Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Trump Nominates Climate Change Denier to Head NASA

Popular
www.youtube.com

President Trump's intention to nominate Rep. Jim Bridenstine of Oklahoma as the next administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has drawn controversy as the Republican congressman denies the human causes of climate change.

"I would say that the climate is changing. It has always changed. There were periods of time long before the internal combustion engine when the Earth was much warmer than it is today," Bridenstine told Aerospace America in a 2016 interview. "Going back to the 1600s, we have had mini Ice Ages from then to now."


Bridenstine—a veteran Navy combat pilot and member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee—is a proponent of space commercialization and introduced the Space Renaissance Act earlier this year. He also wants to send Americans back to the moon.

But NASA is not just a space exploration program—it also plays a major role in global climate science, including "research on solar activity, sea level rise, the temperature of the atmosphere and the oceans, the state of the ozone layer, air pollution, and changes in sea ice and land ice. NASA scientists regularly appear in the mainstream press as climate experts," the agency states.

When Bridenstine was asked if there was any data that would change his view that fossil fuels are not heating the planet, he sidestepped to the carbon emissions of China, Russia and India.

"The United States does not have a big enough carbon footprint to make a difference when you've got all these other polluters out there," he told Aerospace America. "So why do we fundamentally want to damage our economy even more when nobody else is willing to do the same thing?"

Bridenstine confirmed to E&E News in February that he was in the running for NASA chief and said that he was not committed to keeping climate research at the agency but may want to transfer the program to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), even though NOAA might not be as well equipped as NASA in studying climate change.

During his speech on the House floor in 2013, the freshman Rep. demanded an apology from President Obama for spending "30 times as much money" on climate change research than on weather forecasting. This claim is not true.

"For this gross misallocation, the people of Oklahoma are ready to accept the president's apology," Bridenstine said, adding climate denier talking points that "global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago" and that "global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles."

The Commercial Spaceflight Federation "applauded" the choice, as well as Sen. Ted Cruz.

However, Trump's pick has attracted bipartisan criticism. As Inside Higher Ed noted, previous NASA administrators have had extensive work experience in the agency or hold advanced scientific degrees, or both.

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson—the ranking member on the Senate's Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, which oversees NASA and would hear Bridenstine's nomination—told POLITICO that "the head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician."

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also said Bridenstine would be "devastating for the space program."

Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

What happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years? Halfpoint / Getty Images

By Dr. Kate Raynes-Goldie

Of all the plastic we've ever produced, only 9% has been recycled. So what happened to all that plastic you've put in the recycling bin over the years?

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
Donald Trump and Joe Biden arrive onstage for the final presidential debate at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, on Oct. 22, 2020. JIM WATSON / AFP via Getty Images

Towards the end of the final presidential debate of the 2020 election season, the moderator asked both candidates how they would address both the climate crisis and job growth, leading to a nearly 12-minute discussion where Donald Trump did not acknowledge that the climate is changing and Joe Biden called the climate crisis an existential threat.

Read More Show Less
What will happen to all these batteries once they wear out? Ronny Hartmann / AFP / Getty Images

By Zheng Chen and Darren H. S. Tan

As concern mounts over the impacts of climate change, many experts are calling for greater use of electricity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Powered by advancements in battery technology, the number of plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles on U.S. roads is increasing. And utilities are generating a growing share of their power from renewable fuels, supported by large-scale battery storage systems.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch