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

NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineThe billionaires' space race is just the beginning The day President Kennedy sent America to the moon Bill Nelson is a born-again supporter of commercial space at NASA 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Ohio special primaries Missouri Rep. Billy Long enters Senate GOP primary Trump-backed Mike Carey wins GOP primary in Ohio special election MORE and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittScience matters: Thankfully, EPA leadership once again agrees Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Saluting FOIA on its birthday 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."