[House Hearing, 110 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
ALLEGATIONS OF POLITICAL INTERFERENCE WITH GOVERNMENT CLIMATE CHANGE
COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT
AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 19, 2007
Serial No. 110-21
Printed for the use of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/
ALLEGATIONS OF POLITICAL INTERFERENCE WITH GOVERNMENT CLIMATE CHANGE
COMMITTEE ON OVERSIGHT
AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED TENTH CONGRESS
MARCH 19, 2007
Serial No. 110-21
Printed for the use of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/congress/
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
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COMMITTEE ON OVERSISGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM
HENRY A. WAXMAN, California, Chairman
TOM LANTOS, California TOM DAVIS, Virginia
EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York DAN BURTON, Indiana
PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut
CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York JOHN M. McHUGH, New York
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland JOHN L. MICA, Florida
DENNIS J. KUCINICH, Ohio MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
DANNY K. DAVIS, Illinois TODD RUSSELL PLATTS, Pennsylvania
JOHN F. TIERNEY, Massachusetts CHRIS CANNON, Utah
WM. LACY CLAY, Missouri JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
DIANE E. WATSON, California MICHAEL R. TURNER, Ohio
STEPHEN F. LYNCH, Massachusetts DARRELL E. ISSA, California
BRIAN HIGGINS, New York KENNY MARCHANT, Texas
JOHN A. YARMUTH, Kentucky LYNN A. WESTMORELAND, Georgia
BRUCE L. BRALEY, Iowa PATRICK T. McHENRY, North Carolina
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, District of VIRGINIA FOXX, North Carolina
Columbia BRIAN P. BILBRAY, California
BETTY McCOLLUM, Minnesota BILL SALI, Idaho
JIM COOPER, Tennessee ------ ------
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN, Maryland
PAUL W. HODES, New Hampshire
CHRISTOPHER S. MURPHY, Connecticut
JOHN P. SARBANES, Maryland
PETER WELCH, Vermont
Phil Schiliro, Chief of Staff
Phil Barnett, Staff Director
Earley Green, Chief Clerk
David Marin, Minority Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held on March 19, 2007................................... 1
Connaughton, James L., chairman, White House Council on
Environmental Quality...................................... 369
Cooney, Philip, former chief of staff of the White House
Council on Environmental Quality; James Hansen, Director,
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; and George
Deutsch, former NASA Public Affairs Officer................ 248
Cooney, Philip........................................... 248
Deutsch, George.......................................... 318
Hansen, James............................................ 304
Spencer, Roy, University of Alabama, Huntsville.............. 416
Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:
Connaughton, James L., chairman, White House Council on
Environmental Quality, prepared statement of............... 372
Cooney, Philip, former chief of staff of the White House
Council on Environmental Quality, prepared statement of.... 251
Deutsch, George, former NASA Public Affairs Officer, prepared
statement of............................................... 320
Hansen, James, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space
Studies, prepared statement of............................. 306
Issa, Hon. Darrell E., a Representative in Congress from the
State of California, exhibits and supplemental minority
Spencer, Roy, University of Alabama, Huntsville:
Prepared statement of.................................... 418
Prepared statement of Roger Pielke, Jr................... 437
Waxman, Chairman Henry A., a Representative in Congress from
the State of California, prepared statement of............. 4
ALLEGATIONS OF POLITICAL INTERFERENCE WITH GOVERNMENT CLIMATE CHANGE
MONDAY, MARCH 19, 2007
House of Representatives,
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform,
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a.m., in room
2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Henry A. Waxman
(chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Waxman, Watson, Yarmuth, Norton,
Van Hollen, Welch, Shays, Souder, Cannon, and Issa.
Staff present: Phil Schiliro, chief of staff; Phil Barnett,
staff director and chief counsel; Kristin Amerling, general
counsel; Karen Lightfoot, communications director and senior
policy advisor; Greg Dotson, chief environmental counsel;
Alexandra Teitz, senior environmental counsel; Jeff Baran,
counsel; Early Green, chief clerk; Teresa Coufal, deputy clerk;
Matt Siegler, special assistant; Caren Auchman, press
assistant; Zhongrui ``JR'' Deng, chief information officer; Rob
Cobbs, staff assistant; David Marin, minority staff director;
Larry Halloran, minority deputy staff director; Jennifer
Safavian, minority chief counsel for oversight and
investigations; Keith Ausbrook, minority general counsel; A.
Brooke Bennett, minority counsel; Kristina Husar, minority
professional staff member; Larry Brady, minority senior
investigator and policy advisor; Patrick Lyden, minority
parliamentarian and member services coordinator; Brian
McNicoll, minority communications director; Benjamin Chance,
minority clerk; and Ali Ahmad, minority staff assistant and
online communications coordinator.
Chairman Waxman. Meeting of the committee will come to
order. Today the committee continues its investigation into
whether the nonpartisan work of climate change scientists was
distorted by political interference from the Bush
administration. Since our first hearing on January 30th, we
have received over eight boxes of documents from the White
House Council on Environmental Quality.
The document production is not yet complete, but some of
the information the committee has already obtained is
disturbing. It suggests that there may have been a concerted
effort, directed by the White House, to mislead the public
about the dangers of global climate change.
It is too early in this investigation to draw firm
conclusions about the White House's conduct. But today's
hearing will help us learn more about those efforts and provide
guidance on whether further investigation is warranted.
There is a saying in Washington that personnel is policy.
The White House appointed an oil industry lobbyist, not a
scientist or climate change expert, as chief of staff at the
Council on Environmental Quality.
We will hear from that former lobbyist, Phil Cooney, today.
The documents we have received indicate he was able to exert
tremendous influence on the direction of Federal climate change
policy and science.
One of the key responsibilities given to Mr. Cooney and his
staff at CEQ was the review of government publications about
Mr. Cooney and his staff made hundreds of separate edits to
the government's strategic plan for climate change research.
These changes injected doubt in place of certainty, minimized
the dangers of climate change, and diminished the human role in
causing the planet to warm.
Other key government reports, including an EPA report on
the environment and an annual report to Congress on the
changing planet were subject to similar edits and distortions.
In preparation for this hearing, the majority staff
prepared a memorandum for members analyzing the changes made by
Mr. Cooney and his staff to these government climate change
reports. And I ask that this memorandum and the CEQ documents
it cites be made part of the hearing record. I also ask that
Mr. Cooney's deposition be made part of the hearing record as
Another facet of the White House campaign involved
controlling what Federal scientists could say to the public and
the media about their work. NASA scientist James Hansen is one
of the Nation's most esteemed experts on climate change. George
Deutsch is a young and inexperienced former NASA public affairs
officer who was tasked with managing the public statements of
Dr. Hansen and other NASA scientists. Today we will hear from
both of them about their experiences.
There is even evidence in the documents we have obtained
that the White House edited an op-ed written by former EPA
Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to ensure that it followed
the White House line about climate change.
Our goal in this investigation is to understand what role
the White House actually played. It would be a serious abuse if
senior White House officials deliberately tried to defuse calls
for action by ensuring that the public heard a distorted
message about the risks of climate change.
In addressing climate change, science should drive policy.
The public and Congress need access to the best possible
science to inform the policy debate about how to protect the
planet from irreversible changes. If the administration turned
its principle upside down with raw political pressure, it would
put our country on a dangerous course. Today's hearing should
bring us closer to understanding whether that is suspicion or
I look forward to the testimony of the witnesses and thank
them for their cooperation. I want to recognize members for
opening statements and to recognize Mr. Issa first.
[Note.--The CEQ Documents may be viewed in the committee's
[The prepared statement of Chairman Henry A. Waxman
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Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I also would ask
that the exhibits that go with Mr. Cooney's deposition be
entered into the record.
Chairman Waxman. Without objection, the documents that I
requested and the documents you requested will be part of the
Mr. Issa. Thank you. And I also would like to ask that the
Supplemental Minority Memorandum be entered into the record.
Chairman Waxman. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]
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Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am glad to have the
opportunity to continue today with the committee's inquiry into
political interference with science. As you know, this
investigation began under Chairman Davis. And it is good to see
that some projects have carried over to the new Congress.
I want to take a moment to point out the title of today's
hearing is political interference with science: global warming.
I am glad the chairman has made clear from the onset that this
investigation is related to process and not the substance of
global change science.
Today we are not attempting to establish which scientific
facts are correct or which policies are better. I commend you
for this approach. As you know, this committee has done its job
to conduct oversight in an independent and bipartisan way in
the past, and I hope we will continue to in the future.
But even though this hearing isn't about substance, let me
be clear from the beginning. Climate change is an important
issue and deserves our level-headed attention.
I believe that climate change is happening. I believe
global mean temperatures have increased over the past century,
and I believe that carbon dioxide is a contributing factor.
It wasn't very long ago that scientists were unable to make
this statement with certainty because we simply didn't have a
sufficient body of knowledge, and it is important to
acknowledge that American ingenuity, know-how, and resources
make up the foundation of the ever-expanding body of knowledge
of climate change.
