Thursday, July 10, 2008

The War on Truth

So, having finished their multicourse meals, the leaders of the G8 now stand in front of a bunch of rocks to announce that they have agreed to nothing new. But who knows, and who calls them on it?

Meanwhile, an even more vile story of the US government's War on Truth gets covered up by all the pomp and poop from Japan.

Here is part of the story from the Guardian:

Blowing the whistle on climate change

New evidence shows the extent to which the White House censored scientific reports on the dangers of global warming

by Kate Sheppard
The Guardian
Thursday July 10, 2008

While George Bush and other G8 leaders were busy touting their agreement in Hokkaido to halve global emissions by 2050 as "a significant step forward" for climate action, this week's real story on climate flew under the radar back in the US, as a former Environmental Protection Agency official went public with allegations that vice-president Dick Cheney's office interfered directly with information about the threats posed to humankind by climate change.

In a letter (pdf) made public this week, former EPA associate deputy administrator Jason Burnett indicated that both the office of the vice-president and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have directly attempted to censor discussions of the consequences that global warming poses to human health.

Burnett headed the EPA's efforts to respond to the US supreme court's early 2007 decision in Massachusetts v EPA that the agency has a responsibility to regulate tail pipe emissions under the Clean Air Act.

By December 2007, the EPA's experts had prepared their endangerment findings and, as leaked drafts have indicated, concluded that the benefits of new, tougher fuel efficiency standards "far outweigh their costs" and "the net benefit to society could be in excess of $2 trillion" through 2040 if fuel efficiency standards for automobiles are raised "well above 35 mpg".

This, of course, directly contradicts President Bush's claim in April that using the Clean Air Act to curb greenhouse-gas emissions "would have crippling effects on our entire economy".

But Burnett says that the White House asked him not to send the endangerment findings, after he had already e-mailed them to the White House Office of Management and Budget. Upon realising the document had already been sent, Burnett says he received a "phone call from the White House" asking him to send a follow-up email saying that the document "had been sent in error". Burnett says he "explained I could not do this because it was not true".

The White House decided not to open the e-mail, and it's since been hanging out in the ether while the EPA and the White House continue to battle over whether their official rulemaking notice should reflect the scientific findings of experts or the White House's ideological desires.

But Burnett spilled about more than just this recent scuffle.

He also noted that in the fall of 2007, the Council on Environmental Quality and the Cheney's office asked him to work with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to remove portions of a report detailing the threats that climate change poses to human health. The document in question was the testimony that Julie Gerberding, director of the CDC, had prepared to give before the Senate environment and public works committee about the human impacts of global warming.

After her testimony in October 2007, it came to light that the White House had edited it down from 14 pages to a mere four, cutting the six pages detailing the diseases and other health problems that would be exacerbated by a warming planet.

Burnett's letter this week was the first evidence, however, that the call for edits came directly from Cheney's office, which he says asked him to "remove from the testimony any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change". (more)

Yes, you got it. Here is the smoking gun that the VPOTUS is willing to endanger all of our lives so that he can continue to enrich himself and his oil and gas constituency.

Ms. Sheppard closes with this:

While all this information about the White House's continued efforts to undermine the science on climate change was coming to light, Bush was in Japan hailing the G8's agreement as "significant progress" against the threat of global warming. How's that for cognitive dissonance?

Yet the long-term goal of cutting emissions 50% by 2050 is well below the 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 that most scientists agree is necessary. And even that lower goal lacks an implementation plan with teeth to force world leaders to comply.

More importantly this new agreement is exactly the same goal that the leaders of the G8 and nearly 200 other countries signed on to at the original UN climate change convention in Brazil in 1992.

So Bush can sign on to this deal and get the good press for his final G8 summit while never having to lift a finger to actually work toward that goal. Meanwhile, his administration continues to undermine the work of scientists and economists back in the US – even those appointed by Bush – in the interest of further obstructing awareness and action."

So as the leaders of G8 prance and preen before their cameras,

Waging their war against truth ,

they play us as the schmucks we are,

even being the pawns they have become.


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