New Report Describes Systematic White House Effort to Manipulate Climate Change Science

This post, written by Steve Benen, originally appeared on The Carpetbagger Report

The evidence has been overwhelming for quite a while that, when it comes to climate-change science, the Bush administration prefers restrictions to revelations.

Just two months ago, for example, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was set to testify on the impact of climate change on public health, but the White House intervened, "eviscerated" her testimony, and directed Gerberding to discuss the public-health "benefits" of global warming. It seemed to be part of a trend -- the Bush gang has asked an oil lobbyist to re-write government reports on global warming, and muzzled NASA and NOAA officials when their reports were politically inconvenient.

Of course, it looked like part of a trend because it was part of a trend.
For the past 16 months, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has been investigating allegations of political interference with government climate change science under the Bush Administration. During the course of this investigation, the Committee obtained over 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Commerce Department, held two investigative hearings, and deposed or interviewed key officials. Much of the information made available to the Committee has never been publicly disclosed.
This report presents the findings of the Committee's investigation. The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.
The 37-page report is depressing but illuminating. Bush administration officials have not only stifled dissent, they've manipulated scientific reports and censored scientists on a grand scale.

There are so many striking examples, it's hard to know where to start, but a couple of gems stand out.

This certainly made the White House agenda clear:
Former [White House Council on Environmental Quality] Chief of Staff Philip Cooney told the Committee: "Our communications people would render a view as to whether someone should give an interview or not and who it should be." According to Kent Laborde, a career public affairs officer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, media requests related to climate change issues were handled differently from other requests because "I would have to route media inquires through CEQ." This practice was particularly evident after Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Laborde was asked, "Did the White House and the Department of Commerce not want scientists who believed that climate change was increasing hurricane activity talking with the press?" He responded: "There was a consistent approach that might have indicated that."
This drove the point home nicely as well:
#story_page_post_article

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