Cheney’s secret campaign to deny climate change

While climate scientists have been clear that the earth is warming and that humans are the cause, the Bush administration has stubbornly refused to believe them, even going so far as censoring government scientists who had data that contradicted the administration’s position.

the White House has implemented an industry-formulated disinformation campaign designed to actively mislead the American public on global warming and to forestall limits on climate polluters…

The White House has blocked even the most modest reforms and replaced them with token investments in futuristic solutions like hydrogen cars. “It’s a charade,” says Jeremy Symons, who represented the EPA on Cheney’s energy task force, the industry-studded group that met in secret to craft the administration’s energy policy. “They have a single-minded determination to do nothing – while making it look like they are doing something.”

But thing weren’t always as like this for Bush, in fact during the 2000 presidential election Bush promised to regulate greenhouse gases and introduce emission caps.

Back in 2000, after then-candidate Bush vowed to place caps on carbon pollution, top climate scientists believed he was just the man to take action on global warming.

Of course non of that happened, and there is one man who stands out and shoulders most of the responsibility for this administrations inaction.

Cheney took full advantage of the president’s cluelessness, bringing the CEQ [the Council on Environmental Quality, a policy arm of the White House] into his own portfolio. “The environment and energy issues were really turned over to him from the beginning,” Whitman says. The CEQ became Cheney’s shadow EPA, with industry calling the shots. To head up the council, Cheney installed James Connaughton, a former lobbyist for industrial polluters…

In a fax sent to the CEQ on February 6th, 2001 – two weeks after Bush took office – ExxonMobil’s top lobbyist, Randy Randol, demanded a housecleaning of the scientists in charge of studying global warming. Exxon urged CEQ to dump Robert Watson, who chaired the IPCC, along with Rosina Bierbaum and Mike MacCracken, who had coordinated the National Assessment… Exxon’s wish was the CEQ’s command… each of the scientists on Exxon’s hit list was replaced

But that was only the start of the campaign to deny climate change.

“By having control of the energy plan, the vice president also had the reins on the climate policy,” says Symons, who sat in on Cheney’s energy task force. “The ideology is simple: You don’t put limits on greenhouse-gas pollution, because that might put limits on coal and oil – and that would hurt industry’s performance. Everything else flowed from that.”

“They decided they didn’t need to win the debate on climate,” says Piltz, the former official who exposed Cooney’s tactics. “They just had to leave an atmosphere of uncertainty about it and dissipate the will for political action.”

Draft documents made public by the House Oversight Committee reveal that Cooney [who was not a scientist] now had veto power over federal scientists, including Richard Moss, coordinator of the Climate Change Science Program Office, and even James Mahoney, the assistant commerce secretary nominally in charge of America’s climate science…

The most egregious example of cooked intelligence was a study underwritten in part by the API, Cooney’s former employer. The study, which purported to show that the twentieth century was not unusually warm, was authored by two astrophysicists, both of whom were on the payroll of the George C. Marshall Institute, a climate-denial group funded by ExxonMobil and now headed by Bill O’Keefe, Cooney’s former boss. The paper’s publication in a minor German journal in January 2003 quickly created a scandal, with the editor in chief and three other editors resigning in shame after acknowledging that the paper was fundamentally flawed and should never have been published…

The administration continues to hold up the discredited study as a counterweight to the IPCC’s scientific, peer-reviewed findings on global warming….

Although Cooney resigned in 2005, the campaign of disinformation he implemented had the desired effect. Two months after Cooney returned to work for ExxonMobil, the Cheney energy plan was passed into law. A massive giveaway for the fossil-fuel industry, the Energy Policy Act authorized $6 billion in subsidies for oil and gas production and another $9 billion for coal producers. Worst of all, the bill fast-tracked the construction of coal-fired power plants that would hasten global warming.

Indeed, the campaign to sow doubts about climate change has grown more aggressive in recent years. No longer is the administration simply censoring scientific reports – it has moved to silence the scientists themselves. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the administration refused to allow a top federal scientist whose research links increased hurricane intensity to global warming to speak to the press. It sent out a gag order to top government polar scientists, demanding that anyone attending international scientific conventions agree not to speak to reporters about “climate change, polar bears and sea ice.” And it ordered a former intern from the Bush-Cheney campaign in the NASA press office to prevent Dr. James Hansen, the godfather of global-warming science, from talking to the media.

Read the whole report by Rolling Stone, it goes into much more depth as to how this administration relentlessly ignored and censored data that did not agree with its policies, to the detriment of everyone.

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