Resignation of Rick Piltz from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program


News coverage of the resignation of Rick Piltz from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program in March 2005:


See subsequent posts, including:

June 2, 2005: On Issues of Concern About the Governance and Direction of the Climate Change Science Program

June 8, 2005: Bush Aide Edited Climate Reports: Ex-Oil Lobbyist Softened Greenhouse Gas Links (NY Times)

June 15, 2005: Bush Administration Censor Resigns, Moves to ExxonMobil

June 20, 2005: Low-Ball-Warming: Chris Mooney on the Resignation of Rick Piltz

June 21, 2005: Blowing the Whistle on Climate Change

Brian Stempeck and Andrew Freedman, "Climate official resigns, blasting White House interference," Greenwire, March 4, 2005. Copyright 2005 E&E Publishing, LLC

Rick Piltz, senior associate with the Climate Change Science Program, said he would resign at the end of next week after 10 years at CCSP and the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the agencies responsible for federal climate research.

Piltz expressed frustration with what he sees as the intrusion of politics into the scientific arena and a questionable scientific review process overseen by top White House officials.

"I resigned because of a number of differences with the Bush administration’s approach to climate change and climate science over the past four years," Piltz wrote in an e-mail to Greenwire this morning.

"He felt some differences in his view about the way the work is being done," said James Mahoney, director of CCSP and deputy administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "I certainly have commended him for his diligent work over 10 years on the program," Mahoney added, noting that Piltz is only one of the 300 officials working on CCSP reports.

But other climate researchers say Piltz’s resignation should send a message to the Bush administration.

Abraham, Carolyn, "No faith in science," Globe and Mail (Canada), April 9, 2005. Copyright 2005 Bell Globemedia Publishing, Inc.

In March, Rick Piltz, a former senior associate with the federal Climate Change Science Program, resigned from his job of 10 years. He said he wanted to contribute "to public understanding of the problem of what happens when scientific assessments of climate change are misused in the political arena."

Mr. Piltz alleged in an interview that the government has "essentially suppressed the use of the most substantial scientific assessment undertaken by the program in its 15-year history."

The administration was displeased with its findings, he alleged, so that the National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change compiled by hundreds of U.S. scientists was sent "into a black hole," playing no role in strategy planning or reports to Congress.

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