Climate change is too important an issue not to continue
backing the research in the billions of dollars that we have
done so on a bipartisan basis in the past.
And it is essential that policymakers have the absolute
best available science to support policy decisions that will
impact future generations of Americans and citizens around the
world. But, again, we are looking at this as a process issue.
So let's turn to the allegation that the Bush
administration has silenced scientists and rewritten the
Dr. Roger Pikey, Jr., testified at our last hearing that
the Bush administration probably hasn't done itself any favors
with the term ``hypercontrolling strategies'' for the
management of information.
I would probably agree.
Yet it remains the prerogative of the Bush administration--
as with every administration before it and likely after it--to
establish policies to ensure that whatever is coming out of
Federal agencies is consistent and coordinated.
Submitting to those rules is in fact--is a fact of life
every Federal employee enjoys or chafes at.
I am concerned that many scientists are increasingly
engaging in political advocacy and that some issues of science
have become increasingly partisan as some politicians sense
that there is a political gain to be found on issues like stem
cell, teaching evolution, and climate change. I hope we will
keep our observations in mind during these hearings and the
investigation into allegations of silencing and editing by the
Bush administration and Mr. Cooney.
I look forward to this hearing and to our witnesses and
especially I look forward to hearing from NASA scientist, Dr.
Doctor Hansen, we recognize that you are the preeminent
climate change scientist and one of the leading researchers on
these issues. We value your contribution to science and the
understanding of global climate change. I want to hear about
your experience--I want to hear about your experiences with the
politicalization of science.
However, I also plan to discuss with you your efforts to
Mr. Chairman I recognize that I have gone over my intended
5 minutes so I will put the rest of my opening statement in for
the record because I see we have a lot of Members here. I will
Chairman Waxman. Thank you. Without objection, your
statement and all the opening statements from members of the
committee will be permitted to go into the record in their
I would recognize Members if they feel that they want to
make an oral presentation. Without objection, we will limit it
to 3 minutes so we can get on to our panels.
Any Member here--Mr. Yarmuth, do you have an opening
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Just a brief one. I
appreciate that we are renewing these hearings, because in the
first hearing we had what we saw was evidence of a clear and
disturbing trend in this administration, which is that in many
instances commitment to ideology and philosophy and maybe even
corporate interests always seems to trump truth.
And that is something that should disturb all of us, and I
hope that this hearing brings us closer to understanding that
we need, in all of our government operations, to have
transparency and truth, and that those who would put these
other interests ahead of the search for truth are doing this
country a great disservice. So I thank you once again, Mr.
Chairman, and I look forward to hearing the witnesses.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much.
Mr. Cannon, do you wish to make an opening statement?
Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, I will submit my
statement for the record.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Welch.
Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman for convening the
hearing. The questions before the committee are clear. Are the
American people entitled to the benefits of sound scientific
research to solve the challenges before us? And is it
acceptable for any administration--in this case the
administration of George Bush--to alter scientific conclusions
by allowing political appointees to edit and alter the
independent conclusions of independent scientists?
We heard, Mr. Chairman, to our dismay 2 months ago,
evidence that the Bush administration, through political
appointees, have systematically and relentlessly interfered
with independent scientific conclusions, altering them to
conform with the political views of their supporters.
Dr. Griffo the Union of Concerned Scientists testified that
at least 150 Federal climate scientists personally experienced
at least one incident of political interference during the past
5 years and received reports of at least 435 specific incidents
overall. That interference is unacceptable. That interference
must end. While political interference in science may serve the
interest of the American Petroleum Institute and others who
peddle the notion that climate change is a political argument,
not a scientific fact, it underestimates the American people.
Politically motivated suppression of science is not only
irresponsible, but highlights a careless and reckless disregard
for the public that we serve.
The country knows that the climate change is real, urgent,
and requires immediate action. Science must be our friend to
help us address global warming directly. Moreover, in facing
directly the issue of climate change, we can have a pro-growth,
pro-high-tech, pro-environment economy that will benefit all
the people of this country.
The Bush administration attack on sound science is a
loser's game. The job of this Congress and this committee is to
restore the full confidence to our scientific community that we
need and value their work. They are our partners in facing the
problems that confront us. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you.
Mr. Welch. Mr. Souder, do you wish to make an opening
comment? Mr. Souder. OK, thanks. Ms. Watson.
Ms. Watson. Thank you, very much, Mr. Chairman, for today's
hearing. And while I am happy we are holding our second hearing
of the year on this issue, I am appalled at the fact that the
administration interfered with studies in key departments
within our bureaucracy, one of which is NASA, who depends on
accurate and concise scientific studies to protect the lives of
The administration announced in 2002 that reducing green
house gas emissions and increasing spending on climate research
to reduce emissions 18 percent by 2012 was a top priority. But
their actions have not matched that pledge.
Funds have been redirected for these purposes to spend on
nuclear power and other nonrenewable programs that do not
reduce emissions. In addition, this allegation of political
interference with the work of government scientists is an
additional example of how this administration is not taking
this threat of global warming seriously.
Global warming is occurring at a rapid pace today, and the
consensus of the world's scientific community is that it will
accelerate during the 21st century. Global warming and our
related energy policies also raise national security concerns.
One such concern is the prospect of international
destabilization caused by the consequences of global warming,
such as the loss of land area or the loss of water resources.
Mr. Chairman, we must start again to create adequate climate
change research and development that can help our world in the
Political interference on this critical issue is
unacceptable. And we are here today to investigate and resolve
these allegations. Again, thank you for this hearing.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much Ms. Watson.
We are pleased to have three witnesses for our first panel,
and I want to welcome them to our hearing today. Philip Cooney
was chief of staff of the White House Council on Environmental
Quality from 2001 until 2005. Before that he worked at the
American Petroleum Institute for 15 years. He is now a
corporate issue manager at ExxonMobil.
Dr. James Hansen is the director of NASA's Goddard
Institute for Space Studies. He has held this position since
1981. Dr. Hansen is one of the Nation's most esteemed climate
George Deutsch was a NASA public affairs officer until
We thank you for your presence. It is the practice of this
committee to ask all witnesses that appear before us to take an
oath. So if you would please rise and hold up your right hands.
Chairman Waxman. The record will indicate that each of the
witnesses answered in the affirmative.
Mr. Cooney, why don't we start with you. Your opening
statement will be in the record in its entirety and we would
like to ask you, if you would, to summarize it or present it to
us in around 5 minutes.
STATEMENTS OF PHILIP COONEY, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE WHITE
HOUSE COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY; JAMES HANSEN, DIRECTOR,
NASA GODDARD INSTITUTE FOR SPACE STUDIES; AND GEORGE DEUTSCH,
FORMER NASA PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICER
STATEMENT OF PHILIP A. COONEY
Mr. Cooney. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the
committee. Thank you for inviting me to appear before you
today. I recognize the important work of this committee to
ensure that our government is operating efficiently and
properly in performing its valuable work on behalf of the
I want to assure you of my full cooperation.
Today, more than anything else, I hope to convey to the
committee that I held myself to a high standard of integrity in
the performance of my duties in the administration.
I would like to highlight several points.
Point No. 1, my reviews of Federal budgetary and research
planning documents of climate change were guided by the
President's stated strategy on research priorities as set forth
in his June 11, 2001 speech and chapter 3 of the Policy Book
that accompanied it. I joined the White House staff 2 weeks
The President's policy itself was guided by a National
Academy of Sciences report that his Cabinet-level Committee on
Climate Change had specifically requested, entitled ``Climate
Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions.''
That report concluded--and I would like to emphasize this
point, ``making progress in reducing the large uncertainties in
projections of future climate will require addressing a number
of fundamental scientific questions relating to the buildup of
greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and the behavior of the
The National Academy of Sciences report itemized those
uncertainties and questions which later guided the
administration's prioritization of federally sponsored
Let me be clear, as this committee addresses my reviews of
specific climate change policy documents, that a number of my
specific comments were verbatim quotations from the National
Academy of Sciences report.
My second point is that the documents that I reviewed as
part of a well-established interagency review process were not
a platform for the presentation of original scientific
research. Mr. Piltz, who clarified that he is not a scientist,
described his role before this committee as that of, ``an
editor of summaries received from agencies as they related to
budget and planning reports.''
The White House Office of Management and Budget then
subjected Mr. Piltz' drafts to formal interagency review and
comment by many others, including multiple Federal agencies
themselves and the relevant White House offices, including
OMB's review was then subjected to a final review and
approval by Dr. James Mahoney, who served as the Assistant
Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, and was
director of the Climate Change Science Program. Dr. Mahoney
testified before Congress about this process in July 2005 and
confirmed that he had the final word on the final content on
all of these documents.
Dr. Mahoney's written responses to Senate questions
describe that process and stated further that, ``the edits by
CEQ did not misstate any scientific fact. Moreover, many
comments, including mine, were not incorporated in final
The Council's role in these reviews and that of other White
House offices was routine and well established.
