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Democracy has been taken for granted at a time when it is most endangered. Neo-Conservatives are organized to replace it with oligarchy, to replace consent for the rule of law with fascistic allegiance to the executive branch disguised as "patriotism." As a team made up of a political philosopher and a writer, we consider otherwise repressed information from a critical perspective in the hope of elevating the quality of our political dialogue so that it is worthy of a truly democratic society.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Official Played Down Emissions' Links to Global Warming
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
from today's New York Times:

"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.

"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 coming 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.

"The documents were obtained by The New York Times from the Government Accountability Project, a nonprofit legal-assistance group for government whistle-blowers. The project is representing Rick S. Piltz, who resigned in March after a decade working in the office that coordinates government climate research and issued the documents that Mr. Cooney edited.

"A White House spokeswoman, Michele St. Martin, said today that Mr. Cooney would not be made available to comment. 'We don't put Phil Cooney on the record,' she said. 'He's not a cleared spokesman.'

"Other White House officials said today that the changes made by Mr. Cooney were part of the normal interagency review that takes place on all documents related to global environmental change. 'All comments are reviewed, and some are accepted and some are rejected,' said Robert Hopkins, a spokesman for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. He noted that one of the reports Mr. Cooney worked on, the administration's 10-year plan for climate research, was strongly endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences.

"And Myron Ebell, who has long campaigned against limits on greenhouse gases as director of climate policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian group, said such editing was necessary for 'consistency' in meshing programs with policy.

"But critics said that while all administrations routinely vet government reports, scientific content in such reports should be reviewed by the White House Science and Technology Office. Climate experts and representatives of environmental groups, when shown examples of the revisions, said they illustrated the significant if largely invisible influence of Mr. Cooney and other White House officials with ties to energy industries that have long fought greenhouse-gas restrictions. " [...]

Read the entire article here. (Requires a free, one-time registration)

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