Former White House official doctored global-warming reports to undercut scientific findings

Philip Cooney, former chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, has acknowledged at a House hearing some of the changes he made were “to align these communications with the administration's stated policy” on climate change.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, said “my concern is that there was a concerted White House effort to inject uncertainty into the climate debate.”

Waxman's committee also heard from James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and one of the country's leading climate scientists, who said the White House repeatedly tried to control what government scientists say to the public and media about climate change.


Cooney is an obvious target, but the more subtle contrarians are a bit more dangerous. People such as conservative favorite Roger Pielke Jr. who has been playing footsie with skeptics, by writing for the Cato Institute and testifying for Republicans. The point is….why do journalists call this guy when he has published almost nothing in the peer-reviewed literature?

Hansen keeps griping about how White House apparatchiks try to tell him what to say and how they attempt to muzzle him yet he never seems to be too far out of the media spotlight. As for this Cooney guy who allegedly does the re-writes, why would he need to bother? There is enough information out there from all kinds of sources to make it abundantly clear that the science on climate change is not settled (despite the IPCC) and that there is no consensus about the causes of climate change.

As usual the point of the article seems to have been lost. If you read carefully the issue at hand is the edits were made by a bureaucrat 1) without authorization from the original authors 2) a person who has no climate science related background and 3) to raise eyebrows, prior to working for Bush Admin was employed by the petroleum institute. Opps maybe he thought the authors wouldn’t notice the changes.


“”In 2002-2003 while at the White House CEQ, Cooney made dozens of edits to federal reports on global warming to amplify the uncertainties and downplay the link to human activities. Days after the New York Times reported Cooney’s meddling in June 2005, he resigned his White House post and Exxon Mobil announced that it had hired him.””

As for the proof of him making the alleged edits as you ask its actually an admission from himself.

“”During a March 2007 congressional hearing, Cooney conceded his role in altering reports to downplay the adverse effects of man-made emissions on the planet’s climate. “My sole loyalty was to the President and advancing the policies of his administration,” he told the house government reform committee.””

Well, I am shocked, so he says editing reports to fit policy is practiced by the Bush Admin. Least it turns out his friends in Oil still support him; guess unethical meddling of scientific work is acceptable in the moral compass of oil companies, like Exxon. I know this would be a giant leap but perhaps, all of this information that you mention, is not as strong as you want to think. Just a leap, I know.

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why would he need to bother? There is enough information out there from all kinds of sources to make it abundantly clear that the science on climate change is not settled…

John, re-read the post. Your question may contain its own answer, don’t you think?

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In watching the House Hearing yesterday I heard Philip Cooney say that his editing of climate change science reports were recommendations subject to final reconciliation by Dr. John R. Mahoney. Will they go after Mahoney now?

Good stuff rooting out Cooney as the “famous global warming denier” who had something to do with this edited report on the human health effects of global warming. I know you had mentioned Cooney in previous DeSmogBlog denier reports.

PBS is also outing Cooney as the editor: “Philip Cooney, a lawyer and former energy industry lobbyist, was making changes to reports on behalf of the White House and that it was part of a pattern to downplay the effects of global warming”.

[I did too!]

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