President Bush has long had problems with science. In his first term, Bush used his own vaulted scientific knowledge to dismiss the findings of his own EPA scientists on global warming as “junk science.” Click here. Since that time, he has led one of the most anti-environmental administrations in history and turned the United States into the global villain in opposing significant steps to combat global warming. Now, after scientists linked the threat against polar bears to global warming, Bush is moving to reduce the authority of scientists on such questions. He may have learned this technique on his recent trip to China where the government is a kindred spirit on the environment. The Chinese recently changed pollution forecasts by changing the forecasters, here.
The Administration has long been cited for abuses of scientists from gagging them in speaking publicly about evidence of global warming to changing or burying scientific findings, click here and here. Now, in the wake of the polar bear finding, Bush realizes that the problem with the contrary science is simple: the scientists themselves.
The proposal would reduce the mandatory, independent reviews that government scientists have been performing for 35 years. Notably, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne admits that they are seeking the changes to ensure that the Endangered Species Act would not be used as a “back door” to regulate the gases blamed for global warming.
It is a legacy that rivals Nero on the environment. Bush will go down to his last hour of his last day in office fighting efforts to avoid global disasters and to protect citizens from the growing health dangers associated with various pollutants. For environmentalists, he cuts a tragic figure of a clueless executive fiddling as the world burns.
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