Monday, May 11, 2009

Bush and Harper Appoint Climate Change Deniers to Science Boards

When George Bush wanted to make sure sure that the oil and gas industry would be allowed to continue their operations unchecked, he established the National Energy Policy Task Force, headed up by his VP, Dick Cheney.

This task force completely ignored reports that carbon emissions were accelerating Global Warming, and instead hired people directly from the oil and gas sector to write environmental policy.
The first six months of the Bush administration were a giddy time for the fossil fuels and nuclear industries. After eight years of treading lightly around Bill Clinton's centrist energy policies, the "Old Fuels Club" was warmly welcomed back into the White House. Not only were their opinions sought, but these companies were even asked to help write the largest review of energy policy since Jimmy Carter preached conservation in a cardigan.

By the time the Bush-Cheney energy policy was announced, in June 2001, the oil, gas, coal, and nuclear industries were slated to be awarded $28 billion in tax breaks and the keys to some of our country's most precious natural assets. Indeed, the debate over energy—how it's supplied, how it's financed, and how it's consumed—has been one of the defining issues of George W. Bush's presidency. The Bush energy plan was developed in closed-door sessions by Vice President Cheney and his National Energy Policy Task Force. (1)
Every agency tied to the environment was stacked with industry hacks. And seeing as how it worked so well for the Bush Administration, Stephen Harper followed suit, appointing climate change deniers to science boards:
Already alarmed over funding cuts to basic research, scientists say two appointments in particular are worrisome. Mark Mullins, the executive director of the conservative-leaning Fraser Institute — and a former adviser to the Canadian Alliance Party — was recently appointed to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which funds university research projects that have included studies on climate change.

Dr. Mullins is an economist and critic of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-sanctioned scientific body that has authored warnings of floods, famine and extinctions that triggered political efforts around the world to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. More than 200 Canadian scientists have contributed to the IPCC's work and most of them are employed by the federal government. The 18-member NSERC already includes another Harper government appointee, mathematician Christopher Essex, who wrote a book challenging the "myth of climate change."

On the same day Dr. Mullins was appointed to NSERC, April 23, another skeptic of global warming was appointed to the board of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which funds large research projects. John Weissenberger is a close friend of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a former chief of staff in the Harper government and a geologist who works for Husky Energy in Alberta. Dr. Weissenberger has written opinion pieces in the media and on his Internet blog expressing his "skepticism about global warming." That and other comments by the two appointees on the public record were compiled by NDP researchers and verified by The Globe and Mail. (2)
And like the Bush Administration, the Harper government has awarded enormous grants and tax breaks to the oil and gas sector, while failing to address the threat of global warming altogether.


1. The Book on Bush: How George W. (mis) Leads America, By Eric Alterman and Mark Green, Penguin Books, 2004, ISBN: 0-670-03273-5, Pg. 16.

2. Global warming critics appointed to science boards Harper government's actions are 'dreadful' and undercut public pledges to tackle climate change, leading glaciologist says, By Bill Curry, Globe and Mail, May 11, 2009

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