“Stupid In Space”

Ken AshfordEnvironment & Global Warming & Energy1 Comment

I heard this interview on NPR this morning too, and I almost fell out of the bed:

Showing that there is no place safe from idiocy, here’s an absolutely astronomically stupid comment from NASA Administrator Michael Griffin.  A statement so stupid, it makes the invasion of Iraq and the management of Katrina look like genius.

Michael Griffin NASA Administrator has told America’s National Public Radio that while he has no doubt a trend of global warming exists "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

Griffin confirms that global warming exists, and in fact only hours before NASA had issued a report showing that ice in the Arctic was being lost at higher rates than previously predicted.  So what’s behind Griffin’s Qué será, será attitude?  Is it a fatalistic view that we can’t do anything about global warming?  Nope.   

In an interview with NPR’s Steve Inskeep that will air in Thursday’s edition of NPR News’ Morning Edition, Administrator Griffin explains: "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. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take."

There you go.  Trying to stop global warming is arrogant.  Who are you to say folks in Norway that they can’t have palm trees!

The part that Griffin seems to be forgetting is the billions of people who would die if our current economy collapses due to sinking cities and shifting growing regions.  Might the future inhabitants of tropical Greenland be happy as they gaze southward over the swollen sea?  Maybe.  But I’m not anxious to sink Miami to find out.  Idiot. 

Oh, and expect this to become part of the standard kit for those on the right.  I give it ten hours before Rush gets around to "trying to stop global warming is racist."  Start your stopwatch.

Griffin’s remarks are stunning, coming just days after his own agency released a report warning of the “disastrous effects” of climate change:

Even “moderate additional” greenhouse emissions are likely to push Earth past “critical tipping points” with “dangerous consequences for the planet,” according to research conducted by NASA and the Columbia University Earth Institute.

With just 10 more years of “business as usual” emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas, says the NASA/Columbia paper, “it becomes impractical” to avoid “disastrous effects.”

Chris Mooney weighs in on this too:

What Griffin is ignoring is the whole issue of risk and its distribution. Our global society is set up for–adapted to–the current climate. But now we’re moving in the direction of raising the sea level considerably–even as much of the global population is coastal–and melting large amounts of ice, while also altering the occurrence of phenomena, such as droughts, that could have a dramatic impact on food and water supplies.

How can anyone think this is not a tremendous societal risk, even if there might be some people–in, say, Buffalo, New York–who may actually have more pleasant weather under global warming?

NASA is already backtracking. James Hansen, the agency’s top climatologist, is slamming his boss. Assuredly there will be many more jeers and groans over the course of the day.