Climate Researchers Feeling Heat From White House
Posted on Apr 6, 2006
Bush & Co. have apparently been muzzling climate scientists from speaking forthrightly to the public about global warming. Shocker, right?
Perhaps they thought last week’s head fake on giving more free rein to NASA scientists would throw reporters off the scent….
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.
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 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.
Arctic ice caps (home to this bear)
have already started melting at an
alarming rate—threatening inhabited
coastal areas worldwide.