A White House official who once led the oil industry’s fight against limits on greenhouse gases has repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that play down links between such emissions and global warming, according to internal documents.
In handwritten notes on drafts of several reports issued in 2002 and 2003, the official, Philip A. Cooney, removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.
The dozens of changes, while sometimes as subtle as the insertion of the phrase “significant and fundamental” before the word “uncertainties,” tend to produce an air of doubt about findings that most climate experts say are robust.
Mr. Cooney is chief of staff for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, the office that helps devise and promote administration policies on environmental issues.
Before going to the White House in 2001, he was the “climate team leader” and a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute, the largest trade group representing the interests of the oil industry. A lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in economics, he has no scientific training.
From the New York Times. Are we surprised? There’s a nice graphic in the NYT report showing ‘before’ and ‘after’ scans of a particular document.
The challenge for the USGCRP is to provide the best possible scientific basis for documenting, diagnosing, and projecting changes in the earth’s life-support systems, and the role for CCRI is to facilitate full use of this scientific information in policy and decisionmaking on response strategies for adaptation and mitigation at the international, national and regional scales.
The challenge for the USGCRP is to provide the best possible scientific basis for documenting, understanding and projecting changes in the Earth’s life-support systems, and the role for CCRI is to reduce the significant remaining uncertainties associated with human-induced climate change and facilitate full use of scientific information in policy and decisionmaking on possible response strategies for adaptation and migration.
[Changes in italics.]