Monday, October 26, 2009

Correcting Bush-era climate change propaganda

Posted By on Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 11:30 AM

Editing science = lying. We the People deserve to know what's being pumped into our air, water, underneath the ground and into our bodies.

While the last Bush administration edited science to suit the needs of big business, the Obama administration takes their job a little more seriously. They seem to understand that no amount of corporate profit or shareholder praise is worth our health or the earth's.

The apparent interference by Council on Environmental Quality during the Bush administration prompted a 16-month congressional investigation beginning in July 2006 that pored over 27,000 pages of White House documents. "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 Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote in its report on the matter in December 2007. "White House officials and political appointees in the agencies censored congressional testimony on the causes and impacts of global warming, controlled media access to government climate scientists, and edited federal scientific reports to inject unwarranted uncertainty into discussions of climate change."

The CEQ also helped shape the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) declaration that it did not have the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as well as its decision not to declare them a danger to public health under the Clean Air Act, despite an internal EPA analysis noting that greenhouse gas emissions endangered public welfare. "The decision to go with an advanced notice [of proposed rule making] or not was ultimately Steve Johnson's" (the EPA administrator at the end of the Bush tenure), Connaughton says. "That comes out of a broader policy management discussion about how far [you] could go with the Clean Air Act versus how far you could go with legislation…I would have tried to get the climate legislative piece going earlier. If I could have gotten that going a year-and-half earlier, that would have heightened prospects of climate legislation by the end of our term."

The EPA's stance, however, was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2007, and one of the first actions of Lisa Jackson, the new EPA administrator under the Obama administration, was to declare CO2 and other greenhouse gases a threat to public health and welfare and release a proposed endangerment finding largely built on the earlier ignored analysis.

With the advent of the Obama administration, CEQ again reorganized, and some of its duties under the previous administration—such as taking the lead in climate change policymaking—were given to a newly created White House Office of Energy and Climate Policy directed by former Clinton-era EPA administrator, Carol Browner.

Her new approach at CEQ "is to be guided by science and law," Sutley says. "I'm not a scientist and I'm not going to comment on the science. My role here and CEQ's role is to advise the president on environmental policy. The science is what the science is."

Read the entire Scientific American article here.

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