September 21, 2003

Bush covers up climate research

Fascinating, and important. Patriotic, principled
resisters within the USG are delivering e-mail and
internal documents to the British press...Why not?
They are our "coalition allies, right? And the British
press will investigate (hell, they even investigate
their own government), they and run the story
prominently...Unlike the WASHPs and the NYTwits,
dutiful collaborators, who are even now most likely to
twist the story into it is feeble and almost
pointless or after turning it over to their handlers
for *guidance*,6903,1046363,00.html

Bush covers up climate research

White House officials play down its own scientists'
evidence of global warming

Paul Harris New York
Sunday September 21, 2003
The Observer

White House officials have undermined their own
government scientists' research into climate change to
play down the impact of global warming, an
investigation by The Observer can reveal.
The disclosure will anger environment campaigners who
claim that efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions are
being sabotaged because of President George W. Bush's
links to the oil industry.

Emails and internal government documents obtained by
The Observer show that officials have sought to edit
or remove research warning that the problem is
serious. They have enlisted the help of conservative
lobby groups funded by the oil industry to attack US
government scientists if they produce work seen as
accepting too readily that pollution is an issue.

Central to the revelations of double dealing is the
discovery of an email sent to Phil Cooney, chief of
staff at the White House Council on Environmental
Quality, by Myron Ebell, a director of the Competitive
Enterprise Institute (CEI). The CEI is an
ultra-conservative lobby group that has received more
than $1 million in donations since 1998 from the oil
giant Exxon, which sells Esso petrol in Britain.

The email, dated 3 June 2002, reveals how White House
officials wanted the CEI's help to play down the
impact of a report last summer by the government's
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in which the US
admitted for the first time that humans are
contributing to global warming. 'Thanks for calling
and asking for our help,' Ebell tells Cooney.

The email discusses possible tactics for playing down
the report and getting rid of EPA officials, including
its then head, Christine Whitman. 'It seems to me that
the folks at the EPA are the obvious fall guys and we
would only hope that the fall guy (or gal) should be
as high up as possible,' Ebell wrote in the email.
'Perhaps tomorrow we will call for Whitman to be
fired,' he added.

The CEI is suing another government climate research
body that produced evidence for global warming. The
revelation of the email's contents has prompted
demands for an investigation to see if the White House
and CEI are co-ordinating the legal attack.

'This email indicates a secret initiative by the
administration to invite and orchestrate a lawsuit
against itself seeking to discredit an official US
government report on global warming dangers,' said
Richard Blumenthal, attorney general of Connecticut,
who has written to the White House asking for an

The allegation was denied by White House officials and
the CEI. 'It is absurd. We do not have a sweetheart
relationship with the White House,' said Chris Horner,
a lawyer and senior fellow of CEI.

However, environmentalists say the email fits a
pattern of collusion between the Bush administration
and conservative groups funded by the oil industry,
who lobby against efforts to control carbon dioxide
emissions, the main cause of global warming.

When Bush first came to power he withdrew the US - the
world's biggest source of greenhouse gases - from the
Kyoto treaty, which requires nations to limit their

Both Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are former
oil executives; National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice was a director of the oil firm Chevron, and
Commerce Secretary Donald Evans once headed an oil and
gas exploration company.

'It all fits together,' said Kert Davies of
Greenpeace. 'It shows that there is an effort to
undermine good science. It all just smells like the
oil industry. They are doing everything to allow the
US to remain the world's biggest polluter.'

Other confidential documents obtained by The Observer
detail White House efforts to suppress research that
shows the world's climate is warming. A four-page
internal EPA memo reveals that Bush's staff insisted
on major amendments to the climate change section of
an environmental survey of the US, published last
June. One alteration indicated 'that no further
changes may be made'.

The memo discusses ways of dealing with the White
House editing, and warns that the section 'no longer
accurately represents scientific consensus on climate

Some of the changes include deleting a summary that
stated: 'Climate change has global consequences for
human health and the environment.' Sections on the
ecological effects of global warming and its impact on
human health were removed. So were several sentences
calling for further research on climate change.

A temperature record covering 1,000 years was also
deleted, prompting the EPA memo to note: 'Emphasis is
given to a recent, limited analysis [which] supports
the administration's favoured message.'

White House officials added numerous qualifying words
such as 'potentially' and 'may', leading the EPA to
complain: 'Uncertainty is inserted where there is
essentially none.'

The paper then analyses what the EPA should do about
the amendments and whether they should be published at
all. The options range from accepting the alterations
to trying to discuss them with the White House.

When the report was finally published, however, the
EPA had removed the entire global warming section to
avoid including information that was not
scientifically credible.

Former EPA climate policy adviser Jeremy Symons said
morale at the agency had been devastated by the
administration's tactics. He painted a picture of
scientists afraid to conduct research for fear of
angering their White House paymasters. 'They do good
research,' he said. 'But they feel that they have a
boss who does not want them to do it. And if they do
it right, then they will get hit or their work will be

Symons left the EPA in April 2001 and now works for
the National Wildlife Federation as head of its
climate change programme. The Bush administration's
attitude was clear from the beginning, he said, and a
lot of people were working to ensure that the
President did nothing to address global warming.

Additional reporting by Jason Rodrigues

Posted by richard at September 21, 2003 03:23 PM