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 user 2006-10-05 at 11:10:00 am Views: 102
  • #16750

    Bush Administration Quashes Own Scientists Agreement on Global Warming and Hurricanes
    oct 06
    In the wake of hurricane Katrina, we got a tip from a friend that some scientists were concerned that the government was misleading the public. In public statements, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) seemed to be ignoring any link between hurricanes and global warming. We submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to NOAA and have turned over some interesting stones.
    In an effort to avoid public embarrassment, NOAA scientists apparently attempted to forge a consensus among government experts about the link between hurricanes and global warming. What they came up with was a “Hurricane Fact Sheet” that was sent to NOAA headquarters for sign-off. That was last spring, and that fact sheet remains hidden from the public today.

    Silencing Scientists?
    We also uncovered a document through the FOIA request that shows a 13 step illustration of the guantlet that a press release has to go through to be approved. Talk about red tape.NOAA also asks its scientists to notify the Public Affairs office when they are working on something that might be “controversial”. Read NOAA’s media policy.So let’s get this straight, amplified hurricanes due to global warming is “controversial”? What if a scientist were to discover that bird’s migration patterns were being disrupted by global warming, or that snowmelt in the mountains was accelerated, or drought deepened or a heatwave worsened.Since when should a scientist have to judge the importance of their studies on a political controversy scale?This week, NATURE sheds light on this story with this news feature.For more background on this ongoing investigation by Greenpeace and others, here are some resources:
    Screening Scientist Interviews
    This shows a series of communications between a NOAA scientist and an employee of NOAA public affairs discussing two incidents in which reporters were denied the opportunity to interview him.
    Imposed Restrictions
    In this series of emails a NOAA public affairs official imposes restrictions on what questions a reporter may ask in an interview with a NOAA scientist. Read the e-mails.
    Leetma letter to Mahoney
    Ants Leetma, a NOAA senior scientist writes a scathing letter to the head of NOAA James Mahoney.  Dr. Leetma is upset about NOAAs misrepresentation of the current science available regarding the link between hurricanes and global warming.  He writes “It is disconcerting scientifically that … meteorologists were making decadal hurricane projections based on a phenomena of which they know nothing…” Read the letter.

    Protest Letter Regarding Hurricane Consensus
    This series of emails shows an incident in which senior NOAA scientists take serious issue with an official NOAA statement released by NOAA public affairs claiming increased Atlantic hurricane activity “is not related to greenhouse warming.”  They collaborate on writing a letter of protest to the Bush appointee Conrad Lautenbacher, NOAA Administrator.
    The New Republic dug into this story last February 2006, uncovering a muzzling of scientists on the subject of global warming and hurricanes.
    The New York Times covered how this document was blocked from release.
    Rueters gives a breakdown of the nature feature.
    The Providence Journal ran a telling story in March 2006 containing telling interviews with NOAA scientists and public affairs officials.
    US News and World Report finds NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher in conflict with his spokesman.
    Salon.com writer Paul Thacker revealed that the White House also had a hand on the muzzle.
    ABC News digs in and tries to get the truth from NOAA themselves.
    The Newark Star Ledger chronicles when the muzzle went on.
    Congressman Waxman’s office has dug its teeth into this story, sending a letter of complaint to the Secretary of Commerce (which overseas NOAA) demanding a full explanation.