The annual budget report, Our Changing Planet, was reviewed
by my predecessors in the Clinton administration. That is
because these were Federal research and policy and budget
reports of the executive branch and not scientific research per
In fact, the transmittal letters to Congress for both the
strategic plan and the annual budget reports were signed by the
Secretaries of Energy and Commerce and the director of the
White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, reflecting
their inherent policy nature.
To summarize, I had the authority and responsibility to
make recommendations on the documents in question under an
established interagency review process. I did so, using my best
judgment, based on the administration's stated research
priorities, as informed by the National Academy of Sciences. Of
course I understand that my judgment and the administration's
stated goals are properly open to review.
I want to make equally clear, however, that I participated
in the established review processes in order to align executive
branch reports with administration policies.
My third and final point is that within a month after my
departure in June 2005, all three branches of our government
considered climate change science in the course of their
decisionmaking and acknowledged remaining uncertainties in our
There has been on an ongoing basis, active consideration
both of the scientific certainties and uncertainties in
decisionmaking on climate change at the highest levels of the
Federal Government. For example on July 15, 2005, the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld
EPA's decision not to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean
Air Act, relying in part on the same uncertainties noted in the
National Academy of Sciences report that the administration had
requested in June 2001.
My point is that the comments and recommendations that I
offered in reviewing executive branch policy documents on
climate change were consistent with the views and exploration
of scientific knowledge that many others in all three branches
of our government were undertaking.
My most important point is that I offered my comments in
good faith reliance on what I understood to be authoritative
and current views of the state of scientific knowledge, and for
no other purpose.
Thank you again for the opportunity to appear before the
committee. I look forward to your questions and helping the
committee complete its important work.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Cooney.
Mr. Cooney. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cooney follows:]
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Chairman Waxman. Dr. Hansen.
STATEMENT OF JAMES E. HANSEN
Mr. Hansen. Thank you. Thank you, Chairman Waxman, for
inviting me to testify. I testify today as a private citizen. I
have been at a NASA laboratory in New York since I arrived in
1967 as a 25-year-old post doc. And I hope that my observations
of changes in the past 40 years are useful to your Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform.
In my written statement, I describe a growth of political
interference with climate change science. The problem has been
worst in the current administration. But it will not be solved
by an election. There needs to be reform.
We cannot count on a new administration to give up powers
that have accreted. The growth in political interference
coincides with a growth in power of the executive branch. It
seems to me that this growth of power violates principles upon
which our democracy is based, especially separation of powers
and checks and balances.
I have no legal expertise but I would like to raise three
questions: No. 1, when I testify to you as a government
scientist, why does my testimony have to be reviewed, edited,
and changed by a bureaucrat in the White House before I can
deliver it? Where does this requirement come from? Is not the
public, who have paid for the research, are they not being
cheated by this political control of scientific testimony?
Second question: Why are public affairs offices staffed by
political appointees? Their job, nominally, should be to help
scientists present results in a language that the public can
They should not be forcing scientists to parrot propaganda.
Indeed during the current administration, NASA scientific press
releases have been sent to the White House for editing, as I
discuss in my written testimony. If public affairs officers are
left under the control of political appointees, it seems to me
that inherently they become officers of propaganda.
Point No. 3, the primary way that the executive branch has
interfered with climate science is via control of the purse
strings. This is very, very effective.
Last February, a year ago, the executive branch slashed the
Earth science research and analysis budget. That is the budget
that funds NASA Earth science labs such as mine. They slashed
it retroactively to the beginning of the fiscal year by about
20 percent. That is a going-out-of-business level of funding.
The budget is an extremely powerful way to interfere with
science and bring scientists into line with political
Some people have joked that at about the same time, the
White House brought in a science fiction writer for advice on
global warming. But this is not a joking matter.
We need more scientific data, not less.
And I am sorry that I don't have time to talk about the
science, but if you give me 1 to 2 minutes, I would like to
just summarize briefly.
The climate has great inertia because of the massive ocean
and ice sheets. And it is hard to notice climate change because
chaotic weather fluctuations are so large. But climate is
beginning to change. And it has become clear that there is a
dominance of positive feedbacks. For example as ice melts, as
forests move pole-ward, these increase the global warming
further. And the upshot of the inertia plus the positive
feedbacks is that if we push the climate system hard enough, it
can obtain a momentum. It can pass tipping points, such that
climate change continues out of our control. That is a
condition we do not want to leave for our children.
There are many actions we could take to avoid that, actions
that would have other benefits, as I discuss in my written
testimony. And these are, of course, my opinions as a private
citizen. Thank you.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much, Dr. Hansen.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Hansen follows:]
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Chairman Waxman. Mr. Deutsch.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE C. DEUTSCH III
Mr. Deutsch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Deutsch. I
am 25 years old. I live in Nederland, TX. Until February 2006 I
was a public affairs officer at NASA.
I would like to begin by thanking the committee, and
specifically Chairman Waxman for allowing me the opportunity to
testify. I believe most people would agree that NASA is a place
of wonder and excitement. As a young man from a small southeast
Texas town near the Johnson Space Center, I saw the opportunity
to join the NASA family as a dream come true.
My path to NASA began around June 2004 when I left Texas
A&M University, one course shy of graduating, to take a
position as an intern in President Bush's reelection campaign
and, later, the Inaugural Committee. After the Inauguration I
applied for a Presidential appointee position and was offered
jobs by NASA and the Department of Labor.
To the best of my recollection, I disclosed on various
occasions the fact that I had not completed my degree.
I accepted an entry-level public affairs position at NASA
at the age of 23 and after several months I became a public
affairs officer in NASA's Science Mission Directorate [SMD].
There I worked in a team with two career civil servants. The
most senior civil servant in the group functioned as our team
leader. Collectively, it was our duty to facilitate
communications between NASA and the public.
Not long after joining SMD, I became aware of Dr. James
Hansen, a distinguished and internationally renowned climate
scientist. I learned that Dr. Hansen disagreed with what I
understood to be NASA's standard practices for responding to
media requests. Among those practices were the public affairs
officer should listen to interviews as they were being
conducted, that superiors can do interviews in someone's stead,
and that NASA employees should report interview requests to the
Public Affairs Office.
It was my understanding that these practices all existed
prior to my joining NASA and that I and other NASA employees
were expected to follow them. The purpose of these guidelines
was to encourage agency coordination and accurate reporting.
Sharing interview requests with NASA headquarters, for example,
gives headquarters officials a better grasp of what is going on
at NASA centers. These practices weren't unique to one
individual or group. They were agencywide.
Dr. Hansen can certainly address these issues himself
today, but as I understood it at that time, he found these
practices to be cumbersome. This created a level of frustration
among my higher-ups at NASA who wanted to know about interviews
before they happened.
I have addressed these issues in more detail in my written
testimony, but here is one example. On or about December 14,
2005, the Los Angeles Times and ABC News contacted NASA to
inquire if the agency was going to release information
addressing whether 2005 was the warmest year on record. In
response, headquarters granted the Los Angeles Times an
interview with Dr. Waleed Abdalati, a veteran NASA climate
scientist. In that interview, Dr. Abdalati stated they could
not confirm that 2005 was the warmest year on record. Yet on
December 15th, Dr. Hansen appeared on ABC's Good Morning
America program and submitted the letter to the Journal of
Science, concluding that 2004 tied 1998 as the warmest year on
Senior NASA officials conveyed to me that they were unaware
of the release of this information being coordinated with
headquarters or peer-reviewed. That day NASA headquarters
received a deluge of media inquiries on the matter, inquiries
headquarters was ill-equipped to handle because no one had been
briefed on Dr. Hansen's findings. The same senior NASA
officials were, to say the least, upset by this procedural
Press Secretary Dean Acosta asked me to document these
events in a memo that was cosigned by a career civil servant
Dwayne Brown. Subsequently, several media reports accused
national political appointees and others of censoring Dr.
Hansen. I can only speak for myself. I never censored Dr.
Hansen and I don't think anyone else at NASA did either.
In February 2006, I learned that the New York Times was
looking into whether the resume I submitted to NASA incorrectly
stated that I had obtained a degree from Texas A&M University
in 2003. I had created that resume sometime prior to 2003. At
the time the resume was created, it would have been clear that
I was referring to an anticipated degree. My mistake was that
when it later came time to apply for jobs, I failed to update
the resume to convey that I was one course shy of graduating.
As I said, to the best of my recollection, I told the hiring
officials I spoke to that I did not have my degree. But I
recognize and take full responsibility for the fact that I
should have updated the resume to better reflect this point.
This was an honest mistake.
Rather than see the agency continue to be tarnished in the
media, I resigned in February 2006. Later that year I finished
my only remaining class and received my Bachelor of Arts degree
from Texas A&M University.
Since working at NASA, I have tried my hardest to continue
to devote my life to public service. I have done work for a
nonpartisan/nonprofit United Way agency in Texas dealing with
mental health issues, and I hope to launch a call-in mental
health radio program in a local Texas radio station.
