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Bush blames global warming messenger

By Nicole Colson | April 19, 2002 | Page 2

GEORGE W. BUSH and Dick Cheney swear up and down that oil companies aren't running White House energy policy from behind the scenes.

And it's true. They're running it openly.

Earlier this month, the Bush administration was caught trying to remove Dr. Robert Watson as chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international grouping of 2,500 scientists who study climate change for the United Nations.

Why? Last year, the IPCC released a report that concluded: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the [global] warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities"--that is, from pollution, especially corporate polluters.

This mildly worded criticism was too much for Bush's oil buddies. Soon after the report was released, ExxonMobil sent a package of documents to the White House attacking Watson and asking, "Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the U.S.?"

In early April, lobbyists for the auto and energy industries met with State Department officials to encourage them to back a different scientist to head the IPCC. Sure enough, the Bush administration is backing the other scientist.

"It's transparently an effort to disrupt the organization and destroy its effectiveness," said David Doniger, policy director at the National Resources Defense Council. "It's another window into the mostly secret relationship between the big energy companies, who are the puppeteers, and the administration, who does what they tell them."

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