The Intersection

After thinking about NASA administrator Michael Griffin’s ridiculous recent statement–he’s not sure global warming is a “problem”–I decided to do a full entry at HuffingtonPost about it.

That entry, entitled “Of Idiocy and Optimal Climates,” is readable here.


  1. #1 Ted
    May 31, 2007

    There’s something in the water at NASA.

    You remember the recent CNA report that heralded the conservative shift on the climate? Here’s Richard Truly from that report:

    Adm. Truly noted an ironic twist about his path to this conclusion. “I was NASA administrator when Jim Hansen was first talking about these issues,” he said, referring to NASA’s top climate scientist. “But I was focused elsewhere then, and I should have listened more closely. I didn’t become a convert until I saw the data on my own.”

    Ironic? I’m not sure that’s the word that springs to mind. Truly was administrator from 1989 to 1992. He got to the data “on his own” much, much later.

  2. #2 Fred Bortz
    May 31, 2007

    I’m not Arianna Huffington, but I’m blogging about this, too.

    Click my name for today’s rant.

  3. #3 Dark Tent
    May 31, 2007

    “But let’s not forget the big picture. Michael Griffin said something obtuse in one press interview. But the Bush administration has more or less acted, for seven years, as if it agrees with him.”

    I’d have to say that it is more likely the other way around — that Griffin agrees with Bush. As with most Bush appointees, that ain’t an accident.

    I also find it more than a little odd that Griffin is so unfamiliar with the work of climate scientists that he does not even know the actual amount by which the temperature has gone up over the past century.

    He said one degree Celsius, but that is incorrect. That would only be correct if he were giving the value in Fahrenheit degrees.

    That the head of NASA could be so ignorant on this issue just boggles the mind.

    Then again, this is the Bush administration we are talking about.

  4. #4 mark
    May 31, 2007

    I heard Griffin’s interview on public radio this morning. The thing that made me wonder is why there was no mention of the International Space Station and its significance with respect to budgetary priorities. Besides, if they put wheels on it they could tow it to the Moon and have their Motel 6 ready built. There was also an excellent opportunity to mention the success of the unmanned Cassini spacecraft and its relevance to evolution.

  5. #5 Fred Bortz
    May 31, 2007

    Interesting side note. I have been working on persuading a conservative friend to accept the scientific evidence, and he e-mailed a link to the NPR story. He called Griffin’s acceptance of global warming “one for your side,” but he thought that Griffin was supporting his claim that the evidence for its anthropogenic origin is still sketchy.

    I sent him this quotation from the interview, which I’m sure will annoy him, since Griffin calls the anthropogenic origin “pretty well pinned down.” You can almost hear Griffin squirming, protecting his flanks by adding “pretty well.”

    MICHAEL GRIFFIN: I am aware that global warming — I’m aware that global warming exists. I understand that the bulk of scientific evidence accumulated supports the claim that we’ve had about a one degree centigrade rise in temperature over the last century to within an accuracy of 20 percent. I’m also aware of recent findings that appear to have nailed down — pretty well nailed down the conclusion that much of that is manmade. Whether that is a long term concern or not, I can’t say.

  6. #6 jackd
    May 31, 2007

    That was the most depressing interview I’ve heard in a long time. It was positioned as a response to Greg Easterbrook’s interview of the day before, when Easterbrook slammed NASA for wasting its time and our money on plans for a Moon Base (he called it a “Motel 6 on the Moon”) and a Mars mission. The money would be better spent, Easterbrook said, on studying climate change. He also accused Griffin of being a yes-man for the wishes of Congress and the Administration.

    So what does Griffin do? Basically confirms everything Easterbrook said. Every word out of Griffin’s mouth sounded as if he were simultaneously trying to agree with and blame Congress and the Administration. Horrible, mealy-mouthed CYA. As if the only goal for NASA he’s personally invested in is ensuring Michael Griffin is the administrator through January 20, 2009.

  7. #7 Lance
    June 1, 2007

    I heard Mr. Griffin’s interview on NPR. I thought he sounded emminently reasonable. That James Hansen would find his remarks innadequate is hardly surprising. Hansen prefers unsupported alarmist pronouncements like “I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change … no longer than a decade, at the most,”

    What I did find depressing is that NASA has shifted so much of its focus, and resources, to “climate change” research. As someone that chose a career in science after being inspired by the Apollo program I would hope that NASA’s primary mission would be to explore the vast universe rather than merely look down on the limited world in which we presently dwell.

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