To the long list of right-wing, knuckle-dragging know nothings who dare question so-called "global warming," environmentalists now can add six Apollo astronauts, two rocket men who flew aboard Skylab, and a pair of former directors of the Johnson Space Center (JSC).
These veterans of America's space program are among the 49 retired NASA employees who recently asked the space agency to halt what they consider its unscientific advocacy of climate alarmism.
In a letter to NASA administrator Charles Bolden Jr., these rocket scientists, space explorers, and other men and women of reason requested, "NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites."
They added: "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," the March 28 letter continued.
"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," the document concluded. "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."
The letter's signatories share at least 1,168 years of combined service to NASA. They include Gerald C. Griffin and Christopher C. Kraft, both of whom ran the JSC; former Space Shuttle Program Director Leroy Day, Skylab astronauts Ed Gibson and Joseph Kerwin, and Apollo astronauts Phillip K. Chapman, Walter Cunningham, Charles Duke, Richard Gordon (also a Gemini veteran), Harrison Schmitt, and Al Worden.
Among these brave men, Duke and Schmitt walked on the moon, and Gordon and Worden flew there without landing.
These serious names should retire the notion that skeptics of so-called "global warming" are either mindless mouth-breathers or corporate shills who challenge "settled" climate science so that Big Business may molest Mother Earth.
Until this year's AWOL winter in America (and a simultaneous deep freeze in much of Europe), satellites have observed global temperatures remaining below levels measured in 2000. Even if the last 11 years of cooling mask a deeper warming, skeptics like these NASA alumni point to natural — rather than man-made — causes for such phenomena.
"I think the climate has been changing for billions of years," Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon, told London's Daily Telegraph. "If it's warming now, it may cool off later. I'm not in favor of just taking short-term isolated situations and depleting our resources to keep our climate just the way it is today. I'm not necessarily of the school that we (humans) are causing it all. I think the world is causing it."
Finally, even if temperatures are rising dangerously, and if humans can do something about it, surely we can improve upon the typically high-cost, low-benefit approach of big government. The European Union is spending $250 billion through 2020 to reduce carbon dioxide 20 percent below 1990 levels. By 2100, this is expected to reduce temperatures by a whopping 0.09 degrees Fahrenheit. This is like renting an 18-wheel truck to ship an egg from San Diego to Boston.
The chorus of skeptics who scoff at such "solutions" now has expanded by nearly 50 voices. They deserve respect and attention. The pro-warming crowd will find it difficult to dismiss as flat-Earthers these patriots who have orbited this planet, as well as those who sent them to outer space and brought them safely home.
Deroy Murdock is a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University. E-mail him at deroy.Murdock@gmail.com.