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white house axed global warming risks from epa report

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report on the state of the environment (released in June 2003) completely ignores the risks of global warming. That’s because the Bush administration deleted portions of the report identifying global warming as a threat to the environment and public health, The New York Times reported on June 19.

White House officials, who have numerous ties to the energy industry, undercut EPA scientists by insisting on sweeping revisions to the section on climate change. The officials downplayed analysis and suppressed findings on global warming that did not advance the Bush administration’s national energy policy. The Times obtained early drafts of the report and White House edits and interviewed several EPA insiders.

Among the deletions were references to studies concluding that carbon dioxide emissions are contributing to global warming and references to a 1999 study commissioned by the White House showing that global temperatures have risen sharply in the past decade compared with the last 1,000 years. Instead, the Bush administration chose to reference a new study that was partly financed by the American Petroleum Institute, a group dominated by ExxonMobil.

After EPA officials complained about the White House’s editing, the entire section on climate change was stricken and replaced with a couple of nondescript paragraphs on global warming. An internal EPA staff memo said that the section on climate "no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change," the Times reported. Another memo said that the White House’s edits would have tainted the agency because "EPA will take responsibility and severe criticism from the science and environmental communities for poorly representing the science."

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