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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine watches the launch of NASA's InSight spacecraft on May 5, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credit: Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Wednesday endorsed the findings of a major federal report — which reflects the wider scientific consensus — that human activities are the main driver of global warming.

Why it matters: Bridenstine's remarks before a Senate Appropriations panel make him the first top Trump administration official to publicly and fully agree that humans have been the dominant cause of warming.

The impact: His comments are also significant because NASA plays a leading role in federal climate monitoring and research.

  • Bridenstine made similar comments at a NASA town hall last week, but those remarks stopped shy of fully acknowledging the dominant role of human-caused emissions.

One level deeper: Bridenstine also endorsed a multi-agency federal report, largely written in the Obama years, but released in 2017, that strongly reaffirmed this consensus.

"The National Climate Assessment, that includes NASA, and it includes the Department of Energy, and it includes NOAA, has clearly stated that it is extremely likely . . . that human activity is the dominant cause of global warming, and I have no reason to doubt the science that comes from that."
— Bridenstine in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz

Asked if he agreed with the scientific consensus, backed by experts including NASA researchers, that humans are the leading cause of climate change, Bridenstine responded: "Yes."

In the past, Bridenstine has expressed skepticism of mainstream climate science, and on Wednesday he acknowledged that his views have evolved.

Go deeper: The Climate Science Special Report

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”