The fight over climate science is about to cross the Atlantic with a U.S. researcher poised to sue NASA, demanding the release of the same kind of information that landed a leading British center in hot water over charges that it skewed its data.
Christopher C. Horner, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said NASA has refused for two years to provide information under the Freedom of Information Act that would show how the agency has shaped its climate data and explain why the agency has repeatedly had to correct its data dating as far back as the 1930s.
“I assume that what is there is highly damaging,” Mr. Horner said. “These guys are quite clearly bound and determined not to reveal their internal discussions about this.”
The numbers matter. Under pressure in 2007, NASA recalculated its data and found that 1934, not 1998, was the hottest year in its records for the contiguous 48 states. NASA later changed its data again, and now 1998 and 2006 are tied for the hottest years, with 1934 listed as slightly cooler.
Mr. Horner, a noted skeptic of global warming and author of “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism,” wants a look at the data and the discussions that went into those changes. He said he’s given the agency until the end of the year to comply or else he’ll sue to compel the information’s release.
Mark Hess, public affairs director for the Goddard Space Flight Center, which runs the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) laboratory, said officials are working on Mr. Horner’s request, though he couldn’t say why they have taken so long.
“We’re collecting the information and will respond with all the responsive relevant information to all of his requests,” Mr. Hess said. “It’s just a process you have to go through where you have to collect data that’s responsive.”
Er, “collect”? More like massage the data.