So there was this great Dilbert cartoon, where the PHB asks Dilbert to get something, and to cover his back Dilbert must get the signatures of the VP of marketing, head of finance, and Griffin. Dilbert asks, would that be Griffin of accounts, or the mythical beast? To which the PHB says, whichever is harder.

But thats not the Griffin I mean, I’m on about Michael Griffin who wound up Kevin Vrames no end (oh, and who happens to be head of NASA). I was slightly less wound up, because I thought I could see what he meant: yes we have GW and yes we’re causing it but we’re unclear about the consequences. But in fact even I think he went too far, since it clearly *is* a problem that we must wrestle with, even were we to come to the conclusion in the end that it would be a great idea (which is rather unlikely, I hasten to add). And then First of all, I don’t think it’s within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings – where and when – are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings is also pretty damn stupid. If you want to say that you provide the scientific data and leave others to work out what to do, then don’t pontificate on optimum climates, and don’t prat around talking nonsense by mixing up timescales.

And while we’re here, lets not forget the barking mad (sorry James).

But now, after all the flack Griffin got, we have NASA chief regrets remarks on global warming. To quote: NASA administrator Michael Griffin said in the closed-door meeting Monday at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that “unfortunately, this is an issue which has become far more political than technical, and it would have been well for me to have stayed out of it.” “All I can really do is apologize to all you guys…. I feel badly that I caused this amount of controversy over something like this,” he said.

So, this is closed-door stuff which doesn’t help. And (assuming we believe the quote) the apology is clear. But the “has become far more political than technical” isn’t exactly going to help, it just makes things worse. Continuing:

Griffin reiterated that NASA’s job was to provide scientific data on global warming and leave it up to policy makers to decide what to do with it.

OK, I’m fairly happy with that. So maybe the initial “we” was meant to be NASA, not us as people in general? That still leaves quite a bit of junk not accounted for. And it ends:

“Doing media interviews is an art. Their goal is usually to generate controversy because it sells interviews and papers, and my goal is usually to avoid controversy,” he said.

Well he has an odd way of going about it.


  1. #1 Luboš Motl

    You are now internationally famous, William. Our e-friend Alexander Ač has cited your text about boring as a conspiracy theory in his article for The Invisible Dog,

    the most well-known Czech private internet daily, where he comments on a debate of myself and the Czech president with Ladislav Metelka, the self-described only Czech climatologist. ;-)

    [Pity its in Czech. Pity they are ripping off graphs from wiki without attribution. Still I can read "conspiracy theory" -W]

  2. #2 Luboš Motl

    It is not “they”. It is your brother in belief. Amen.

  3. #4 guthrie

    Oh great, first Lubos is insulting people, then we get attacked by trolls.

  4. #5 Michael Tobis

    I have am a bit more concerned about this than you, although I also see what Griffin meant. The trouble is that studied neutrality is not effectively neutral.

    A federal agency eschewing taking a policy position amounts to pretty much the same thing as taking a position that no policy is necessary.