Harrison Schmitt: Yet Another of Wall Street’s “Distinguished Scientists” with Strange Views
January 31, 2012
Another member of the “Wall Street 16″ - the one-per-centers-against-climate-science discussed above, is Harrison “Jack” Schmitt - a former astronaut, who has converted to a virulent form of right wing extremism . In Dr. Schmitt’s world, those who care about the environment and their children’s future are “communists”. (see video below)
I posted this about Dr Schmitt a year ago – February 8, 2011:
If you care about your children’s future, if you believe other species have a right to exist, if you believe that clean air, clean water, and a livable planet are the minimum that we can pass along to our heirs, then you are now, and have always been, a communist.
That’s the message from New Mexico’s new chairman of Natural Resources, former Apollo Astronaut Harrison “Jack” Schmitt.
An Op-Ed page war over Schmitt’s crackpot science broke out in the Sante Fe New Mexican last week, and the climate denial chorus, including the tobacco and petroleum fueled Heartland Institute, where Schmitt is a board member, rushed to defend his extreme views. Schmitt was the topic of this week’s Climate Crock video, for his dishonest use of cherry picked statistics to claim that Arctic Sea ice extent had “returned to 1989 levels”.
Regarding Mark Boslough’s Jan. 25 My View, “Climate-change deniers ignore science,” and in subsequent responses, there was discussion of Harrison Schmitt’s statement in 2009 that Arctic sea ice had recovered to 1989 levels. Since data from the National Snow and Ice Data Center were cited, we feel it worthwhile to clarify the issue for readers.
Sea ice conditions can vary from month to month, but overall we see the continuation of a strong downward trend. You can read our 2009 season analysis at http://nsidc.org/news/press/20091005_minimumpr.html.
While 2009 Arctic sea ice extent did briefly exceed 1989 levels in April and May, it was substantially less than 1989 the rest of the year. The 2009 maximum extent, minimum extent, and annual average extent values were all well below 1989. Based on these facts, it would be incorrect to suggest that 2009 represented a recovery of Arctic sea ice to 1989 levels.
NSIDC posts the most recent data and regularly updated analyses of conditions at _http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/._
The most important measure of ice is not “extent” in any case, it’s total volume – shown here:
Dr. Schmitt has apparently melded Tea Party politics with cold war fanaticism and an ferocious anti-science bias. With more appointments like this, New Mexico will be well on the way to becoming an technological backwater of the new energy economy.
At the peak of the controversy, I posted the “Cherry Picking” video, and this local newscast from New Mexico I entitled “Tea Party on the Moon” -
Climate Denier Harrison “Jack” Schmitt, who was recently nominated to head New Mexico’s Department of Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department, has turned down the position. Schmitt had recently come under scrutiny for his statements denying the reality of man-caused climate change, and his claim that environmentalists are a part of a global communist conspiracy.
He has now turned down the position, “ just hours after a state senator called out Schmitt for refusing to comply with all the rules of a required background check” according to the Washington Post.
Could it be that Dr. Schmitt’s withdrawal is the first significant victory for a burgeoning effort to push back at the climate denying, anti-science movement?
Having watched this effort’s phenomenal growth over recent months, I’m betting the answer is yes.