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Editor of Bush climate report resigns


Philip A. Cooney, the chief of staff to President Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality, resigned yesterday, White House officials told the (registration-restricted) New York Times for Saturday's editions. Excerpts follow.


Mr. Cooney’s resignation came two days after documents revealed that he had repeatedly edited government climate reports in ways that cast doubt on the link between building greenhouse-gas emissions and rising temperatures.

Mr. Cooney has no scientific training. Dana Perino, a deputy White House press secretary, said Mr. Cooney “had long been considering his options following four years of service in the administration.” Ms. Perino said the decision was unrelated to revelations about the documents. Mr. Cooney did not return e-mails messages or phone messages left at his home.


Before moving to the White House in 2001, Mr. Cooney, 45, was a lawyer for the American Petroleum Institute, the main lobby for the oil industry, and held the position of “climate team leader,” in which he fought restrictions on greenhouse gases.

The documents, first described on Wednesday in The New York Times , stirred reactions ranging from defenses of Mr. Cooney by oil lobbyists to strident criticism by environmental groups and satire from Jon Stewart on his comedy-news program “The Daily Show.”

Most scientists and scientific groups, including the National Academy of Sciences in a letter released this week, have said the relationship between greenhouse-gas emissions and warming is clear enough to justify prompt actions by countries to curb emissions.

Philip Clapp, the president of the National Environmental Trust, an environmental group in Washington, said the problem with White House treatment of the climate issue was broader than just one person.

“His resignation is less surprising than the fact that the lead oil industry lobbyist on global warming should have been given this kind of power over climate science and scientists,” Mr. Clapp said.

Originally published on Saturday June 11, 2005.


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