Bush Aid Edited Climate Reports

From Carl Pope’s BlogA remarkable aspect of the Bush administration is that, for the most part, his apparatchiks have enough discipline to slip on the black leather gloves before doing their dirty work, so as not to leave fingerprints. So scientific reports get their conclusions altered and little regulations appear that turn out to vastly increase the profits of a certain favored company, but the missing “Y” between “X” and “Z” is generally enough to throw a lazy press corps off the chase. Take it from a reporter: We love to have everything spelled out for us.

But an interesting thing is happening in the second W. administration: Discipline is slipping. A lovely example is in a story I’m working on now for a future issue of Sierra: how one Phil Cooney, the (now former) chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, made the cardinal error of sanitizing scientific documents on global warming in ink, and in a nice clear hand at that. The effect is quite striking. One realizes that this is history being rewritten before one’s eyes: “will” becomes “might,” specific effects are stricken as “speculative,” and pretty soon black is looking, if not white, at least a shade of gray.

Two days after Andrew Revkin’s story on Cooney’s editing escapade appeared in the New York Times, Cooney suddenly resigned to go to work for — could you guess? — ExxonMobil. Kinda like in a science-fiction movie when the alien infiltrator is found out and proudly rips off his humanoid skin and marches back toward the mothership.

I have said it before, let scientists come up with data, and then make policies around the data. Instead what happens is policies are made and then “scientists” are told to come up with data to support the policy.

What method do you think works best?

read more

Leave a Reply

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