White House Increased Climate Change Spin, After Katrina

President Bush hugs Katrina victims in Biloxi, Miss. (<a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/hurricane/photoessays/2005/essay2/01.html" target="_blank">White House photo</a>)Through a Freedom of Information Act request, Salon.com obtained "a large batch of emails" which show that, on climate change issues, the Bush administration was "controlling access to [government] scientists and vetting reporters," reports Paul D. Thacker. The emails are from, to or about employees of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and National Hurricane Center. "After Hurricane Katrina, NOAA press officers had to get clearance from the Department of Commerce for scientists to discuss global warming and hurricanes with the press," Thacker reports. Commerce "was happy to have a ... politically reliable NOAA hurricane researcher named Chris Landsea speak to the press. At the time, Landsea was stating publicly that global warming had little to no effect on hurricanes." Still, a Commerce communications official sent emails stressing that Landsea must be "on message" and "on his toes. Since [redacted] went off the menu, I'm a little nervous on this, but trust he'll hold the course." Other emails suggest that Commerce kept NOAA scientist Tom Knutson, who "did not toe the line on the administration's view of global warming and hurricanes," from appearing on CNBC.