And so it continues… Giving this important job to a Tea Partier. Gah.
The man chosen by Donald Trump to be the new head of Nasa is a “climate change denier” who has “made a career out of ignoring science” and might disregard scientific advice about the safety of launching astronauts into space, US senators have warned.
Giving Tea Party Congressman James Bridenstine the final say onwhether to launch a manned space mission would, it was claimed, be “terrifying”.
But Mr Bridenstine was still confirmed in the job this week in a vote that split 50-49 along party lines – in contrast to the unanimous senatorial approval granted to all 12 previous Nasa leaders.
The confirmation of Mr Trump’s nominee came despite Mr Bridenstine telling Congress in 2013 that “global temperatures stopped rising ten years ago. Global temperature changes – when they exist – correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.”
Not only did this statement rely on debunked claims of a global warming “hiatus”, it also flatly contradicted the first sentence of the Nasa website page explaining the causes of climate change: “Most climate scientists agree the main cause of the current global warming trend is human expansion of the ‘greenhouse effect’.”
During a November confirmation hearing Mr Bridenstine softened his position slightly to accept that global warming is still happening and “human activity absolutely is a contributor to the climate change that we are currently seeing.”
But the Oklahoma congressman still refused to accept that humans were the primary drivers of climate change, instead saying: “It’s gonna depend on a whole lot of factors. We’re still learning more about that every day. In some years you could say absolutely. In other years during sun cycles and other things there are other contributing factors that would maybe have more than an impact.”
Of course, this contradicts NASA itself, an organisation that has done a lot to highlight issues with climate change. Senator Bill Schatz warned:
Jim Bridenstine is a climate denier with no scientific background who has made a career out of ignoring science.
“And that is terrifying.
“This [Nasa administrator job] is about whether you are going to rely on people who actually know things, or rely on your own politics and your own ideology. When you have final launch authority you better rely on science.
“If something goes wrong people could die.”
Putting an ideological career politician in charge of such an organisation is truly unsettling.
Stay in touch! Like A Tippling Philosopher on Facebook: