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Unpublished letters: Recognizing Jim Hansen

September 6th, 2010 · No Comments

WarrenS has taken on an admirable resolution: to send a letter to the editor (LTE) (or, well, a major politician) every single day, on the critical issues of climate change and energy. This discusses his approach and here is an amusing ‘template’ to for rapid letter writing.

Now, I have always written letters and even had many published — just not one every day. WarrenS inspires me to do better.

Many newspapers state that they will reject letters that have been published elsewhere, thus I have not been blogging letters … perhaps that should change. Thus, below is part of an “unpublished letters” series publishing, with some delay, those LTEs that don’t get picked up by the editors.

28 June 2010

To the editor, The Washington Post,

This is the second time this year that NASA climatologist James Hansen has been awarded a major international prize for his work in environmental science. Dr. Hansen has just received the Blue Planet Prize, considered to be Japan’s version of the Nobel Prize. Earlier this year he was given the Sophie Prize, perhaps the world’s most prestigious award in climate science.

Both of these awards, however, seem to have gone utterly unnoticed and unremarked in pages of The Washington Post.

Attacks on climate scientists — malicious attacks repeatedly proven to be based on falsehoods and misrepresentations — have been reported, even receiving front-page coverage.

Here is a case where one of those targets for attack has received, repeatedly, significant recognition for his work. And, The Post has met that with silence.

Americans are confused about the state of climate science and scientists views on our changing world. Reporting that emphasizes conflict, that highlights attacks and controversy, and does not report on how the scientific community stands with Jim Hansen — and not Jim Inhofe — is one of the principle reasons for that confusion.

Jim Hansen’s work more than merited these awards. Washington Post readers deserve to hear about them.


A. Siegel

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Tags: climate change · environmental · journalism · unpublished letters · Washington Post