The Republican Senate shake-up has landed Sen. Ted Cruz of all people at the helm of the Senate subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness.
This means, in effect, that Ted freaking Cruz is now in charge of NASA.
The obvious problem with this, as many are pointing out, is that the Texas senator is not a huge fan of the space agency or science in general and holds many aggressively anti-science views, particularity when it comes to climate change.
While he says that it’s “critical that the United States ensure its continued leadership in space,” his infamous hours-long non-filibusterer in September 2013 led to a 16-day government shutdown barring 97 percent of NASA employees from appearing for work. Interns at the agency were displaced when the NASA-provided housing was closed during the shutdown, and many have said the agency suffered lasting damage due to the freeze.
NASA, alas, has been training its satellites and other monitoring equipment on Earth and our climate system, helping collect data on everything from sea level rise to air pollution to ice melt. The agency credits itself with helping the U.N. International Panel on Climate Change reach the conclusion that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are likely responsible for the rise in global temperatures, a phenomenon that Cruz still won‘t even acknowledge is happening.
Cruz is joined in his terrifying position of power by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who also doesn’t “believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate” and who now heads up the subcommittee overseeing the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and, of course, by Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe, who is likely the most fervent climate denier ever to be put in charge of the Environmental Protection Agency.
So…strap in kids, shit’s about to get dumb.