Bush official edited gov’t climate-change reports to play up uncertainty

Philip Cooney, a former top oil lobbyist now serving as chief of staff for President Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality, edited scientific government reports on climate change to exaggerate the appearance of uncertainty and doubt, according to documents obtained by The New York Times. Cooney, a lawyer by trade, has no scientific training. Rick Piltz, a senior associate in the government office that coordinates climate research (and someone who does have scientific training), resigned in protest and is now represented by the nonprofit Government Accountability Project, which released draft reports with Cooney’s handwritten edits. Meanwhile, separate documents from White House deliberations on climate policy (specifically Kyoto) from 2001 to 2004 reveal that ExxonMobil — or rather, the Global Climate Coalition, a trade lobbying group it dominated — was heavily involved in said deliberations. Exxon had previously denied lobbying on Kyoto. “[Bush] rejected Kyoto in part based on input from [the Global Climate Coalition],” says one briefing note. Oops!