George W. Bush's White House has been charged repeatedly with using its influence to undermine environmental protection. The Senate confirmation hearing on Bush's nomination of Utah Governor Michael Leavitt as head of the Environmental Protection Agency provided another forum for scrutinizing Bush's environmental record, according to the New York Times.
"White House officials have undermined their own government scientists' research into climate change to play down the impact of global warming," Paul Harris reports in the Observer. "Emails and internal government documents obtained by The Observer show that officials have sought to edit or remove research warning that the problem is serious.
The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington DC-based think tank that is funded by right-wing foundations and industries that deny global warming, sued the Bush administration over its 2000 report on climate change. The New York Times reports CEI is trying to stop the government from distributing the report, saying it is inaccurate and biased.
In its recent attempt to revise an EPA report on climate change and the environment, the White House cites a study by Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics that has drawn harsh criticism from climatologists. "Greenhouse skeptics, pro-industry groups and political conservatives have seized on the results," David Appell writes in Scientific American.
"The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to publish a draft report next week on the state of the environment, but after editing by the White House, a long section describing risks from rising global temperatures has been whittled to a few noncommittal paragraphs," the New York Times reports. "The editing eliminated references to many studies concluding that warming is at least partly caused by rising concentrations of smokestack and tail-pipe emissions and could threaten health and ecosystems.
Five years after car industry and other lobbyists killed US ratification of the Kyoto treaty, a minimal effort to limit climate change, the General Motors corporation is selling its 11-miles-per-gallon Hummer. The company can barely keep up with surging American demand for the $50,000 behemoth, a version of a US military vehicle popularized during the first Iraq War. According to Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, marketing guru to the auto industry, "People told me, 'I can protect my family.
The Canadian firm National PR inadvertently sent an email instructing Conservative members of the Ontario Parliament how to "undermine the Kyoto Protocol" to Liberal members who support the accord. The National Post reported the misdirected email caused "embarrassment for a government that has yet to take a clear stand on the international plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions." National PR, which is partly owned by PR giant Burson-Marsteller, helped organize the anti-Kyoto front group the Canadian Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions.
"National PR is organizing the debut tomorrow of the Coalition for Responsible Environmental Solutions, a group composed of Canada's trade associations largely opposed to the country's plan to adopt the Kyoto global warming treaty. ... [R]epresentatives from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives will outline the Coalition's goals during a press conference tomorrow in Ottawa. ...
"Cheap heating bills! Great gardens! Thriving civilizations! In energy-crazed Houston, friends of greenhouse gases abound," writes Dylan Krider as he examines the career of Gerald T. Westbrook and other global warming skeptics.
"In an extraordinarily secretive maneuver, the Bush administration has subtly altered its position on global warming, officially admitting that there is a crisis while still declining to offer policies to combat it," reports the Guardian. "A government report to the UN says that global warming exists, that it is man-made, and that it will transform the environment - all points that the current US government, while never actually denying, has been reluctant to accept.