Climate Change: Censored

Yeah, you’ve probably heard that before, since Newsweek and other publications have chronicled the Bush Administration’s efforts to squelch scientists who conclude that climate change is real, caused by human activities and not a good thing, to put it mildly. Still, there’s something about having it all tied up in a neat congressional report, as Rep. Henry Waxman is releasing this morning, that really hits you in the face.

Unlike mere journalists, to whom sources can lie with impunity, congressional investigators have the power to put people under oath, holding over them the prospect of a perjury indictment if they lie. Funny how that leads to all sorts of revelations. Media requests to interview climate scientists were routinely punted to the White House environment office, says one career official. Asked by Waxman’s staffers,

The White House also knew better than scientists what the research showed, apparently, for when Thomas Karl, director of National Climatic Data Center, appeared before Waxman’s House Oversight Committee last year, his testimony was edited by White House officials and the Commerce Department. According to Waxman’s investigators, “He was not allowed to say in his written testimony that ‘modern climate change is dominated by human influences,’ that ‘we are venturing into the unknown territory with changes in climate,’ or that ‘it is very likely (>95 percent probability) that humans are largely responsible for many of the observed changes in climate.’ His assertion that global warming ‘is playing’ a role in increased hurricane intensity became ‘may play’.” There are plenty more where that came from.

And people still wonder why so many Americans do not understand climate change?