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CLEAR SKIES 3: SOUND(s like) SCIENCE(but isn't): How Bush Is Perverting Science (english)
by Cheryl Seal
20 Nov 2003
Part 3 of "CLEAR LIES: The Dirty Deadly Truth about Bush's Clear Skies Initiative and the Catastrophic Bush-Cheney Energy Plan". Part 3 details how Bush is using junk science purveyed by "experts" on the corporate take to justify the unjustifiable and how he is stripping the US government of its most competent scientists and replacing them with corporate hacks and rightwingut zealots.
The entire Bush speech that introduced Clear Skies is so full of lies, manipulations, disinformation, and blatantly false promises that it would require a book to address each statement. In this article, I have selected 16 statements from the text of the speech and divided them into what I consider the Initiative’s five main issues: conservation (lack of), environmental health (devastation of), freemarket solutions (failure of), science (absence of), coal (dominance of), and nuclear energy (state sponsored terrorism).
Bush Clear Skies speech quotes in bold italics.
"When we make decisions, we want to make sure we do so on sound science; not what sounds good, but what is real."
Bush has never based decisions in any area on sound science. All decisions are based on corporate interests and junk claims that only SOUND like science to the uninformed which, alas, apparently includes a majority of Congressfolk. In January 2001 when Bush took office, he had immediate access to a recently completed, extensive report by DOE researchers that showed that energy efficiency and renewable power could cover 60% of the national need for new electric power plants over the next 20 years, while dramatically reducing air pollution.
But on April 30, Cheney claimed the U.S. needs to build at 1,300-1,900 new electric power plants (averaging 300 megawatts) between now and 2020, "more than one new plant per week” (his words). Bush also had access to 20 years of research by hundreds of the planet's most respected scientists in the report that shaped the Kyoto Protocol. Yet he rejected this work in favor of the voodoo "science" of a handful of "experts," many with dubious credentials, all with industry &/or political ties. While perhaps as many as 2,000 different researchers cumulatively contributed peer-reviewed work to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports that concluded that global warming is not only real but a serious problem for the planet, this administration has instead turned to rightwingnut “scientists” like S. Fred Singer, Fred Seitz, Sally Balliunas, and Steve Milloy whose willingness to testify to just about anything for cash, from the health benefits of DDT to the “unreality” of global warming, has made them the darlings of the rightwing corporate front groups (Cato Institute, Competitive Enterprise Institue, Heritage Foundation, etc.). The corporate media, of course, has played right into this insane game. In “balanced” coverage of environmental issues, you are likely to find one statement from a real scientist who represents thousands of researchers “balanced” against a statement from someone from the Cato Institute, who represents the opinion of maybe 10 corporate “experts.”
Bush’s assault on the integrity of science has even drawn the fire of the conservative editors at Science and Nature. One of the biggest grievances: the routine rejection of objective science and scientists in favor of less-well-credentialed people with often blatant conflicts of interest. Once again, even when it comes to creating policy affecting 260 million Americans, you are more likely to hear from corporate propagandists from the Heritage Foundation or American Enterprise Institute than you are from the National Science Foundation, Union of Concerned Scientists or the American Lung Association (in fact the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently slammed ALA research suggesting that air pollution may be bad for you). Here are some prime examples of Bush “sound science” experts.
~David Kay, Bush's top nuclear WMD inspector, has no science degree at all and was until 2002 the vice president of SAIC, one of the contractors most favored by the Bush Pentagon.
~Bush's "stem cell expert" was John Mendelsohn, a former Enron executive who was investigated for failing to inform patients participating in a colon cancer drug trial (ImClone) that he had a major financial stake in the outcome.
~ Bush's choice to head the FDA advisory panel that review's women's reproductive health drugs is David Hager, an obstetrician/gynecologist who recommends Scripture readings and prayers for everything form headache to premenstrual syndrome. Hager was chosen over Donald R. Mattison, former Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health and Michael F. Greene, director of maternal-fetal medicine at MAss. General.
~~ Michael Wetzman, chief of pediatrics at Rochester General Hospital and author of many publications on lead poisoning in children, was removed from the CDC's panel on childhood lead poisoning and replaced with a doctor with strong ties to the lead industry.
~~ A team of biologists who had been studying three endangered Missouri River fish species for ten years were removed after their report conflicted with the Bush agenda. They were replaced by biologists unfamiliar with both the fish species in question AND the Missouri River. (Nov 2003)
Plus, assorted letters to the editor, editorials, news shorts and commentaries in Science and Nature since Jan. 2001 detailing the trials and tribulations of scientists under the Bush regime.
"Global climate change presents a different set of challenges and requires a different strategy. The science is more complex, the answers are less certain, and the technology is less developed. “
The only answer Bush as president needs to concern himself with is extremely simple: human-generated emissions are driving global warming. This is not uncertain in any way shape or form except in the minds of the corporate execs making millions off polluting and the underinformed, brainwashed "skeptics" who buy into their myths.
