WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Two senators are asking NASA whether it is muzzling one of its top climate scientists because of his views on global warming.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., wrote to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's chief administrator Michael D. Griffin about Jim Hansen, the chief of Goddard Space Flight Center's Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Hansen recently concluded that 2005 was the warmest year on record, and discussed the effect that had on the rate and volume of atmospheric gases.
However, the New York Times has reported that NASA official have tried to prevent Hansen from fully conveying his policy views to Congress and the public.
"We believe scientists should be free to discuss both the results and implications of their research with the scientific community, policy-makers, and the American public, and to do so in a manner fully reflective of the analysis and conclusions resulting from their work," the senators wrote.
"If true, this type of censorship would be an impediment of one of the most basic elements of a successful government scientific agency: informing the American public," the letter said.
The senators have asked for a detailed explanation of NASA's policies on information sharing between government scientists and policy makers and the public.
The Bush administration acknowledged in 2002 that global warming was occurring, but it still maintains there are many uncertainties about the trend for future warming and its potential adverse and beneficial effects.