Cheney Bypassed Environmentally ‘Clueless’ Bush To Craft Administration’s Climate Change Agenda

cheneyclose1.jpgIn a comprehensive report this week, Rolling Stone magazine investigates the Bush administration’s “secret campaign to deny global warming.” The article documents the administration’s repeated attempts to use “cooked intelligence,” stay beholden to big industry interests, and stifle internal dissent on climate change.

The report highlights Dick Cheney’s surreptitious role in developing Bush’s pro-industry climate agenda, arguing Cheney took “full advantage of the president’s cluelessness” on climate change. Rolling Stone argues Bush played along with Cheney’s arm-twisting, which culminated most recently in his decision to bypass the G8 climate resolution. Some hey highlights from the article:

Cheney personally stalled Bush’s campaign pledge to regulate global warming:

In September 2000, Bush pledged to place caps on carbon emissions. In response, Cheney armed the White House Committee on Environmental Quality with industry heavyweights. Thereafter, “a CEQ memo concluded Bush’s promise to regulate CO2 ‘did not fully reflect the president’s position’ and that ‘it would be premature at this time to propose any specific policy or approach aimed at addressing global warming.'” The authors stated that “the current state of scientific knowledge about causes of and solutions to global warming is inconclusive.”

Cheney appointee dismissed administration’s own warnings of global warming:

A 2002 Environmental Protection Agency report detailed “far-reaching effects that global warming will inflict” and “for the first time mostly blames human actions for recent global warming.” In response, a “horrified” Cheney appointee, Philip Cooney, wrote a letter to the New York Times “denying” that the paper marked any shift in Bush’s stance.

The letter written by Cooney and edited by Karl Rove – insisted that Bush’s climate change policy “reinforces” the “significant scientific uncertainties” present in climate change science. Soon after, Bush publicly dismissed the EPA report, saying it had been “put out by the bureaucracy.”

Cheney stovepiped disreputable climate change studies denying global warming:

“The most egregious example of cooked intelligence” occurred when Cooney promoted a study “which purported to show that the twentieth century was not unusually warm,” authored by a group funded by Exxon-Mobil. The paper was considered “fundamentally flawed and should never have been published,” according to the journal’s editors.

“The study gave Cheney’s office the quasi-plausible refutation of climate science it was waiting for…the administration continues to hold up the discredited study as a counterweight to the IPCC‘s scientific, peer-reviewed findings on global warming.” Testifying before Congress in March 2007, White House science adviser Jim Connaughton hailed the study as a “new and major piece of science.”

Despite Cheney derailing Bush’s own campaign promises, the report makes clear that the president has done nothing to decrease the influence of an official who, as recently as February 2007, stated “there does not appear to be a consensus” that global warming is caused by man.