Monday, March 19, 2007

Former White House Official Defends Fudging Global Warming Reports

A former White House official today defended his fudging of the numbers in global warming reports so that the mis-administration could say "What global warming?" Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

WASHINGTON - A former White House official accused of improperly editing reports on global warming defended his editing changes Monday, saying they reflected views in a 2001 report by the National Academy of Sciences.

House Democrats said the 181 changes made in three climate reports reflected a consistent attempt to emphasize the uncertainties surrounding the science of climate change and undercut the broad conclusions that man-made emissions are warming the earth.

Philip Cooney, former chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, acknowledged at a House hearing that some of the changes he made were "to align these communications with the administration's stated policy" on climate change.

Said "stated policy on climate change " being the stubborn, incorrect position that global warming is not happening.

The extent of Cooney's editing of government climate reports first surfaced in 2005. Shortly thereafter, Cooney, a former oil industry lobbyist, left the White House to work at Exxon Mobil Corp.

Gee, there's a surprise. A former oil industry lobbyist tweaked the environmental report findings to show data that bolstered the White House's boneheaded position. Where is Claude Rains when we really need him?

"My concern is that there was a concerted White House effort to inject uncertainty into the climate debate," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

Cooney's appearance before Waxman's committee Monday was the first time he has spoken publicly, or was extensively questioned, about the issue. Cooney said that many of the changes he made to the reports — such as uncertainty about the regional impact of climate change and limits on climate modeling — reflected findings of a 2001 National Academy of Sciences report on climate.

Waxman's committee also heard from James Hansen, director of NASA's
Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the country's leading climate scientists, who said the White House repeatedly tried to control what government scientists say to the public and media about climate change.

"Interference with communications of science to the public has been greater during the current administration than at any time in my career," said Hansen, who was one of the first to raise concerns about climate change in the 1980s.
Hansen's battles with NASA and White House public affairs officials are not new and resulted in an easing of NASA's policies toward scientists talking to the media about their work.

Hansen said that in 2005 he was told by a 24-year-old NASA public affairs official he could not take part in an interview with National Public Radio on orders from senior NASA public affairs officials. Instead, three other NASA officials were offered for the interview.

The young press officer, George Deutsch, now 26, sat next to Hansen at the witness table Monday and told the committee he had simply been "relaying" the views of higher-ups at NASA that Hansen was not to participate in the interview.

Rep. Darrell Issa
, R-Calif., suggested that Hansen was not being muzzled at all and that there is nothing wrong with government scientists being subject to some limits in what they say.

"It doesn't ring true," said Hansen. "It's not the American way. And it's not constitutional."

Issa is a douchebag. And Hansen is right. It's NOT the American way, and it's NOT constitutional.

I'd bet that Issa would have been more than willing to lift Hansen's muzzle if he was going to spout some batshit craziness about trees causing more pollution than factories the way Saint Reagan's Secretary of the Interior, James Watt once did. But is anyone really surprised at this? These bastards have been pulling stunts like this since they stole their way into power back in 2001, and nobody has had the balls to call them on anything. Maybe Waxman can slap a scare into these goons, but it is more likely that we will continue to get more of the same treatment until January 20, 2009, which simply cannot get here fast enough.

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