NASA chief says he changed mind about climate change because he 'read a lot’

NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineAstronauts named for first US manned space mission since end of shuttle program  Make the moon a refueling station — then head to Mars White House nominating new science adviser with extreme-weather background MORE says he changed his mind on the existence of man-made climate change because he “read a lot.”

“I heard a lot of experts, and I read a lot,” Bridenstine told The Washington Post on Tuesday. “I came to the conclusion myself that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that we've put a lot of it into the atmosphere and therefore we have contributed to the global warming that we've seen. And we've done it in really significant ways.” 

The former congressman from Oklahoma had long denied the scientific consensus on climate change and said in a 2013 speech on the House floor that "global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago." 

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In May, Bridenstine first announced publicly that he now believes human activity is the main cause of climate change. 

“The National Climate Assessment that includes NASA, and it includes the Department of Energy and it includes NOAA, has clearly stated it is extremely likely — is the language they use — that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming,” he said at a Senate Appropriations Committee subpanel's hearing last month.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDems make history, and other takeaways from Tuesday's primaries Pawlenty loses comeback bid in Minnesota Establishment-backed Vukmir wins Wisconsin GOP Senate primary MORE and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittPelosi seizes on anti-corruption message against GOP Al Gore: Trump has had 'less of an impact on environment so far than I feared' Understanding EPA’s fuzzy math MORE have not made similar pronouncements, however.

Trump has long denied climate change is real, once saying without evidence that it was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing noncompetitive.”

Last December, the president tweeted during a period of cold weather that “perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming."

In March, Pruitt told CNBC that he didn't think humans were a primary contributor to climate change, saying there's "tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact."