Global Warming and the Bush Administration

Global warming is a hot topic in the news this week, and not just because the Bush administration suppressed an EPA Report on the subject. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution expressed an appropriate amount of outrage at the Bush administration's behavior:

There is a dangerous pattern emerging from the Bush administration: If the facts don't suit President Bush's policies, distort them.

Now comes news that an important Environmental Protection Agency report leaves out critical scientific facts on global warming -- even facts confirmed by a special study requested by the president himself last year. That study substantiated the Earth's alarming temperature increase over the last decade and its major cause, increased carbon dioxide emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. The biggest sources are automobiles and coal-fired utilities.

Deleted from the report, for example, is even the simple statement upon which scientists agree: "Climate change has global consequences for human health and the environment." That statement is replaced with one meant to obfuscate and confuse; it cites the complexities of the issue and the need to resolve uncertainties. The White House changes were so extensive, according to an April 29 EPA staff memo given to the media by a former EPA official, that the report's climate section "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change."

The president's refusal to face the facts on global warming cannot be construed as anything other than blatant pandering to his friends in Big Oil. They have spent years minimizing scientific facts and refusing to concede the need for conservation and alternative energy sources that could save our children from serious economic and environmental consequences.

Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.), the ranking minority member on the Senate Environment and Public Works committee, along with several Democratic committee members, has asked the White House for the original drafts of the climate change section. Members on both sides of the aisle are obligated to find out to what extent the American people are being misled on a matter at least as important to the future security of the nation as Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

In case you were wondering whether the evidence of global warming is overstated, or just a bunch of treehugging, hippie hype, a report from the United Nations' World Meteoroligical Organization puts warming into numbers that only an idiot would ignore:

In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change.

It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The 10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and 2001.

Democratic Presidential candidate Howard Dean had a few choice words for the Bush administration's attitude on global warming at a debate hosted by the League of Conservation Voters:

OLNEY: Governor Dean, is there any, in your mind, any scientific disagreement about global warming that’s significant, or do you think it really is an established fact?

DEAN: It’s an established fact unless you’re in the Bush Administration. It’s clearly a scientific—I agree with Joe [Lieberman]—one of the things that drives me absolutely crazy, in all areas, not just the environmental area, is this president is willing to discard science because he doesn’t care about science. This is an administration that has substituted ideology for thought. You can’t run a country, you can’t run a state, your can’t run a company if facts don’t matter. And facts don’t matter to this administration.