Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Retired NASA Scientists Enter Climate Change Fray

A group of retirees from NASA who once put a man on the moon and call their group The Right Climate Stuff “shouldn’t be taken seriously” according to an article in The Guardian, a British newspaper.

Dave Fehling / StateImpact

Dr. Harold Doiron worked on NASA's Apollo project

One of the most vocal of the bunch, Harold Doiron, was taunted at a debate held at the National Press Club in Washington DC this past January.

“Do you believe in global warming? Do you believe there’s global warming,” asked moderator Blanquita Cullum. This came after other panelists assured the audience that virtually all peer-reviewed scientific studies support that humans cause climate change and that to argue otherwise “is like debating whether cigarettes cause cancer.”

The Retiree from Pearland

At the Press Club debate, Doiron (prounounced dwahr-on) spoke in calm tones that made him sound every bit the retiree from suburban Houston that he is.

“It is a volunteer group. I think we’re very objective. We don’t belong to any special interest group.” Dorion added, “Our conclusion is humans are not (causing) a significant warming of this planet.” (Watch the full discussion here)

Back home in Pearland, not far from Johnson Space Center where he once worked, Doiron told StateImpact why he and 20 of his other colleagues decided to get involved in the highly political, highly contentious climate change issue.

“Well, the thing that really pushed me over the edge was the public statements of NASA’s chief climate scientist Dr. James Hansen,” Doiron said. Hansen has been outspoken on climate change, most recently voicing opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline because he said its heavy crude oil  could increase greenhouse gases.

The Lunar Module and Climate Change

Doiron said he looked at the climate models that such fears are based on and felt they couldn’t be believed. After all, he said at NASA he’d used computer models to develop the landing gear for the lunar module and knows a thing or two about them.

Dave Fehling / StateImpact

Dr. Willie Soon at a climate change debate at the University of Houston Law Center. Dr. John Nielson-Gammon (back to camera) awaits his turn. Listen to them in our Radio Story.

“So we validated the model before we used it for any design decisions. And the current climate models are not validated,” Doiron said. “I don’t think we’re using anything close to a rational process to deal with this concern about global warming.  The politicans, at least those in leadership, are acting like it’s a proven thing, that (carbon dioxide) is causing global warming, but it’s not been scientifically proved.”

Doiron is headed back to Washington. On Friday he’s slated to be on a panel to talk about “The Right Climate Stuff” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).


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