New climate report counters Bush administration record of denial, disinformation, cover-up and delay

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A report released May 29 by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States, summarizes evidence of global climate disruption, the harmful impacts it is already having on society and the environment, and future projections of potential damages. The report, years overdue under a requirement of law, was produced only in response to an August 2007 federal court order that an assessment be produced by May 31, 2008.  After seven years of denial, disinformation, cover-up, and delay, in its waning months, the Bush administration is finally beginning to allow the publication of reports that acknowledge scientific reality on the impacts of climate change.

See coverage by the Associated Press of the release of the report: “White House issues climate report 4 years late,” by Seth Borenstein, May 29, 2008.

From a Government Accountability Project press release, May 29, 2008:

May 29, 2008

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New Climate Report Counters Bush Administration’s Record of Denial, Disinformation, Cover-Up, and Delay

Years-Overdue Scientific Assessment Report Produced Under Federal Court Order

(Washington, D.C.) A report released today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States, summarizes evidence of global climate disruption, the harmful impacts it is already having on society and the environment, and future projections of potential damages. The report, years overdue under a requirement of law, was produced only in response to an August 2007 federal court order that an assessment be produced by May 31, 2008.

“This report discusses evidence of climate disruption that has been well-understood in the science community and in the government for some time,” said Rick Piltz, Director of the Government Accountability Project’s Climate Science Watch program. “After seven years of denial, disinformation, cover-up, and delay, in its waning months, the Bush administration is finally beginning to allow the publication of reports that acknowledge this scientific reality.”

“In 2001, the White House began to exaggerate a sense of scientific uncertainty about the climate change problem,” Piltz said. “They directed federal agencies to suppress references to and use of the National Assessment of Climate Change Impacts, a major federally supported assessment that was available from the beginning of this administration. As a result, the world has lost precious years to Bush administration officials’ spin, which has failed to prepare our country to deal effectively with the problem.”

By law, the assessment released today is to be transmitted to the President and to Congress.

Piltz added, “Will the President finally act on the impacts of climate change on agriculture, water resources, land use, biodiversity, and transportation? Or will he dismiss this as just another “report put out by the bureaucracy?”

The government report released today is posted on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Web site: http://www.climatescience.gov/

“The report released today was drafted secretively, with no public review,” Piltz said. “The National Academy of Sciences had called on the federal climate research program to use the original national climate change assessment, with its exemplary and pioneering engagement of stakeholders across the country, as a platform for moving forward in connecting the research program to meet the real needs of society’s decision-makers. But that process was suppressed, and instead we get this rather tepid re-hash of the scientific literature we’re already familiar with. This all underscores the need for the next president to move forward with fundamental reform of the federal climate science program and its relationship to society.

 

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