I know. It’s an old story, old news. And this administration lies and/or hides the truth so often on so many things (Iraq, Iran, Medicare D, Stem Cell research, the radical beliefs of its Supreme Court nominees, Abramoff’s contacts with the White House, Journalists and Pundits paid for to publish propaganda, Spying on Americans, etc., etc., ad nauseum), that it can be hard to ratchet up one’s outrage meter for one more example of this administration’s craven and dishonest approach to governance.
But this one is critical. It’s about the survival of the human race, goddamit!
Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.
More below the fold . . .
Employees and contractors working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, along with a U.S. Geological Survey scientist working at an NOAA lab, said in interviews that over the past year administration officials have chastised them for speaking on policy questions; removed references to global warming from their reports, news releases and conference Web sites; investigated news leaks; and sometimes urged them to stop speaking to the media altogether. Their accounts indicate that the ideological battle over climate-change research, which first came to light at NASA, is being fought in other federal science agencies as well.
These are critical times for our planet. If we hope to have any chance to offset the dangerous effects of global warming (melting glaciers, rising oceans, more violent and deadly weather patterns, increased spread of disease vectors, loss of species, etc.) we have to begin doing something right now. Not next year, not next month, not next week. Today.
yet we have a President, aided and abetted by the most corrupt political party in American history (uh, yes Republicans, I’m talking about your party), in bed with major industries (Big Oil, most prominently, but also Mining interests) that, for their own selfish and greedy purposes, don’t want the truth about global warming to come out:
1) That it is primarily being driven by our burning of fossil fuels leading to far greater emissions of greenhouse gases than the Earth can sustain.
2) That scientists see warming occurring at faster rates than even their own models had predicted.
3) That the failure to act will result in the deaths of millions of people (at a minimum) from its effects, and the mass extinction of many of the species of plants and animals on this planet.
4) That, left unchecked, man made global warming even risks the future survival of the human race itself.
Some may call that alarmist. It’s not. Its reality. Our reality, and its coming at us like a freight train. And while it gathers speed, our President is doing everything in his power to ensure that the majority of Americans are kept blissfully ignorant of the frightening ecological catastrophes that are headed our way. That’s not just stupid on his part, and its not just more evidence of hidden agendas and a culture of corruption by his administration and his supporters.
It’s Criminally Insane.
These scientists — working nationwide in research centers in such places as Princeton, N.J., and Boulder, Colo. — say they are required to clear all media requests with administration officials, something they did not have to do until the summer of 2004. Before then, point climate researchers — unlike staff members in the Justice or State departments, which have long-standing policies restricting access to reporters — were relatively free to discuss their findings without strict agency oversight.
“There has been a change in how we’re expected to interact with the press,” said Pieter Tans, who measures greenhouse gases linked to global warming and has worked at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder for two decades. He added that although he often “ignores the rules” the administration has instituted, when it comes to his colleagues, “some people feel intimidated — I see that.”
Christopher Milly, a hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, said he had problems twice while drafting news releases on scientific papers describing how climate change would affect the nation’s water supply.
Once in 2002, Milly said, Interior officials declined to issue a news release on grounds that it would cause “great problems with the department.” In November 2005, they agreed to issue a release on a different climate-related paper, Milly said, but “purged key words from the releases, including ‘global warming,’ ‘warming climate’ and ‘climate change.’ “ […]
The need for clearance from Washington, several NOAA scientists said, amounts to a “pocket veto” allowing administration officials to block interviews by not giving permission in time for journalists’ deadlines.
Ronald Stouffer, a climate research scientist at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, estimated his media requests have dropped in half because it took so long to get clearance to talk from NOAA headquarters. Thomas Delworth, one of Stouffer’s colleagues, said the policy means Americans have only “a partial sense” of what government scientists have learned about climate change.
“American taxpayers are paying the bill, and they have a right to know what we’re doing,” he said.
Iraq has been a disaster. Iran looks to become one. Our national debt is souring because of Bush’s irrational tax cuts. People right and left are losing their health insurance coverage at a time when Bush proposes only the bandaid approach health care saving accounts to solve the nation’s health care crisis. Yet, in my view, there is no issue more paramount than this one. None, nada, zip.
Democrats, please. Follow the lead of Al Gore. Make this issue a priority in the coming election. Don’t look at poll numbers of focus group data for a change. Attack this administration on its policy of denying global warming. Call Bush on his bullshit. Lead.
It’s the most important thing you could ever do for your country, and the world.