White House Admits Expert Was Censored : Scientist’s Report on ‘Greenhouse Effect’ Significantly Altered

From Associated Press

The White House today acknowledged that the Office of Management and Budget censored a top government scientist’s written testimony on global warming, or the “greenhouse effect,” significantly changing his conclusions, and it defended the action.

Dr. James E. Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, told the Senate Science subcommittee today that OMB forced him to contradict his findings that the greenhouse effect will increase the likelihood of drought.

Hansen said that as a government scientist, he “should be able to say what my opinions are” but added that he was unable to convince OMB officials.


‘Scientific Fraud’

“They’re scared of the truth,” said Sen. Albert Gore Jr. (D-Tenn.), chairman of the panel. “It’s a form of scientific fraud by them.

“If they attempt retribution, they will have on their hands the congressional equivalent of World War III,” Gore told Hansen.

At the White House, spokesman Marlin Fitzwater called the practice routine and said the changes were made by an OMB official who was “four of five levels down from the top.” Still, he said, the “Administration stands behind it.”

Fitzwater claimed that much disagreement exists among scientists, within and outside the government, on the global warming issue.

Hansen’s original testimony gave the appearance that “there was unanimity within the government on this matter. We simply wanted to point out that there wasn’t,” the spokesman said. “We thought we were commenting on policy, not scientific evidence.”

Increase in Temperature

Opening the hearing today, Gore said: “Scientists, like Dr. Hansen, tell us that global temperatures could increase two to five degrees centigrade in our lifetimes because of the billions and billions of tons of carbon dioxide we pump into the air every year and because emissions of other greenhouse gases.”


The senator added: “There are a few environmentalists in this Administration, such as William Reilly at (the Environmental Protection Agency), who is first rate. But they are outnumbered by the James Watt clones put in key posts throughout the Administration. The environmentalists are being overruled and, worse, they’re sometimes being muzzled.”

As former President Ronald Reagan’s interior secretary, Watt pursued policies that were vehemently opposed by environmental groups.

The New York Times today quoted Hansen as saying OMB edited the text of his testimony to soften the conclusions and make the prospects of change in climate appear more uncertain.