During my time at NASA, administrator Mike Griffin released
a statement on scientific openness in which he said, ``It is
not the job of public affairs officers to alter, filter, or
adjust engineering or of scientific material produced by NASA's
technical staff. To ensure the timely release of information
there must be cooperation and coordination between our
scientific and engineering community and our public affairs
These two sentences capture my feelings exactly. Thank you,
Mr. Chairman. I would be happy to answer your questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Deutsch follows:]
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Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Deutsch. I will now proceed
to questioning from the members of the panel and two 10-minute
rounds controlled by the Chair and the ranking member. I will
start off first.
Mr. Cooney, thank you very much for being here. I
appreciate you having taken the time last week to sit with the
committee staff in a deposition. And that deposition helped
clear up a lot of points which will allow us to focus on the
major issues today.
It is clear from documents that the committee has received
that you played a major role in reviewing and editing
scientific reports about climate change. And I want to begin my
questioning by asking about your qualifications for editing
scientific reports. My understanding is that you are not a
scientist, that you are a lawyer by training, with an
undergraduate degree in politics and economics; is that
Mr. Cooney. That is correct.
Chairman Waxman. And prior to your move to the White House
in 2001, you worked for more than 15 years at the American
Petroleum Institute; is that correct?
Mr. Cooney. That's correct.
Chairman Waxman. The American Petroleum Institute [API], is
the primary trade association for the the oil industry, isn't
it? And they are essentially lobbyists for the oil industry,
Mr. Cooney. That is a fair characterization, yes.
Chairman Waxman. My understanding is that your last
position with the American Petroleum Institute was as team
leader of the climate team. Climate change was a major issue
for the Petroleum Institute and they were very concerned about
this whole matter from an economic point of view.
While you were at the Petroleum Institute, the Petroleum
Institute prepared an internal document entitled ``Strategic
Issues: Climate Change,'' and this is exhibit H.
You have seen this document, haven't you, Mr. Cooney?
Mr. Cooney. Exhibit H?
Chairman Waxman. Yes.
Mr. Cooney. Yes. I saw this document last week during my
Chairman Waxman. This document was prepared during API's
budget review while you were employed there. It discusses why
climate change is important to API and the strategies API will
use to combat governmental action to address global warming.
According to this document, ``Climate is at the center of
industry's business interests. Policies limiting carbon
emissions reduce petroleum product use. That is why it is API's
highest priority issue and defined as strategic.''
One of the key strategies used by the Petroleum Institute
was to sow doubt about climate change science. Member companies
and spokesmen for the Petroleum Institute regularly exaggerated
the degrees of scientific uncertainty and downplayed the role
of humans in causing climate change. What bothers me is that
you seem to bring exactly the same approach inside the White
House--and I want to ask you about that.
We received hundreds of edits that you and your staff at
the White House Council on Environmental Quality made to
Federal climate change reports. And there seem to be consistent
reports to these edits. They exaggerate uncertainties and
downplay the contribution that human activities, like burning
petroleum products, play in causing climate change.
So when I look at the role you played at the American
Petroleum Institute and then the role you played at the White
House, they seem virtually identical. In both places you were
sowing doubt about the science on global warming.
I would like you to respond to those concerns. Do you have
a comment about my observation? Do you think that I am being
unfair to you?
Mr. Cooney. I do in some respects, Mr. Chairman. When you
characterize the efforts of the American Petroleum Institute,
we did have scientists who participated on our
multidisciplinary team on climate. We also had economists and
press people and lobbyists, of course. Our focus was lobbying
on the Kyoto Protocol. But to the extent that our scientists
participated in science, often they provided public comments in
For example, on the prior administration's national
assessment, our economists and scientists submitted public
comments for the record, trying to comment constructively and
improve that process, and they had the background to do so, the
scientists and economists who were working on that.
You know, one thing that was brought to my attention in the
deposition was the funding for Carnegie Mellon University. They
had an esteemed program on studying, from what I understood--I
wasn't very acquainted with it--but it was studying the
connection between climate change and potential health impacts
and funded MIT, I believe----
Chairman Waxman. You think I am being unfair to the
Petroleum Institute in my characterization?
Mr. Cooney. I think we surely were opposed to the Kyoto
Protocol, but I do think in many cases our scientists tried to
participate responsibly in some of the public dialog that was
going on and to offer legitimate views that weren't merely
about sowing uncertainty, as you have described.
Chairman Waxman. My staff released an analysis of hundreds
of changes that you and your staff made to Federal scientific
reports. Where the draft reports said that climate change will
cause adverse impacts, you changed the text to say that these
changes may occur.
Where the draft reports said that the climate change would
damage the environment, you inserted the qualifier,
Where the report described adverse economic effects, you
modified the text to say that the economic effects could be
positive or negative.
Mr. Cooney, aren't the edits you were making exactly the
kinds of changes the Petroleum Institute itself would have made
to these reports?
Mr. Cooney. Mr. Chairman, the comments that you described--
and really these were recommendations on Federal reports, they
weren't hard edits--they were offered within the context of an
interagency review process with a lot of people providing
recommendations to Dr. Mahoney. But you know----
Chairman Waxman. Who is Dr. Mahoney?
Mr. Cooney. Dr. Mahoney was at the end of the process and
he was the Assistant Secretary at Commerce for Oceans and
Atmosphere and the Director of the administration's Climate
Change Science Program Office that was ultimately responsible
for the publication of the 10-year Strategic Plan and the ``Our
Changing Planet'' report.
Chairman Waxman. So you were making recommendations to him?
Mr. Cooney. Within an established interagency process. And
the comments that you are describing that I made, you know, my
comments of a scientific nature were really derivative. And as
I said in my testimony they relied on the major findings of the
National Academy of Sciences, according to the report that it
released for the President in June 2001. And it talked about
many of the localized and regionalized impacts of climate
change being very poorly understood and of the inability of
climate change models to project impacts at a localized and
regional level. And so, for example, the reliance on that type
of language would have led to my comments.
In the end, Dr. Mahoney didn't take many of my comments. He
rejected a number of my comments. And that is the nature of our
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Cooney, as I understand it, every time
the National Academy of Sciences had certainty, you tried to
delete that certainty or change it so that it was uncertain.
Mr. Hansen, you are one of the Nation's leading experts on
climate change. What is your view of the changes made by Mr.
Cooney and his staff at the White House? Are they consistent
with the types of assertions that the oil companies and the
Petroleum Institute were making about the lack of scientific
certainty about climate change? Or were they simply trying to
make sure that scientific edits confirmed what the National
Academy of Sciences was saying?
Mr. Hansen. I think that--I believe that these edits, the
nature of these edits is a good part of the reason for why
there is a substantial gap between the understanding of global
warming by the relevant scientific community and the knowledge
of the public and policymakers, because there has been so much
doubt cast on our understanding that they think it is still
completely up in the air.
Chairman Waxman. You think the edits raised doubt where
there was a consensus?
Mr. Hansen. Because they consistently are always of one
nature, and that is to raise doubt.
Of course there are many details about climate that remain
to be understood. But that doesn't mean that we don't have a
Chairman Waxman. In a 1998 document from the Petroleum
Institute that is called, ``Global Climate Science
Communications Action Planning,'' which I would like to make
part of the record as exhibit T--and without objection.
It says, ``Victory will be achieved when average citizens
understand uncertainties in climate science, recognition of
uncertainties becomes part of the conventional wisdom, and
media coverage reflects balance on climate science in
recognition of the validity of viewpoints that challenge the
current conventional wisdom.''
So when I compare this Petroleum Institute document with
your activities at the White House, Mr. Cooney, I find it is
hard to see much of a distinction. The Petroleum Institute is
defining victory as sowing doubt in the public about the
certainty of climate change science, and that is what your
edits to Federal climate change reports appear to do.
Mr. Cooney. Mr. Chairman, I will try to be concise and say
if you look at chapter 3 of the policy book that the President
issued on June 11, 2001, in conjunction with the speech he gave
in the Rose Garden where he spoke at length about climate
change science and the findings at the National Academy, there
are at least 50 to 75 direct quotations from the National
Academy report that he had requested.
And it was part of what he released on June 11th. And that
was our foundational document for reviewing these budgetary
reports. It had truly nothing to do with my prior employment at
the American Petroleum Institute. When I came to the White
House, my loyalties--my sole loyalties--were to the President
and his administration.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much. Let me just point
out, while my time has expired, that the points where you
raised uncertainty were the places where the National Academy
of Sciences were fairly certain, and the other parts where they
were uncertain I don't think that was affected. We will get
into that more, I think, in the questioning.
Mr. Cooney. Mr. Chairman, may I offer one more thing?
Chairman Waxman. Certainly.
Mr. Cooney. This document from 1998 from the American
Petroleum Institute, I don't really recall the whole story
except to say that I was not involved on the climate change
issue at the time this document was prepared.
