Lots more on the document-editing scandal.
As Lisa and Andy note below, the fuss du jour is over Philip Cooney’s editing of scientific gov’t reports on climate change to exaggerate the appearance of uncertainty. Two of the finest science bloggers going, Roger Pielke Jr. and Chris Mooney, have a wealth of interesting material on the subject.
First, Pielke argues that the whole thing is a case of manufactured controversy — another attempt to play "gotcha" with government documents that just distracts attention from substantive policy debate.
The author of the NYT piece, Andy Revkin, emailed Pielke a congenial response, including this amusing bit: "Sadly, the White House is so hermetically sealed on such matters that it has essentially created such stories by making scraps of tea-leaf-like information noteworthy." It’s true — by playing footsy with the public, with a long history of contradictory and ambiguous statements on climate change, the Bush administration has created a situation where every official word or document on the subject is examined and parsed like the friggin’ Zapruder film.
Chris Mooney unearths this tidbit from Cooney’s past, revealing that his opposition to CO2 limits is longstanding. He also has an amusing rundown of White House flack Scott McClellan’s typically opaque and evasive performance this morning. McClellan made a big deal out of a 2001 National Academy of Sciences report that praised the administration’s 10-year climate plan. Mooney points out that the report also "seriously faulted" the plan, and oh yeah, is four years old.
And finally, in a post on The Huffington Post (who doesn’t post there? oh, right, me.) Mooney lays out Revkin’s history of uncovering Bush administration interference in climate science — the same story over and over again, just the names and details change. And yet every time the larger media act like it’s an isolated event, and the administration goes back to doing it. Sigh.