Hat tip to Kevin Vranes of Prometheus for bringing this to my attention, although I strenuously disagree with his leftist-statist reaction to it. (I must say I find it rather ironic that a climate blog in which members advocate statist policies calls itself Prometheus.)
NPR apparently just sent out a press release previewing a Steve Inskeep interview airing on tomorrow’s Morning Edition with NASA Administrator Michael Griffin. It is entitled:
NASA ADMINISTRATOR MICHAEL GRIFFIN NOT SURE THAT GLOBAL WARMING IS A PROBLEM
From the press release:
May 30, 2007; Washington, DC – NASA Administrator Michael Griffin tells NPR News 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.”
In an interview with Steve Inskeep airing tomorrow on NPR News’ Morning Edition, Administrator Griffin says “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.”
From the full transcript:
STEVE INSKEEP: One thing that’s been mentioned that NASA is perhaps not spending as much money as it could on is studying climate change, global warming, from space. Are you concerned about global warming?
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.
MR. INSKEEP : And I just wanted to make sure that I’m clear. Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?
MR. GRIFFIN: I have no doubt that global — that 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. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth’s climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn’t change. 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. I think that’s a rather arrogant position for people to take.
MR. INSKEEP : Is that thinking that informs you as you put together the budget? That something is happening, that it’s worth studying, but you’re not sure that you want to be battling it as an army might battle an enemy.
MR. GRIFFIN: Nowhere in NASA’s authorization, which of course governs what we do, is there anything at all telling us that we should take actions to affect climate change in either one way or another. We study global climate change, that is in our authorization, we think we do it rather well. I’m proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to quote “battle climate change.”
Seems a surprisingly principled and individualistic position for a NASA bureaucrat to take. I am suitably impressed and appreciative. This is not to say that we shouldn’t do anything at all about anthropogenic global warming, if it is true, but rather that if we do anything it should be done on a voluntary and cooperative basis grounded in private property rights, not centrally planned and coerced according to the preferences of a relative few scientists and politicians. This means that both environmental regulations and state privileges for corporations should be eliminated and private property protected (including from clearly identified external polluters doing clearly identified harm to said property) so as to avoid the tragedy of the commons we see around us today.
[Update #1 (5/31 3:45pm): Here and here is Roy Cordato pointing out the bankruptcy of the typical leftist environmentalist response to skeptics as he comments on Hansen's hissy fit over Griffin's remarks. Sound familiar?]
[Update #2 (6/01 11am): Why are Griffin's remarks wise and not arrogant? See David Gordon's brief discussion on future generations and the precautionary principle here.]
[Update #3 (5:20pm): This article in today's issue of the New York Times contains another smear without counterargument in addition to Hansen's.
[Update #4 (6/02 1:30am): "Scientists Rally Around NASA Chief After Global Warming Comments," E-Wire (June 1, 2007).]
[Update #5 (6pm): Is the NASA Chief merely some uneducated political appointee? Hardly. Check out his bio. He has five master's degrees and a doctorate as well as a good deal of experience, including at NASA, in academia, and elsewhere.]
[Update #6 (6/04 9:45pm): Griffin vs. Hansen - who is more right? See here.]
[Update #7 (6/12 7:30pm): Griffin has apparently apologized for his controversial statements. Should he have been pressured to do so? I don't think so, and frankly the leftist tendency to demand apologies and recantations of statements they disagree with is abominable and disturbing - shades of communist re-education camps. Note, however, that Griffin didn't recant. He just apologized for stirring up controversy.]