RAS President condemns NASA chief

Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson, President of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and chair of the Astrophysics Group at Imperial College, London has roundly condemned remarks by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin that global warming is not an issue of pressing concern.

Dr Griffin, speaking on America’s National Public Radio, accepted that man-made global warming exists but stated that it was something that we neither could, nor should, tackle.

Professor Rowan-Robinson, who is currently serving as president of the RAS, which represents more than 3000 astronomers worldwide, issued the following statement:

“I was disturbed to read the comments by the Head of NASA, Michael Griffin, on global warming and climate change. While accepting that a trend of global warming exists, he questions whether this ‘is a problem we must wrestle with’.

This is counter to the strong advice of the world’s climate scientists, expressed through the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have urged the world’s leaders to act swiftly to limit the rise in warming to no more than 2 degrees Centigrade. It is also counter to the Stern Report, which demonstrated that limiting global warming is both do-able and affordable.

Europe’s space scientists, astronomers and solar system scientists, will be dismayed by Michael Griffin’s position and it will undermine their confidence in his leadership of NASA, an organisation with which the UK has a strong shared purpose.

I call on Michael Griffin to withdraw these comments.”

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