bush administration mendacity watch
White House edits global warming report
The White House directed a major rewrite of an assessment of climate change, removing references to health and environmental risks posed by rising global temperatures, according to internal draft documents made public Thursday.
Several Senate Democrats, including some running for president, accused the White House of "doctoring" the Environmental Protection Agency report to suit President Bush's skeptical views on global warming.
The report on the state of the environment has been an agency priority. It is to be released next week before the agency chief Christie Whitman departs on June 27.
According to EPA officials and internal documents obtained Thursday, most of the original section on climate change was scrapped after the White House directed significant changes and deletions that emphasized the uncertainties surrounding the climate change debate.
The changes demanded by the White House were so extensive that the climate section "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change," according to an April 29 EPA staff memo. It characterized the revised draft as an embarrassment to the agency.
After months of negotiations with the White House, senior EPA officials decided to remove most of the climate-related language. That would allow publication of the rest of the report -- on environmental concerns from air pollution to the state of drinking water supplies -- to go forward.
Copies of the draft documents and the EPA memo were made public by the National Wildlife Federation, which obtained it through a former EPA employee. The changes initially were reported in Thursday's New York Times.
EPA spokesman Joe Martyak said the agency "didn't want to hold up the rest of the report" because of the disagreement over the climate language and because there remains no clear "consensus on the science and conclusions" on global warming. [Translation: The Administration doesn't like the scientific consensus. Let's go to the videotape:]
...According to the EPA papers, the White House deleted from a summary under the heading of "global issues" the sentence, "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment."
A number of scientific reports have raised those concerns.
The edited version inserted that climate change "may have potentially profound consequences" but otherwise emphasized great uncertainties.
...The revised draft also:
-Removed a reference -- and a graphic -- to a 1999 study showing global temperatures had risen sharply in the past decade compared with the previous 1,000 years. Instead it cites a study, partly sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute [emphasis added], that disputed those findings. Connaughton said the second study was reputable and the most recent on the subject.
-Deleted a National Research Council finding that various studies have suggested that recent warming was unusual and likely due to human activities, although the same 2001 NRC report had been commissioned by the White House.
...Mark VanPutten, president of the National Wildlife Federation, said the matter "provides disturbing evidence of the administration's readiness to reject or spin scientific findings on crucial environmental issues that do not suit the White House's political agenda."
If the changes are accepted, the EPA staff memo said, the agency "will take severe criticism from the science and environmental communities for poorly representing the science" of climate change.
No one should be surprised about this disgrace, of course; it's perfectly in keeping with Bush's political tactics: Determine a policy based on ideology/appeal to a core consitutency/benefit to deep-pocket donors, and then close the Administration's collective eyes to any information that suggests that the chosen policy isn't absolutely necessary let alone genuinely harmful to the nation's prosperity.
Lest one think that Bush's actions are merely coincidence, Emma Goldman has a number of links detailing, once again, the President's connections to the energy industry and the generous
bribes contributions they have made to Shrub's political career.
Really, the only thing more contemptible than Bush's mendacity is the cowardice of Democrats who let him get away with not only acting to harm one of their key issues -- the environment -- but also having the gall to run as someone who's "concerned" about the environment. This bait-and-switch isn't some aberration or quirk of Bush's style, he does this sort of thing all the time. Look at the way Bush ignored any intelligence that didn't support his determination to invade Iraq. Bush seems to be incapable of selling a policy honestly -- which is understandable, because his actual agenda really isn't at all popular. He's popular because people think he's honest, and people think he's honest because no one bothers to point out how dishonest he is.
For the benefit of our so-called "liberal media," here's the soundbite version:
- EPA report cites scientific concerns about global warming
- Bush opposes action on global warming as contrary to the interests of the energy industry, which finances him
- The Administration removes the language in question
- Bush puts politics over science
I'm sure even a TV anchor could mnanage that.