Climate of Meddling

From Exxon-lobbyist memos to White House-deleted notes on the health impact of global warming, seven key dates in the Bush administration’s eight-year scuffle with a green planet.

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Feb 6, 2001: ExxonMobil lobbyist Randy Randol faxes the just-arrived administration a memo calling for a number of top climate scientists to be “removed from their positions of influence”—especially the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chair Robert Watson (described as having been “hand picked by Al Gore”). A year later, the administration campaigns against Watson’s reelection to the international post.

June 5, 2002: President Bush disses a study from his own government that emphasizes that climate change is human caused and will have serious impacts on the United States. Bush calls it a “report put out by the bureaucracy.”

Sept 15, 2002: An annual epa report on air pollution omits its section on global warming “for the first time in six years,” reports the New York Times.

June 19, 2003: The Times reveals that the White House has heavily edited the climate change section of another epa report—even removing references to a study by the National Academy of Sciences that the president himself had requested. epa scientists object, saying the report “no longer accurately represents scientific consensus on climate change.” The agency ultimately opts to leave climate change out of the report entirely.

June 8, 2005: More examples emerge of the White House editing climate science documents. This time the culprit is Philip Cooney, a former lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute who now works at the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Cooney departs amid the scandal and takes a job with ExxonMobil.

Jan 29, 2006: nasa climate expert James Hansen goes public with charges that the administration sought to prevent him from openly discussing severe global warming risks. His chief oppressor? A twentysomething political appointee named George Deutsch, who describes his role as “to make the president look good.”

Oct 25, 2007: The White House edits congressional testimony on the public health impacts of climate change to be delivered by cdc director Julie Gerberding. Among the cuts: that climate change represents “a serious public health concern.”

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate