EMAILS: Bush Officials Blocked Scientist From Discussing Global Warming/Hurricane Link

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), ranking member on the Government Reform Committee, has just released a series of emails from the Department of Commerce that suggest that Bush officials “tried to suppress a federal scientist from discussing the link between global warming and hurricanes.”

In a letter to Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez, Waxman details how CNBC requested an interview with NOAA scientist Tom Knutson in October 2005 — one month after Hurricane Katrina — “to discuss whether global warming is contributing to the number or intensity of hurricanes.”

CNBC’s request was forwarded from NOAA to Chuck Fuqua in your office. Mr. Fuqua is currently a press officer. He used to be the Director of Media Operations for the 2004 Republican National Convention.

Upon receiving the request, Mr. Fuqua emailed back to NOAA, “what is Knutson’s position on global warming vs. decadal cycles? is he consistent with Bell and Landsea?” … [Dr. Gary Bell and meteorologist Chris Landsea have both expressed doubts about connections between global warming and hurricanes.]

NOAA responded to Mr. Fuqua that Dr. Knutson projected a “very small increase in hurricane intensity” due to increased greenhouse gas pollution. Mr. Fuqua responded, “why can’t we have one of the other guys then?”

This apparently ended the matter. NOAA’s Daily Media Tracking Log states that the request for the interview with Dr. Knutson was subsequently denied.

Whether Bush officials admit it or not, the scientific link between global warming and hurricane intensity is strong, and was bolstered again by a report released last week.

Read a full copy of Waxman’s letter HERE, and read copies of the emails HERE. Also, read about Waxman’s Safe Climate Act — the first bill ever to target global warming pollution.

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