Democratic senators want scientific panel to audit climate reports
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Wednesday March 29, 2006
In an effort to prevent future government reports dealing with the issue of climate change from being altered by White House aides, three Democratic senators have called for such reports to be audited by the National Academy of Sciences, RAW STORY has learned.
In a letter to Wednesday, Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and John Kerry (D-MA) urged the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Deputy Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration James R. Mahoney, Ph.D, to put in place procedures that would give the NAS oversight for future scientific reports, including the annual “Our Changing Planet” report.
The New York Times revealed that Bush appointees were editing climate reports in a series of exposes last year.
Their letter follows.
The Honorable James R. Mahoney, Ph.D.
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
& Deputy Administrator,
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce
Washington, DC 20230
Dear Dr. Mahoney:
As you are well aware, the annual “Our Changing Planet” report and other federal climate science reports have been tainted by allegations of political interference and altered scientific findings in recent years. As you and the Climate Change Science Programject (CCSP) begin the task of preparing the “Our Changing Planet” reports for Fiscal Year 2007 and Fiscal Year 2008 – and any other reports that synthesize or summarize the results of federal climate science – we are writing to urge you to take immediate, extraordinary steps to repair public confidence in these reports and protect their scientific integrity.
In particular, the Fiscal Year 2003 edition of the annual “Our Changing Planet” climate change report and the 2003 “Strategic Plan for the United States Climate Change Science Program” were tainted by allegations of political interference and editing that altered thosee reports’ robust scientific findings.
We are writing specifically to request that you empower the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with an oversight and auditing role in the preparation of the upcoming “Our Changing Planet” report. The NAS could certify to the public that the final version of the Fiscal Year 2007 report accurately reflects scientific findings, not political wishful thinking. We also ask that you provide NAS a similar certification role for other climate science reports intended for use by decision-makers.
Global warming is one of the most serious challenges we face, and Congress mandated reports summarizing the results of federal climate research to provide a solid scientific basis for public policy. Political interference has now tainted these reports and diminished their usefulness to Congress and the American people.
Although you are leaving your position soon, we hope you will not delay in making the changes necessary to restore the integrity and reputation of the CCSP.
Our nation cannot afford to have a political cloud over government-sponsored scientific research. The NAS can play a critical role in maintaining the high level of independence and integrity that we expect from federally-supported science, so we can make the best decisions to protect current and future generations of Americans.
Senator Daniel K. Inouye,
Senator Frank R. Lautenberg,
Senator John F. Kerry