Chairman Waxman. Thanks. Well, that document was prepared--
Mr. Cooney. In 1998.
Chairman Waxman [continuing.] To express the views of the
Petroleum Institute as to what they wanted to do on climate
change and that seemed to be consistent when you were there.
The National--the President's speech wasn't made--that you
are citing as your blueprint--wasn't given while you were at
the White House, but submit that was guiding your policies at
the White House.
Mr. Cooney. It was given 2 weeks before I joined the
Council on Environmental Quality staff. And so it was the
roadmap that was established before I arrived.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you. Mr. Issa.
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Boy, there is a lot to
cover here today, and I hope I get through most of it.
Dr. Hansen, let me start with you, because we have been
talking about something from the petroleum industry from 1998.
But in 2000--you, I understand are the author, the proponent
for the alternative scenario theory you argued that the rapid
warming in recent decades was driven mainly by noncarbon
dioxide greenhouse gases, basically the chlorofluoro carbons--
methane, nitrous oxide and the like. Do you still hold that
2000--year 2000 view of global warming?
Mr. Hansen. The data in the 2000 paper is very good data,
very--we have an accurate knowledge of the forcings by
different greenhouse gases. That is one part of the problem
which is very well established. We know how much carbon dioxide
has increased, how much nitrous oxide and methane chlorofluoro
carbons have increased, and the sum of these non-CO2
gases provide forcing approximately the same as that by
Mr. Issa. OK. So in 2000 and today, you would say that more
than half of global warming--but at that time you said that it
was not CO2, but in fact these other gases. Now you
would say it is 50/50----
Mr. Hansen. No, I did not say it is not CO2. It
is a very qualitative paper. If you look at it, the forcing by
CO2 was then about 1.4 watts and the forcing by non-
CO2 gases is comparable. And then there are other
Mr. Issa. I appreciate that. And I will let you be the
physicist and I will try to be the guy up here that is trying
to muddle through a better understanding of both the science
but, more importantly, the policy here.
Your quote at the time was that it had not been driven
mainly by--it was driven mainly by noncarbon dioxide. So it was
getting close to even at that point?
Mr. Hansen. It is approximately the same, the
CO2 forcing and the non-CO2 greenhouse
gases. I think that what you may be referring to is the fact
that I pointed out that the same burning of fossil fuels, that
process produces not only carbon dioxide but aerosols, which
are small particles in the atmosphere, and those are also
cooling. So if you calculate the net effect of those, that
reduces the net fossil fuel effect on a temporary basis. But
the problem is these small particles have a lifetime of only 5
days, and we are attempting to clean those up because they are
Mr. Issa. Sure. I understand we can cool the environment if
we blacken the sky, but that may not be the best way to cool
the environment. I am with you on that, Doctor.
But I guess when I look back to some of these arguments
going on within science--you don't call them arguments but
debates--as late as 2000, you and other scholars were debating,
you know, in various papers--you were debating the differences
of what was causing what. And to a certain extent, you still
are. Is that correct?
Mr. Hansen. Oh, sure, that is always going on. Yes.
Mr. Issa. So this isn't settled science.
Mr. Hansen. There are many aspects of it which are settled
Mr. Issa. What are those aspects that are totally settled?
Name one aspect that is totally settled in the science.
Mr. Hansen. The climate forcing, that which drives the
climate change, many parts of that are quantitatively very well
settled. And carbon dioxide is the largest forcing, and it is
now the fastest growing forcing. And it is going to dominate
the future global climate change. That has become very clear.
Mr. Issa. And I appreciate that because I think that is an
area that we should all focus on here a lot today because--Mr.
Cooney, I am going to go to you for a second.
Prior to coming to the White House, you worked for the
American Petroleum Industry. We have established that. You were
in your role, among other things, an attorney; is that correct?
Mr. Cooney. Earlier in my career there, yes.
Mr. Issa. So your client was the Institute.
Mr. Cooney. Yes. The members of the Institute.
Mr. Issa. When you came on as--among your other attributes
you are an attorney--your client became who when you came to
work in Washington for this administration? Who was your
Mr. Cooney. The President.
Mr. Issa. So, very different loyalties between petroleum
and the President, right?
Mr. Cooney. Yes.
Mr. Issa. So when the President talks about switchgrass,
when he puts forward budgets that include billions of dollars
for various areas of climate study, including roughly a billion
dollars for the area that Dr. Hansen is most thoroughly
involved in, that is your client, right?
Mr. Cooney. Absolutely, yes.
Mr. Issa. When the President includes in each of his
speeches the need to get unhooked or get rid of the addiction
to petroleum, that is your client, right?
Mr. Cooney. Correct.
Mr. Issa. And you represent that client and would--wouldn't
have a conflict there?
Mr. Cooney. My sole loyalty was to the President and
advancing the policies of his administration.
Mr. Issa. I don't see a conflict there. I must tell you
that I came from an industry where I produced car alarms, and I
have no loyalty to the car alarms nor animosity to the car
thieves that exist in Washington today. I have moved on.
And that will be quoted, I am sure.
Dr. Hansen, you have been quoted, speaking of quotes, and
correct me if I'm a little off on this, but the way the quote
is here it says, ``Debating a contrarian leaves the impression
that there is still an argument among theorists that science is
You have said that many times, plus or minus a few words.
Mr. Hansen. Yes.
Mr. Issa. Does that mean that your opinion among
scientists--because this talks about contrarians, not Mr.
Cooney, because he wasn't the decisionmaker, as has been shown
by the fact that when it bubbled up to somebody with ``doctor''
in front of their name, most of it got ignored--among
scientists, you appeared to believe that the debate about
this--any aspect of science being settled, that you think is
settled, has a chilling effect on people's understanding. You
said so in your opening remarks here today. Is that--you said
that the American people were not--were confused by these
contrarian opinions. I guess we would be talking about Senator
Jimmy Inhofe who says there isn't global warming. You say it is
settled science; is that correct?
Mr. Hansen. I wouldn't state it the way that you just did.
Mr. Issa. Please rephrase.
Mr. Hansen. What I refer to is the fact that very often the
media, sometimes with pressure from special interests, will
present balance. And balance means we have one person
describing the science and one person who disputes it, even in
cases where the science is 99 percent certain.
And both of them speak in a technical language which to the
public often sounds like they are, you know, technical
scientists, and they don't understand the language. And so it
looks like a 50/50 thing, even when it is not.
Mr. Issa. OK. Well, you know, having been somebody that is
still befuddled about whether Pluto is a planet or not, I share
that layman's understanding.
But it appears as though you have become an advocate for
limiting that debate to coming up with consensus that certain
things are settled, such as CO2 is a major cause of
global warming and no one should be able to dispute that.
Mr. Hansen. No, that is not true at all. What I am an
advocate for is the scientific method. And with the scientific
method you present--you look at all sides of a story equally,
Now, what we have in the case of some of these contrarians
is simply making negative statements without--without
presenting--you know, they act more like lawyers than like
scientists. They present all the evidence they can think of for
one side of the story, rather than acting like scientists. And
that is why I say it is a mistake to get involved with
professional contrarians, because they are to confuse the
public that is basically----
Mr. Issa. I appreciate that. Last July 20th, you pulled out
of a hearing and it was one in which there was a peer involved.
And my understanding from quotes you made at the time was that,
one, you were infirmed, but you said you would get out of your
sick bed if they were serious about the science.
Mr. Hansen. Yes, if they want to speak about science
seriously, that is a different story. But if they just want to
do the contrarian story just for the sake of publicity, then I
don't see much point in that.
Mr. Issa. So today you are on a panel with no contrarians,
so that is OK.
Mr. Hansen. Today we are talking about government reform,
and I think that some is needed in this case.
Mr. Issa. OK. Well, my time is nearly ended, but Mr.
Deutsch--is my time over?
Chairman Waxman. Yes.
Mr. Issa. Let me ask one final thing. You are very young.
You were 22 years old and plus or minus 3 credits of being a
college graduate. Do you think you may have ruffled Dr.
Hansen's feathers simply because you were young and
Mr. Deutsch. Apparently I did.
Mr. Issa. Perhaps not skilled in the ways of public
Mr. Deutsch. I can't speak for Dr. Hansen, but I very well
Mr. Issa. I will hold for the second round. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Issa. Mr. Welch.
Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cooney, you indicated in your statement that your
loyalty was to the President who appointed you, correct?
Mr. Cooney. Correct.
Mr. Welch. You also indicated that your responsibility was
to align executive branch reports with administration policy,
Mr. Cooney. Correct.
Mr. Welch. And the administration had a pretty clear energy
policy during the time of the ongoing energy crisis, which
included recovery in the search for new oil and petroleum
Mr. Cooney. It included that. There were many other
Mr. Welch. Well, it included supporting drilling in the
Arctic National Wildlife Reserve, correct?
Mr. Cooney. It did. It included extended----
Mr. Welch. It included drilling offshore, correct?
