The U.S. President Donald Trump tapped Jim Bridenstine – Republican Congressman of Oklahoma, as the next chief of NASA. While the nominee is already facing a lot of opposition from politicians and scientists, Jim does not believe humans cause climate change.
As per the opposition, Bridenstine does not possess scientific chops to direct and lead a space agency – capable of sending men to the moon.
Moreover, NASA has never been headed by a Congress member in its history of 60 years.
Opponents argue that Bridenstine, that is likely to be confirmed by the Senate, is a bad choice for the administrative job in NASA.
The major three contention points include his political nature, lack of scientific credentials and doubts regarding the human contribution towards climate change.
Two U.S Senators DoubtBridenstine’s Capabilities to Lead NASA
Florida’s senators – Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Marco Rubio – have already voiced Bridenstine’s nomination as a bad choice.
As per Nelson’s statement to Politico;
“The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician.”
As per Rubio’s statement to Politico;
“This appointment can be devastating for the space program. Obviously, being from Florida, I am very sensitive to anything that slows up NASA and its mission.”
Bridenstine; who won his first seat in 2012, would be the first ever elected official to lead NASA.
Another Republican Senator – Oklahoma’s Jim Inholf– calls climate change a hoax and stated to the Associated Press;
“I think he faces a tough fight because he’s been outspoken in some areas that having nothing to do with NASA.”
Bridenstine Doubts Human Factor in Climate Change
During an interview in 2016 with Aerospace America magazine, Bridenstine clearly expressed skepticism regarding the human hand in climate change. He said that the climate has always been changing and further added;
“There were periods of time long before the internal combustion engine when the Earth was much warmer than it is today.”
Unlike the opposition and a few senators, Lightfoot – Acting administrator – said in a statement that he was “pleased to have Representative Bridenstine nominated to lead our team.”
“Of course, the nomination must go through the Senate confirmation process, but I look forward to ensuring a smooth transition and sharing the great work the NASA team is doing,” he added further.
The news is steaming more opposition from different politicians especially after Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement.
Bridenstine has already criticized the amount of money spent by NASA on climate research previously. He sponsored a bill in 2013, which demanded slash funding towards the studies conducted by Atmospheric Administration and National Oceanic in terms of climate change.
In a post, Phil Plait – science blogger and astronomer – lambasted the nomination of Bridenstine, stating;
“Climate change due to global warming is one of the greatest threats facing us as a species. The leader of the world’s premier space agency should at the very bare minimum be willing to admit it exists.”
No matter what views Bridenstine has for climate change, NASA has been working as an independent agency and its future relies on the president’s favour and his nominee to lead the agency.