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The Attitude of George W Bush’s Administration

Roy Luck ExxonMobil Refinery, Baytown TX From the Lynchburg Landing; shorebirds on a sandy beach.

ExxonMobil has not been the only American organization which has questioned the scientific consensus on climate change, and members of George W Bush’s administration were been prepared to edit scientific reports.  The New York Times reported in 2005 that, Philip A. Cooney, “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.”  The report adds that, “he removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved.”[1]  Dr. James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, also claimed, in 2006, that the Bush administration had tried to stop him from speaking out after he gave a lecture calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.  The report on Dr Hansen’s claims, in The New York Times, also said that, “The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the [U.S.] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone.”[2]

In the 2004 U.S. Presidential election The Observer said that “George W. Bush’s campaign workers have hit on an age-old political tactic to deal with the tricky subject of global warming – deny, and deny aggressively.” In an email sent on the 4th February 2004 to the press secretaries of all Republican congressmen the advice on what to say when questioned on the environment in the run-up to November’s election was tell them that everything’s rosy.  According to The Observer, the email, told them that “global warming has not been proved, air quality is ‘getting better’, the world’s forests are ‘spreading, not deadening’, oil reserves are ‘increasing, not decreasing’, and the ‘world’s water is cleaner and reaching more people’.”[3]  According to Rolling Stone Magazine the policy of the Bush Administration was not unconnected to ExxonMobil’s wishes.  Rolling Stone reported that, “In a fax sent to the CEQ on February 6th, 2001 – two weeks after Bush took office – ExxonMobil’s top lobbyist, Randy Randol, demanded a housecleaning of the scientists in charge of studying global warming. Exxon urged CEQ [the Council on Environmental Quality], to dump Robert Watson, who chaired the IPCC, along with Rosina Bierbaum and Mike MacCracken, who had coordinated the National Assessment.”  Eventually each of the scientists on ExxonMobil’s hit list was replaced.[4]

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States “produces about 25 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels”.[5]  The population of the United States was estimated by the U.N. to be just under 300 million in 2005, the global population to be 6.5 billion, the population of the United States was therefore 4.61% of the global population; less than one in twenty of the planet’s population.  As President Bush said in his 2006 State of the Union address, “America is addicted to oil”.[6]

(c) Andrew Palmer, 2016, please do not reproduce without permission.

[1] Andrew C. Revkin – “Bush Aide Softened Greenhouse Gas Links to Global Warming”, June 8, 2005, The New York Times

[2] Andrew C. Revkin – “Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him”, January 29, 2006, The New York Times

[3] Antony Barnett (New York) – “Bush attacks environment ‘scare stories’”, The Observer, London, Sunday April 4, 2004

[4] Tim Dickinson – “The Secret Campaign of President Bush’s Administration To Deny Global Warming”, Rolling Stone, June 28, 2007, http://www.rollingstone.com

[5] http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html

[6] MSNBC News Services, Feb. 1, 2006

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