Mr. Cooney. I don't recall.
Mr. Welch. It included maintaining royalty relief for the
oil companies for the recovery of gulf oil, even as the price
of oil increased over $60 a barrel?
Mr. Cooney. I don't recall that was an element of the
National Energy Policy in the spring of 2001----
Chairman Waxman. It included tax breaks that Congress gave
the oil industry at time when they had $125 billion in profits,
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, I can say that later in my years
in the administration, we opposed oil and tax--excuse me, tax
incentives for oil and gas exploration for the oil industry----
Mr. Welch. Let's get real. Let's get real. ANWR, offshore
drilling, tax breaks, all advocated publicly, aggressively, by
the Bush administration, passed by a Republican Congress; yes
Mr. Cooney. That was an element----
Mr. Cannon. Would the two of you yield? When you're talking
about tax breaks, you're talking about tax breaks that have
been in law for a long time, or since then? I'm wondering.
Mr. Welch. You will have your chance, my good friend.
Mr. Cooney. There were many elements of the policy: the
promotion of nuclear energy, the increase of fuel economy,
standards for light trucks, a mandate for renewable fuels and
the sale of transportation fuels for ethanol which was enacted
in 2005. There were many elements to the policy that were not
necessarily to the advantage of the oil and gas industry, which
were administered policies.
Mr. Welch. Did that policy of the Bush administration--and
you supported the President in his policies--include promoting
drilling in ANWR?
Mr. Cooney. Yes, Congressman.
Mr. Welch. Well, did it include support breaks that were
passed by Congress to the oil industry?
Mr. Cooney. I don't recall that being an element.
Mr. Welch. Let's ask a few specific questions here.
You reviewed the CEQ, and this document is the strategic
plan for the Climate Change Science Program which was issued in
2003. The committee has multiple drafts. You've seen them. You
have been asked about them in your deposition; and, in fact, at
your deposition, you acknowledged that this was edited at least
five times, on October 28, 2002; May 30, 2003; June 2, 2003;
June 16, 2003; and once before the final version was released.
Is that correct? Yes or no?
Mr. Cooney. That sounds correct.
Mr. Welch. And when we examined your edits, we found a
large number of changes that very clearly had the effect of
emphasizing or exaggerating the level of uncertainty
surrounding global warming science. In your first round of
edits, there were 47 edits that introduced additional
uncertainty; in the second round, you made 28 edits that made
global warming seem less certain, and in your third round of
edits, you made 106 changes that introduced additional
uncertainty. That is a total of 181 edits. I want to ask you
about these edits.
Take a look at exhibit C. You are ready for this.
When the draft arrived on your desk, lines 40 to 42 read,
``recent warming has been linked to longer growing seasons,
grass species decline, changes in aquatic diversity, in coral
bleaching.'' You inserted the words ``indicated as
potentially'' introducing a greater level of uncertainty into
that report. Right or wrong?
Mr. Cooney. Right. I inserted those words.
Mr. Welch. And I assume that you referred to some
scientific report for introducing this change that contradicted
the report of the scientists.
Mr. Cooney. This is not a report of the scientists.
Mr. Welch. Here's a simple question. You made a change. You
had a basis for the change. My question is this: What was the
basis of your change?
Mr. Cooney. It was the National Academy of Science's June
Mr. Welch. And tell us specifically, in that report you are
now referring to, where the National Academy said
Mr. Cooney. Well, the National Academy identified the
uncertainties associated with regional outcomes of climate
change as one of the fundamental scientific questions that
remained and needed to be studied.
Mr. Welch. My question is simple. It's an important
question. You made a change. You overruled the written report
of a scientist in your department.
Mr. Cooney. I didn't overrule it.
Mr. Welch. Where specifically can you find support to
authorize the important scientific conclusion on the issue of
Mr. Cooney. On page 19 of the report it states, on a
regional scale and in the longer term, there is much more
uncertainty. At page 21 of the National Academy of Sciences
report, it says, ``Whereas all models project global warming
and global increases in precipitation, the sign of
precipitation varies among models for regions. The range of
model sensitivities and the challenge of projecting signs of
precipitation changes for regions represents a substantial
limitation in assessing climate impacts.''
Mr. Welch. Dr. Hansen, does this make the slightest bit of
Mr. Hansen. I think the connection between warming and
longer growing seasons is very straightforward, and I don't see
the need for this sort of qualification.
Mr. Welch. Thank you.
Please turn to exhibit D, Mr. Cooney.
When you received the June 5, 2003, draft, page 294 read,
``Climate modeling capabilities have improved dramatically and
can be expected to continue to do so. As a result, scientists
are now able to model earth system processes in the coupling of
those processes on a regional and global scale with increasing
precision and reliability.''
The CEQ completely, completely deleted these sentences,
Mr. Cooney. At which line? I am sorry, Congressman.
Mr. Welch. Page 294.
Mr. Cooney. Yes, Congressman.
Mr. Welch. All right. Did you refer to some scientific
evidence upon which you would delete the scientific conclusions
that were presented by scientists?
Mr. Cooney. I did, Congressman. At page 16 of the National
Academy of Sciences report, it says, however, climate models
are imperfect. Their simulation skill is limited by
uncertainties in their formulation, the limited size of their
calculation and their difficulty of interpreting their answers
of the exhibit with almost as much complexity as in nature.
Most importantly, at the end of the National Academy of
Sciences report, it says that a major limitation of model
forecasts for use around the word is the paucity of data
available to evaluate the ability of coupled models to simulate
important aspects of climate change. In addition, the observing
system available today is a composite of observations that
neither provide the information nor the continuity and data to
support measurements of climate variability. Therefore, above
all, it is essential to ensure the existence of long-term
observing systems that provides a more definitive observational
foundation to evaluate decadal and century scale variability
Mr. Welch. You heard Dr. Hansen just a moment ago when he
said that scientists are different than lawyers?
Mr. Cooney. Yes.
Mr. Welch. Lawyers find every single possible nuance to
create doubt and uncertainty.
Here's the question, all right? What you deleted was a
straightforward statement that said climate modeling
capabilities have improved dramatically. You have now just read
a statement that says they are not perfect and you have now
edited that report to undercut the conclusion on climate
warming that was reached by our scientists. Yes or no?
Mr. Cooney. No, Congressman, I didn't edit the report. I
made recommendations within an established interagency review
process, and I believed at the time that I made them that I had
a foundation for my comments based in the National Academy of
I am not being lawyerly. I am being--
Mr. Welch. But you did have a foundation, and it was
admirable loyalty to the person who had appointed you to a
Here's one of the questions I have as I listen to this.
Whether you call it a recommendation or an edit, we will let
the people of America decide that. You describe candidly that
your job was to align executive reports to administration
policy. Administration's policy was pro-oil, pro-drilling, pro-
API. It created--as the API report said, its goal was to create
uncertainty about the basis of global warming.
How is what the Petroleum Institute was doing--and these
edits were encouraging--any different than the work of the so-
called scientists during the whole tobacco debate when they
were selling doubt about whether there was any link between
tobacco and lung cancer?
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, I would say that the most material
development was that the President's climate change committee--
Cabinet-level committee itself requested our latest knowledge,
the most current knowledge on the state of what we know about
climate change of the National Academy of Sciences. That report
was delivered to the Cabinet in early June 2001, and became the
explicit basis for President Bush's stated policies in June
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Welch. Thank you.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Issa.
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cooney, I'll ask you the obvious question. In
retrospect, do you think it would have been better if a
scientist had been in your position doing these edits or maybe
a librarian who had not worked at the Petroleum Institute?
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, this--all of this, the review of
these reports, the process for the report, is really controlled
by the Global Change Research Act of 1990. It calls for the
Council on Environmental Quality to be represented on an
Mr. Issa. I understand.
Mr. Cooney [continuing]. With high-ranking individuals.
Mr. Issa. I am just asking, in retrospect, would a
librarian from East McKeesport been a better choice so that we
would not be talking about past profession?
Mr. Cooney. Perhaps.
Mr. Issa. Well, hopefully, in the future, Members of
Congress will not come from individual States with their
political bent having served in the legislatures either. But I
am not holding my breath on that.
Dr. Hansen, I have a question for you.
We've been focusing up until now on specifics of a report
and a handful of edits that were mostly not accepted. Do you
feel that you are able to express in a clear way to the public
the real dangers of climate change? Yes or no? Keep it as
simple as you can.
Mr. Hansen. I wish it were a simple yes or no.
Mr. Issa. How about if we do this, since it is not that
simple. I did a little quick looking at the stories from
January 1, 2006, until today. Would you believe I found 1,400
statements in publications distinctly different that you've
done in that period that are available on Google? That doesn't
Mr. Hansen. No, it doesn't surprise me.
Mr. Issa. Does it surprise you that you're only 40 or so--
out of that 1,464, you're only about 40 or so behind Dr. Hale
from the shuttle program? And you're only--the two of you
together it takes to get up to the administrator of NASA. So
would you say that more or less a major story each and every
day times two is reasonable access to the media?
