arguments contained in the RFC and should refer to a peer review that directly considered the issue being raised, if available.” Furthermore, “agencies should share draft responses to RFCs and appeals with OMB prior to release to the requestor for assessment of compliance with the above norms.” Thus, responses to correction requests now need to be reviewed in advance by OMB sufficiently in advance of the 120-day deadline.

We ask NASA to determine that the claim that “ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities” violates the IQA. As is shown below, that claim is not objective; it is neither accurate nor reliable nor unbiased. This claim appears on the NASA web page titled “Climate Change: How Do We Know?”

A copy of the complete letter to NASA, thoroughly rebutting the 97% nonsense, can be found here:


Even if the NASA climate website is taken down or revised in the near future, a great deal of damage has already been done. Members of the public, including many trusting teachers, devoid of any knowledge about climate science have been deliberately fed alarmist misinformation by environmental activists at NASA.

This must be stopped!

Dr. John Happs M.Sc.1st Class; D.Phil. John has an academic background in the geosciences with special interests in climate, and paleoclimate. He has been a science educator at several universities in Australia and overseas and was President of the Western Australian Skeptics for 25 years.

2 thoughts on “Houston We Have a Problem: NASA’s Magnificent Record Tainted by its Climate Activists”

  1. Perhaps someone ought to ask NASA’s head Mr Bridenstine and the board of NASA whether they believe that the 3.65% of the four hundredths of one percent of CO2 influences atmospheric temperature. They should also ask NASA’s CFO whether this is possible. And the CFO should ask NASA’s financiers whether this is possible, and not just another international financial scam.

    It is now commonplace for companies to require signatures at every stage of a process or project. Where does NASA’s ‘buck’ stop?

  2. Dr John,
    Thanks for spending time at our Probus meeting today, and for patiently answering our questions.
    I purchased a copy of your book “Climate Change – A Politicised Storm in a Teacup”, brought it home and read it.
    Two things then immediately stood out to me. The first was your intensively comprehensive use of references to back up what you were postulating, or should I say what you were airing, as most of it consisted of the works of other reputable academics in your field. The second was that, much to my surprise and delight, I realised that you had in fact covered all of the salient facts contained in your book at the talk that you gave us. Well done sir, you must be a very experienced lecturer.
    On another note I found your conclusions to be unassailably accurate, and your portrayal of the UN offshoot the IPCC to be quite alarming. For many years I have been wondering who was behind such ridiculous ideas such as Climate Change and Political Correctness, both of which are open-ended systems with no real targets other than some form of world domination by non-democratically elected minority groups. The Afro-Asian dominated UN is now firmly in my sight as just such an organisation, so thank you for the information. ‘Know thine enemy’ is a great maxim to follow in my opinion. It now only remains to work out how to expose or destroy it, a task I feel is well beyond my capabilities. But I can but spread the word through my various networks of friends and colleagues, in the hope that someone else can achieve this aim.
    Tony Green
    PS I am an ex-NASA employee (Apollo Project 7 thru 17 from 1968 to 1975)

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