Hume reported on NASA chief Griffin's apology, but not NASA global warming cutbacks

››› ››› MATT GERTZ

On the June 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume reported that NASA Administrator Michael Griffin "said it is NASA's job to provide scientific evidence about global warming, and leave the discussions about what to do with it up to policymakers." Hume did not report, however, that the Bush administration has scaled back NASA's efforts to provide this evidence, as the Associated Press reported just two days earlier.

During an interview that aired May 31, Griffin told a National Public Radio reporter that he wasn't sure that global warming was a problem: "I have no doubt 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." Griffin continued: "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." Hume reported that "Griffin said earlier this week in a closed-door meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that he was sorry for airing his personal views," and quoted Griffin as stating, "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."

Hume did not note that a December 11 report to the White House by scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned against proposed cutbacks to funding for the National Polar-Orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System (NPOESS), a program designed to monitor the effects of global warming. According to the report, "[T]he recent loss of climate sensors ... places the overall climate program in serious jeopardy." The report was provided by Climate Science Watch, a watchdog program of the Washington-based Government Accountability Project, to the AP, which reported it in a June 4 article. According to June 8, 2006, testimony of NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr. before the House Committee on Science, the Department of Defense (DOD) originally planned to launch six satellites under NPOESS to gather weather and climate data, replacing older satellites. Instead, due to cost overruns, DOD revised the program on June 5, 2006, to include only four new satellites, which will focus on weather forecasting, with most of the climate instruments needed to measure global warming eliminated. In its June 4 article, the AP reported that this reduction demonstrates that "[t]he Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space." The AP also noted that "White House science adviser Jack Marburger, for whom the report was intended, acknowledged that climate scientists had been depending greatly on the planned satellites."

From the June 6 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Brit Hume:

HUME: NASA Administrator Michael Griffin is apologizing for comments he made last week that global warming may not be a problem that requires human intervention, but he's not saying he was wrong. Griffin was soundly ripped by many scientists who believe human activity causes climate change and that it is very dangerous. Griffin said earlier this week in a closed-door meeting at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena that he was sorry for airing his personal views, "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." Griffin said it is NASA's job to provide scientific evidence about global warming, and leave the discussions about what to do with it up to policymakers.

From the June 4 Associated Press article:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration is drastically scaling back efforts to measure global warming from space, just as the president tries to convince the world the U.S. is ready to take the lead in reducing greenhouse gases.

A confidential report to the White House, obtained by The Associated Press, warns that U.S. scientists will soon lose much of their ability to monitor warming from space using a costly and problem-plagued satellite initiative begun more than a decade ago.

Because of technology glitches and a near-doubling in the original $6.5 billion cost, the Defense Department has decided to downsize and launch four satellites paired into two orbits, instead of six satellites and three orbits.

The satellites were intended to gather weather and climate data, replacing existing satellites as they come to the end of their useful lifetimes beginning in the next couple of years.

The reduced system of four satellites will now focus on weather forecasting. Most of the climate instruments needed to collect more precise data over long periods are being eliminated.

Instead, the Pentagon and two partners - the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA - will rely on European satellites for most of the climate data.

"Unfortunately, the recent loss of climate sensors ... places the overall climate program in serious jeopardy," NOAA and NASA scientists told the White House in the Dec. 11 report obtained by the AP.

[...]

White House science adviser Jack Marburger, for whom the report was intended, acknowledged that climate scientists had been depending greatly on the planned satellites.

''We're obviously very concerned about this,'' he told the AP. ''It got in trouble and we couldn't fit all those instruments on it ... leaving us with a number of problems and questions: How do we maintain our momentum in this very important area of science?''

Posted In
Environment & Science, Climate Change
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Brit Hume
Show/Publication
Special Report with Brit Hume
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