Mr. Hansen. Sure. That is, but this is a story that needs
access to the media.
Mr. Issa. I don't disagree with you. But, you know, in
January 2006, you delivered 15 major media interviews; and in
your testimony, or, actually, in some of the other material
related, you said this was a month after Mr. Deutsch and the
administration stifled your ability to speak. So I guess one of
the questions is, when do you have time for research?
Mr. Hansen. Well, my wife will tell you that--about 80 or
90 hours a week. It takes a lot of time. If you're going to
spend some time trying to communicate with the public, it does
take away from your research time.
Mr. Issa. But 15 major media events in 1 month, and that
was the month after the administration put the hammer down.
Mr. Hansen. Sure. That is the reason why. As soon as that
became public knowledge, then the media came running.
Mr. Issa. But did the administration stop you from doing
those 15 major media events?
Mr. Hansen. No. The NASA Administrator came out with a very
strong statement. To his credit, he said that we were, in fact,
allowed to speak to the public.
Mr. Issa. OK. So, notwithstanding the President, the
American Petroleum Institute, Mr. Cooney, the fact is, during
this administration, with people such as the NASA Director, you
have had significant access--as a matter of fact, you're one of
the most easily Googleable human beings on the face of the
earth. So the message is getting out, would you say?
Mr. Hansen. The message is getting out, but there remains a
gap in the public understanding of where our knowledge of
global climate change is.
Mr. Issa. Going back to that, this 2000 report, I noted
that in 2000 it was called the Alternative Scenario. Now the
only reason you call it the Alternative Scenario was you were
outside the mainstream, to a certain extent, at least.
Mr. Hansen. No. Alternative was alternative to business as
usual. That's what it means. Business as usual has continued an
increase in emissions year after year by larger and larger
Mr. Issa. Isn't it true that in 2000 the groups, including
the Union of Concerned Scientists, criticized you soundly for
publishing the Alternative Scenario--
Mr. Hansen. Yeah, there was--
Mr. Issa [continuing]. Because it would confuse the public?
Mr. Hansen. Because I focused on some of the contributions
of the non-CO2.
Mr. Issa. You were providing ammunition for the deniers,
Mr. Hansen. No, I was providing science.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, when you provide an alternative to
what somebody else is doing and add to that body of debate, you
are providing alternatives and moving the debate when someone
else puts a limiting word, it appears; and I have already
written off Mr. Cooney as not a scientist, but I am trying to
understand if--in 2000, you did something very, very important,
which is you said you have all of those non-CO2
things that we have been looking at and they have certain
effects and CO2 has certain amounts and here is how
we are going to look at it, and you got denounced for it, but
you don't consider that a problem, even though they said you
were confusing part of the public because it was unsettled.
Mr. Hansen. Pardon?
Mr. Issa. You were confusing the public as an unsettled
science in 2000; is that right?
Mr. Hansen. Could you repeat that?
Mr. Issa. The Union of Concerned Scientists found that you
were confusing the public in 2000 by putting forward this
Mr. Hansen. Well, you would have to ask them. I don't think
it was confusing the public.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, you know--look, I would like to be
with you because you are one of the preeminent scientists, but,
in 2000, you were still looking to add to the body, as I am
sure you are today----
Mr. Hansen. Sure we are. We always are.
Mr. Issa [continuing]. Of science because, until we have
all of the body, we won't have all of the potential solutions
for the problems.
Mr. Hansen. That doesn't mean we don't know anything.
Mr. Issa. Of course. I am not saying that. My opening
statement said you are pushing on an open door. I agree with
you on CO2, I agree with you on the greenhouse gas,
and I agree with you on the need to change that.
In the last Congress, we had a number of scientists in my
subcommittee, and we were able to get what we think was a
pretty good assessment. It is about $350 trillion if we are
going to get to zero emissions today. And if research--and do
the science. That price goes down, depending on how much time
The concern that I have is I want your science to tell us
as accurately on a daily, weekly, monthly basis how much time
we have. Because we know we can't spend $350 trillion to solve
this problem, but we know we can't wait forever to solve it.
So, in between, we are trying to figure out how to apply
efficiently the dollars not to collapse our society and to in
fact get to a zero greenhouse gas/also CO2
emissions. Isn't that a common goal that you share with this
President who stated that he wants to get to, in fact, a stable
environment and a cleaner one than we have today?
Mr. Hansen. If you would look at my written testimony, you
will see that I have some terrific recommendations. The problem
is that our policy now is not going in that direction. We are
continuing to increase our emissions. But it is clear that we
have to decrease.
Mr. Issa. I agree. We are doing it.
Mr. Hansen. The sooner we start on it, the less expensive
it will be. In fact, it may be economically beneficial.
Mr. Issa. How much are we spending on sequestration of
Mr. Hansen. We are spending quite a lot on clean coal.
Mr. Issa. Is that a step in the right direction as an
interim to reduce the emissions?
Mr. Hansen. Sequestration is an important issue, which it
Mr. Issa. Second, what are we spending on nuclear?
Mr. Hansen. We are spending a lot.
Mr. Issa. Is that important to disposable--
Mr. Hansen. Those are important, but there are renewables
in energy efficiency which have tremendous potential in this.
We are spending chicken feed.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, that's chicken feed. How much would
Mr. Hansen. It is not up to me to determine how much we
Mr. Issa. How much, if it is up to you to determine--
Mr. Hansen. And, again, this is my opinion as a private
citizen. It is not--
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, I understand the disclaimer, but we
didn't call you here as a private citizen. You said it was
chicken feed. I am following up on that. If $4, $5, $6, $8, $10
billion in various pockets of the Federal Government is chicken
feed, what do we need to spend in dollars to move this along?
Somewhere between $10 billion and $350 trillion? Give me a
number of an annual amount we should spend.
Mr. Hansen. It should be at least comparable to what we are
spending on nuclear--we are subsidizing fossil fuels and
nuclear a lot. We should be spending a lot more on renewables
and energy efficiency. We have tremendous potential in energy
Mr. Issa. So if nuclear--
Mr. Hansen. I don't think we are overspending on the other
research. It is very important.
Mr. Issa. That is a fair answer.
Am I running out of time again?
Chairman Waxman. Yup.
Mr. Issa. Thanks, Dr. Hansen.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Issa.
Ms. Watson. Dr. Hansen, as one of the eminent climate
researchers, I want to thank you for being here today.
I don't know the process, but, as I am looking at the
exhibits that have been passed out to us, when you present an
empirical report is it usual or unusual to have whole lines
deleted by someone who is not a scientist?
Mr. Hansen. Well, I would hope it would be unusual.
Ms. Watson. All right. It is my understanding that in late
2002 a NASA public affairs official warned that there would be
dire consequences if you continued to do press interviews about
the threat of global warming. Can you tell me if this is
accurate and, if so, what happened?
Mr. Hansen. Well, it is accurate in the sense that was
relayed to me. It was an oral threat that was made to the
public affairs person in New York and relayed to me. And as I
described in my testimony today, I think--I don't know if they
were--can be directly related to it, but the consequences for
our budget were pretty dire.
Ms. Watson. So you worked at NASA for over 30 years, as I
understand, and under several administrations, and was that
kind of explicit threat unusual?
Mr. Hansen. Yeah. It is unusual that they will make such an
explicit threat. But, as I again mentioned in my opening
remarks, the mechanisms for keeping government scientists in
line with policy are pretty powerful, and they don't need to
make an explicit threat.
Ms. Watson. I had a confrontation with somebody from the
Department of Commerce when we were in Qatar at the
International Conference on Trade, and he made a statement
about delusionary and mythical global warming. I talked to him
about it afterwards. He was quite curt and rude, and he is no
longer with the Department. He is no longer alive. But I found
that very--in terms of myself as a policymaker, very insulting.
In December 2005, National Public Radio wanted to interview
you about global warming science; and this is, of course, your
area of expertise, as I understand. I am very impressed with
your resume. But NASA didn't want you to talk to NPR, and they
wanted Colleen Hartman to do the interview instead. She was the
Deputy Associate Administrator at NASA and one of your
superiors. Do you think there would be a difference between
what you could offer in an interview on global warming and what
she could offer?
Mr. Hansen. Well, sure, given our experiences. I mean, I
Mr. Shays. Let me request that you speak closer to the mic.
Mr. Hansen. I have been doing research on that topic for
several decades now, and they explicitly indicated that they
wanted to talk about the climate science research that I
discussed at the AGU meeting that December.
Ms. Watson. Were you allowed to do the interview?
Mr. Hansen. No, I was not allowed to do it because
headquarters indicated they preferred that I not be allowed to
speak to NPR because it was described as the most liberal media
outlet in the country.
Ms. Watson. Do you think the administration was afraid of
having you talk to the press about climate change in your
opinion as a private citizen?
Mr. Hansen. They were reluctant for whatever reasons.
