ThinkProgress

Trump names climate science denier to run NASA

In a Friday night news dump, the White House announced that President Donald Trump Plans to nominate Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), a climate science denier to be administrator of NASA.

Bridenstine is a politician without any scientific credentials, unlike previous NASA chiefs, and for that reason his nomination has already been criticized by both Florida’s senators Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D), Politico reports. Rubio said, “I just think [his nomination] could be devastating for the space program.”

NASA scientists have led the way in documenting the scientific reality of climate change. But in 2013, Bridenstine not only gave a speech on the House floor filled with standard denier talking points, he actually ended his remarks with a demand that President Obama apologize for funding research into climate science.

“Mr. Speaker, global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago,” claimed Bridenstine, “Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with Sun output and ocean cycles.”

Although Bridenstine serves on the House science committee, those remarks were in contradiction to well-established science at the time–and indeed to NASA’s own research. Back in 2010, a NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) science brief summarizing recent research, explains, “A study by GISS  climate scientists recently published in the journal Science shows that atmospheric CO2 operates as a thermostat to control the temperature of Earth.”

That science brief concluded, “There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”

Bridenstine’s denial has not diminished. Indeed, he recently tweeted a Breitbart endorsement of his proposed energy legislation.

Many experts have been worried Trump–a climate science denier who has appointed many deniers to top Administration posts–would pick a denier to run NASA.

Indeed, right after the election, Dr. Gavin Schmidt, the head of NASA GISS, tweeted:

So warming didn’t stop in 2003, and, in fact, 2016 did become the hottest year on record. Now 2017 is on track to be the hottest year on record not boosted by an El Niño.

The truth is that while “planetary warming does not care about the election,” humanity very much cares that the Trump Administration is doing everything it can to undermine climate science and climate action. Bridenstine’s nomination deserves widespread opposition.

UPDATE:  John Holdren–an environmental scientist who served as Obama Science advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for 8 years–emails ThinkProgress, “Bridenstine’s stance on climate change reveals him to be a fact-averse, scientifically illiterate ideologue and a danger, if confirmed by the Senate, to NASA’s leadership in space science and Earth science alike.”