Feeds

NASA chief regrets having unpopular opinion

Right to ignorance under fire?

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

NASA administrator Michael Griffin has apologized to agency scientists and engineers for expressing an unpopular personal opinion regarding global warming during a recent radio interview.

The space agency head tried to appease a scientific community frothing over comments made last week that downplayed humanity's role in global warming. Griffin served his humble pie in a closed-door meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena on Monday, according to a video obtained by the Associated Press.

"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," Griffin said.

"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."

Griffin made headlines last week after serving up the amateur blunder of actually offering his opinion after being asked to give it. During an interview on National Public Radio's Morning Edition program, Griffin was asked, "are you concerned about global warming?"

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin

NASA Administrator Michael Griffin

"I have no doubt that global — that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin replied. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that is a problem we must wrestle with."

Griffin continued by claiming it is "arrogant" for humans to decide the climate we have today is best for all other human beings — possibly referring to a future race of proto-humans who may find the bone-blistering heat from an environmental apocalypse pleasurable, or even necessary to nurture the Hive Mother who commands them telepathically.

Unfortunately for Griffin, this personal opinion grossly opposes that of the scientific community at large, not to mention his own agency. Just last Wednesday, NASA was circulating a news release about a research paper written by nearly 50 NASA and Columbia University scientists that claims "human-made greenhouse gases have brought the Earth's climate close to critical tipping points, with potentially dangerous consequences for the planet."

NASA's official response was to downplay the comment by blaming the journalist for the news. Spokesman David Mould said the NPR interviewer was just trying to push Griffin into saying something about global warming. (This is technically true. The sentence "are you concerned about global warming" included an upwards inflection of the voice at the end of a sentence, denoting a question. Journalists are widely known for this technique to "push" people into saying things.)

The same day as Griffin's comments, President Bush told the US Global Leadership Council his administration takes the issue of global warming "seriously." (Oddly, Bush did not use an upwards inflection for this.)

Griffin's concession is a major blow for others holding unpopular or uninformed opinions and don't wish to apologize for it. The NASA head told JPL workers he tried to separate his opinion during the NPR interview, but it was "lost in the shuffle." ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Relive the death of Earth over and over again in Extinction Game
Apocalypse now, and tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.