One of the cornerstones of corporate rightwingnut “sound science” concerning global warming are studies by John Christy of NASA. Christy’s supposedly irrefutable satellite and radiosonde data showed that not only was the lower atmosphere (troposphere) NOT warming, as it should if the Earth were indeed getting warmer, but it was in fact cooling. These findings have been used to throw all of global warming science into “uncertainty” by those with a vested interest in having any mitigating action deferred – like the fossil fuel folks. Christy’s results were plastered across every website, magazine, newspaper, radio and television program they could be plastered. Meanwhile, no play at all was given to the dozens of peer-reviewed papers that questioned Christy’s results or pointed out possible explanations for results that contradict just about every accurate climatic model. Bush certainly placed more weight on Christy’s “science” than any of the hundreds of other studies and model that clearly point to a warming trend, one driven by human activity. Just look at this huge google listing on Christy’s stuff!! http://www.google.com/search?q=%22John+Christy%22++global+warming&btnG=G
Now, in the October 10 2003 issue of Science, researchers at the University of Maryland and the National Aeronautic and Oceanic Administration show that not only is the troposphere warming, but Christy’s results were based on extremely biased, gap-filled measurements: “We found nothing that would even remotely suggest the existence of a cooling trend in the troposphere temperature for the 1978-202 period.” Christy’s data failed to account for “little matters” like weather-induced instrument noise and natural daily and seasonal temperature variations. Yet Christy was the god of the anti-global warming cult, of whom Bush, of course, became high priest.
The solution is as plain as the Pinnochio nose on Bush's face: Reduce emissions. The solutions are there already, they just aren't being done: Reduce coal and oil use, tax SUVs heavily (right now SUV users are rewarded with tax breaks of up to $75,000!), increase oversight of power plants by state and federal agencies, increase the size of noncompliance fines, improve the electricity distribution system through software and other high-tech solutions, raze the 500 outdated filthiest coal-burning plants and replace them (at the same sites) with combined cycle natural gas turbines, require state of the art scrubbers on ALL existing coal-fired plants, and pour the lion’s share of incentive dollars into solar, fuel cell, and other alternatives with a clear deadline for marketable prototypes. If we’re lucky, we might just catch up with China in a few years.
"My administration is committed to cutting our nation's greenhouse gas intensity -- how much we emit per unit of economic activity -- by 18 percent over the next 10 years. "
This is not only a lie but a meaningless statement. It is meaningless because there is no such thing as “greenhouse gas intensity” – this is a totally made-up corporate term coined by the White House. In any case, the lungs of asthmatic children don’t become less sensitive to pollutants because there are more “units of economic activity.” The polar ice doesn’t suddenly cease melting because there are fewer units of economic activity. What makes this statement a lie is that Bush refuses to even consider regulating the NUMBER ONE greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide (CO2. US emissions CO2 from energy use will rise by 33% by 2010, compared with their 1990 levels. And by 2020, the outlook predicts, CO2 emissions will have almost doubled, to 47% up on 1990. In addition, under Bush's trading scheme, emissions will simply be redistributed, which could lead to hotspots where CO2 levels could even triple.
“Administration Stacks Scientific Advisory panels” http://www.ombwatch.org/article/articleview/1384/1/4/
Bush Administration Sidelines Seasoned Missouri River Scientists
"Well, they Were Doing It Too"
Donald Kennedy, editor in chief, Science Mag
Science, October 3, 2003
Global Warming Trend of Mean Tropospsheric Temperature Observed by Satellites “Science” October 10, 2003
Konstantin Y. Vinnikov, Dept. of Meteorology UMD College Park and Norman C. Grody, NOAA National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service
Scientists' research backs global warming trend
US Energy Information Administration 1999 (pre-Bush fact manipulation era) Outlook report
Natural Resources Defense Council
NOTE: Sample search through the Bush maze:
Trying to find CO2 information through the Bush government is like trying to work your way through a booby-trapped maze. You try the DOE site, but they inform you that the file on "all sources" of CO2 isn't available except as a pdf file. Then you click on this file, and nothing happens. After a moment, if you are alert, you will notice that the "http:" that should have been in the URL has been altered to read "ftp://ftp: You wonder if this is a special gov. routing code and eliminate the extra "ftp." Nothing happens. Then you think, hmm...what if I assume this has been intentionally screwed up and there never was an "ftp" in the real address. Bingo! erasing both ftps and inserting an "http:" gets you there. But then you discover a file that is all but impossible to read - double columned, squeezed into a small sub screen. And, you soon discover, there is no clear listing/breakdown of CO2 sources afterall. Instead, there is plenty of deceptive information -- such as lumping the single largest source of CO2, namely coal-fired power plants, into "commercial sources," with, we assume, everything from the furnace at mom and pop general stores to commercial greenhouses. The most telling thing of all, I thought, was the notice that the page had last been modified on October 31, 2003 - just as the energy bill debates on Capitol Hill get underway. That's probably when they slipped in the ftp://ftp
After leaving the DOE's worse than useless resources, I went to the EPA. But guess what? When you click on the appropriate hot link, you get an error message that tells you there's no such file and, by the way, help us track our errors by sending a special error report (yeah, right, and show up on someone's "person of interest" list as a suspected ecoterrorist for searching for CO2 data!). You put CO2 sources in the search bar, and bring up a file described as a CO2 emissions inventory. Except you discover, there's not inventory. Don't you love transparent government?