Donald Trump's pick for CIA director refuses to accept Nasa findings on climate change

Mike Pompeo says he is not familiar with evidence showing global warming consensus and would prefer 'not to get in to the details of science'

Benjamin Kentish
Thursday 12 January 2017 21:21 GMT
CIA director nominee Mike Pompeo refuses to accept Nasa's findings on climate change

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), has refused to endorse Nasa’s finding that climate change is caused by human activity.

The right-wing Republican congressman for Kansas told his Senate confirmation hearing he was unfamiliar with Nasa’s finding that 97 per cent of climate scientists believe humans are causing climate change. He would “prefer not to get into the details of climate change and science”, he added.

Asked by Kamala Harris, a Democrat senator for California, whether he “had any reason to doubt” scientific findings on climate change, including those published by Nasa, Mr Pompeo declined to answer.

He said: “I’ve spoken to this in my political life. My commentary most [of] all has been directed to ensuring that the policies that America put in place actually achieved the objective of ensuring that we didn’t have catastrophic harm that resulted from change in climate. I continue to hold that view.

“I, frankly, as the director of CIA, would prefer today not to get into the details of the climate debate and science. It seems my role is going to be so different and unique to that. It is going to be to work alongside warriors keeping Americans safe and so I stand by the things I’ve said previously with respect to that issue.

Nasa has reported that “multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities.

“In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.”

Pushed on whether he thought Nasa’s conclusions were “debatable”, Mr Pompeo again refused to answer.

He said: “I haven’t spent enough time to tell you that I’ve looked at Nasa’s findings in particular. I can’t give you any judgement about that today.

He was “happy to continue to talk about it”, Mr Pompeo added.

The congressman, who is a member of the right-wing Tea Party group, has previously questioned the scientific consensus on climate change. In 2013 he suggested the science on global warming “needs to continue to develop”.

He told C-Span: “There are scientists who think lots of different things about climate change. There’s some who think we’re warming, there’s some who think we’re cooling, there’s some who think that the last 16 years have shown a pretty stable climate environment.”

Confirmation hearings for Mr Trump’s cabinet nominees are continuing this week. Some, however, have had to be delayed because detailed background checks on candidate’s financial and business dealings have not yet been completed.

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