If timing is everything in politics, then President Joe Biden demonstrated yesterday that he is a master of truly abysmal political timing.
You would think that on the 53rd anniversary of the first Moon landing — the greatest technological achievement in history — the president of the nation that accomplished this magnificent feat would be thrilled to remind the world that it was the United States of America that won the space race when Apollo 11 touched down on the Sea of Tranquility on July 20, 1969.
This year’s anniversary was especially important because it was the inaugural celebration of International Moon Day. During the 64th session of the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space, the newly created non-governmental Moon Village Association submitted an application asking that July 20 be designated as International Moon Day. The UN General Assembly approved the proposal and, on December 9, 2021, passed a resolution on “International cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space,” which asserts that International Moon Day should be celebrated worldwide on July 20.
Yet, what did Biden do on the anniversary of the fulfillment of President John F. Kennedy’s dream? He made a major announcement about global warming, telling America that man-made climate change “is literally — not figuratively — a clear and present danger.” A search of the Briefing Room on The White House website for July 20 reveals five items on what the Biden administration calls the climate “emergency;” one item on summer learning programs for students; and remarks by both the president and vice-president about U.S.-Africa cooperation. Not a word about Apollo 11 or Moon Day. The same is true for Statements and Releases, and indeed, the whole White House site.
What makes Biden’s Moon Day focus on climate change especially ironic is the fact that, included in the long list of highly qualified people who are skeptical of the climate scare are Apollo 11 astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin and at least five other Apollo astronauts.
Biden also seems unaware that, on April 10, 2012, 49 former NASA scientists and astronauts sent a letter to then NASA Administrator Charles Bolden criticizing the agency for advocating a high degree of certainty that man-made carbon dioxide is a major cause of climate change while ignoring empirical evidence that calls the theory into question. Signing the open letter were Walter Cunningham (Apollo 7 astronaut), Charles Duke (Apollo 16), Richard Gordon (Apollo 12), Dr. Harrison (Jack) Schmitt (the only scientist yet to walk on the Moon on Apollo 17), and Al Worden (Apollo 15). The letter was also signed by Apollo Flight Directors and former Directors of Johnson Space Center, Dr. Christopher Craft and Gerald C. Griffin. Here are selected excerpts from their letter as listed in the press release put out at the time:
- “The unbridled advocacy of CO2 being the major cause of climate change is unbecoming of NASA’s history of making an objective assessment of all available scientific data prior to making decisions or public statements.”
- “We believe the claims by NASA and GISS, that man-made carbon dioxide is having a catastrophic impact on global climate change are not substantiated.”
- “We request that NASA refrain from including unproven and unsupported remarks in its future releases and websites on this subject.”
No one could rationally say that America’s Apollo astronauts were unconcerned about the environment. Indeed, the first humans to visit the Moon experienced truly remarkable epiphanies about how special our home planet is. Consider the following quotes from Moonwalkers:
“Suddenly, from behind the rim of the moon, in long, slow-motion moments of immense majesty, there emerges a sparkling blue and white jewel, a light, delicate, sky-blue sphere laced with slowly swirling veils of white, rising gradually like a small pearl in a thick sea of black mystery. It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth … home.” Edgar Mitchell, Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 14
“It truly is an oasis, and we don’t take very good care of it. And I think the elevation of that awareness is a real contribution to, you know, saving the earth if you will.” Dave Scott, Commander, Apollo 15
“I realized up there that our planet is not infinite. It’s fragile. That may not be obvious to a lot of folks, and it’s tough that people are fighting each other here on earth instead of trying to get together and live on this planet. We look pretty vulnerable in the darkness of space.” Alan Shepard, first American in space and Commander, Apollo 14
“The earth reminded us of a Christmas tree ornament hanging in the blackness of space. As we got farther and farther away it diminished in size. Finally, it shrank to the size of a marble, the most beautiful marble you can imagine. That beautiful, warm, living object looked so fragile, so delicate, that, if you touched it with a finger, it would crumble and fall apart. Seeing this has to change a man, has to make a man appreciate the creation of God and the love of God.” Jim Irwin, Lunar Module Pilot, Apollo 15
Many astronauts return to Earth strongly committed to real environmental protection. It is about time Joe Biden did the same and stopped fixating on the dangerous and unscientific climate scare.