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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Clouding a stormy issue

An issue like climate change (or global warming) is hard enough to get your head around without obfuscation. Turns out the Bush Jr White House has been trying to make it even harder.

There is genuine debate, in the scientific community, about whether climate change is making hurricanes bigger, stronger and more damaging. The idea that global warming and hurricane damage could be tied together poses an uncomfortable question to the Bush Jr White House. If there's a potential link, then given the administration's failings in response to Katrina, and the ongoing economic cost of devastating hurricanes, why is the Bush Jr White House so inactive on climate crisis issues?

The Bush Jr White House reaction? Gag government scientists to keep them from speaking to the public.

From Slate:

Nature magazine recently reported that when a panel of NOAA scientists drafted a consensus statement on the issue suggesting that warming might be affecting hurricanes, administrators quashed it.

The same story was also reported by the Associated Press (link goes to CBS news, which ran the AP story), and over at Salon.com, they found the evidence: e-mails from administration officials in the Department of Commerce, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and at the National Hurricane Center.

If you were a government scientist whose research suggested a link between climate change and hurricanes, you weren't allowed to tell the public -- the same public that paid for the research via their taxes.


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