Ms. Watson. It seems from this hearing that there was an
attempt to quiet you. I experienced that myself from someone
from this administration, and I don't know how you skew
empirical evidence as a scientist. I would feel that there
should be a report coming from the editors.
If Mr. Cooney, a non-lawyer--Mr. Cooney, if you were to
review this, I would think that, rather than changing words and
editing, that you would write a dissenting report, a challenge
to the findings of Dr. Hansen, rather than suggesting lines be
deleted if you could not find a scientific base to do so.
Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Ms. Watson.
Mr. Cooney. Congresswoman, I did not comment on any of Dr.
Hansen's work. In fact, the record before the committee shows
that I had suggested that he be invited to interagency
committees to brief us on the latest science. So I did not
directly review his work.
Ms. Watson. Thank you.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Cannon.
Mr. Cannon. Thank you.
Mr. Cooney, would you mind expanding on what you just said?
My understanding is you have been a big promoter of Dr. Hansen
in many ways; is that not the case?
Mr. Cooney. I think that is true. In the materials that
went up to the committee, you will find in one of the boxes in
the past couple of weeks that I had sent an e-mail to Dr.
Mahoney who, of course, ran the Climate Change Science Program.
It is a one-liner, and you'll find it in the materials. I said,
how about if we get Dr. Hansen to brief the Deputy Secretary
level committee that met every 2 months on climate change
policy, science, technology, mitigation, international
But I have always been of the view that Dr. Hansen is very
eminent. In fact, Dr. Mahoney did not take me up on my
suggestion; and we, at the White House, therefore invited Dr.
Hansen to come and provide a briefing when I was there. I
attended that briefing, and we appreciated his update. In fact,
we were influenced by a lot of what he had to say about the
potential of near-term mitigation from methane, which is a
potent greenhouse gas.
As a consequence and in reliance on Dr. Hansen, to a large
extent, the administration, the President announced in July
2004 the methane-to-markets partnership under which a number of
developed and developing countries tackled methane emissions.
Mr. Cannon. Methane is one of those greenhouse gasses that
we can do something about. Does it bother you that there is a
tendency to be alarmist about the possible causes--and, Dr.
Hansen, I would like you to address this as well--the possible
causes or the possible effect on the massive inertia, I think
you called it, Dr. Hansen, that these feedback mechanisms might
cause? There is a tendency to focus on those dramatic potential
effects but not so much focus on what we can do to actually
solve the probability containing things like methane.
Mr. Cooney. Well, I think that, as Congressman Issa has
said, we have a time period within which to act, and we want to
act timely, and we want to act cost effectively, and we want to
calibrate our actions to emerging technologies.
So, to be concise, you want to get at the low-hanging
fruit; and Dr. Hansen told us that the low-hanging fruit was
methane emissions. EPA has a tremendous program on methane
emissions, a voluntary program, where actually in the U.S.
methane emissions is the one greenhouse gas that has been
reduced since 1990. My recollection is that we were about 5
percent below the 1990 level in methane emissions because we
are capturing methane from coal mines, we are capturing it from
oil and gas systems, and we are capturing it form landfills and
using it for energy. So EPA's successful program was something
that we could take international and help the developing
countries embrace as well.
Mr. Cannon. I see Dr. Hansen nodding.
Let me just say, I have one of the biggest pig farms in my
district. And, actually, it didn't smell as bad as you might
have expected, but they are now making more money off of
capturing the methane than they are off the 1,500,000 pigs or
so per year that they produce and sell.
Mr. Shays is saying I've got to be kidding. The fact is, in
a very difficult market, they are not making money from the
pigs. They are making money on the methane.
So these are the kinds of things--I see Mr. Hansen nodding.
You are not reflected in the record as smiling and nodding, Mr.
Hansen. It is true there are some things--
Mr. Hansen. This is a success story, and the administration
should be given credit for it.
Mr. Cannon. I just want to say that I would give Mr.
Capuano the microphone any day to be talking about being anti-
energy or pro-oil or pro-drilling or pro-tax cuts. Because the
people that pay these costs are the poor in America way
disproportionately; and in an environment where there tends to
be an increasing disparity between rich and poor, I want to be
on the side of people getting what they need in terms of
I notice, Dr. Hansen, you are very positive about some of
these alternatives like methane control on the one hand, like
nuclear on the other hand. And, again, the record should show
that Mr. Hansen is nodding; and, also, what you are suggesting,
we go from chicken feed to more money to alternatives. There
are great potentials there and that--in fact, let me give you
some time to talk, instead of just nodding, Dr. Hansen.
Your sense is that we have this--and if I can characterize
you--a massive inertia in our oceans and ice caps and that
forces, feedback forces, have a tendency, over time, to maybe
be dramatic. Your concern is to draw people's attention to the
potential problem. Don't you think in that regard that finding
options for what we can do today to improve the way we affect
the atmosphere is important?
Mr. Hansen. Absolutely. That's the bottom line, and we need
to begin to take those actions now. Because if we stay on
business as usual another decade, it will be very difficult to
avoid the inertia taking over and carrying us to climate
changes that we would rather not have.
Mr. Cannon. How much time do I have left?
Chairman Waxman. None.
Mr. Cannon. Mr. Deutsch, I am very impressed by you. It
sounds to me like you have your resume out there. You had it
prepared in anticipation of graduation. If somebody ever raised
that as a question in your career, I would be happy to be a
recommender for you to straighten them out.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you. You want to hire him?
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cooney, you stated that--and we have repeated it a
number of times--that your primary obligation is to promote the
policies of the administration; is that correct?
Mr. Cooney. Essentially correct.
Mr. Yarmuth. Essentially, that you are a spin doctor, is
that a fair characterization of what you did?
Mr. Cooney. No, I don't think that's fair.
Mr. Yarmuth. I had to get that in anyway. It sounds to me
like a spin doctor.
You said that you were only making recommendations. And you
made recommendations to Mr. Mahoney. Is it fair to say that,
once you got these documents and passed them on, it had left
the realm of science and entered the political process?
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, the documents were inherently of a
policy nature. They related to budgets. They related to
research priorities. They were not a platform for the
presentation of original scientific research. These were
documents called for under the Global Change Research Act.
They were sent to 75 people to review under an established
process at the Office of Management and Budget, and I was one
of 75 who reviewed it, and it came to my office. I did my
reviews. You send it back to OMB. OMB would synthesize the
comments and, in all likelihood, give them to Dr. Mahoney for a
final reconciliation because he was the head of the program.
Mr. Yarmuth. Are you saying you had no more influence on
what was in the final report than the other 75? You were in the
White House. None of the other 75 in the White House--
Mr. Cooney. The Office of Science and Technology Policy
staff participated, the Council of Economic Advisors. The
Office of Management and Budget itself reviewed these budgetary
policy research reports. A host of people in the White House
reviewed them. But all of the agencies reviewed these documents
themselves because they affected their budgets and everyone
wanted to be comfortable with what was expressed.
Mr. Yarmuth. But you made recommendations; and, according
to staff's count, something like 181 of the edits that you made
appeared in the final report. Are you saying that you didn't
have any disproportionate influence?
Mr. Cooney. I was an active participant. There is no
denying that. But if you look at these documents, they were
multiple hundreds of pages, and I don't think it is unfair to
say that 99 percent of the pages had no comments on them. Where
I had a comment, I would make it. But I think it is a fair
characterization to say that 99 percent of the drafts that came
through I had no comment, no recommendation to make.
Mr. Yarmuth. Let's talk about--you have said on numerous
occasions today that you used, as the basis for your editing,
the National Academy of Sciences and the National Resource
Council documentation; and, in fact, in chapter one of the
draft, where it talks about the issue--called the issues for
science and society, on the page you did have a footnote and
one statement about human activities causing--whether human
activities cause climate change or global warming.
The NRC elaborated on this point. C-A, next page. And, in
fact, there was a section called, from their report, this is
the NRC, the effect of human activities, which talks about how
the effect of human activities cannot be unequivocally
established; is that correct? So, in fact, you did that there.
Now, if we can, would you turn to exhibit A and--because
both in your testimony today and in your deposition, you talked
about this being your guiding document. Will you read the first
sentence of the National Academy Report aloud, please?
Mr. Cooney. Greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the
earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities causing
surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you.
Now turn to exhibit B, and this exhibit is your handwritten
edits to the EPA report.
Now on page 3, beginning on line 24, you have deleted a
sentence from the EPA text. Will you please read that sentence
Mr. Cooney. I am looking at line 24 on which page?
Mr. Yarmuth. Page 3.
Mr. Cooney. The NRC concluded that the greenhouse gasses
are accumulating in the atmosphere as a result of human
activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface
temperatures to rise.
Mr. Yarmuth. Now you replaced this verbatim quote from the
National Academy of Science with your own sentence. This
sentence reads, ``Some activities among greenhouse gasses and
other substances directly or indirectly may affect the balance
of incoming and outgoing radiation, thereby potentially
affecting climate on regional and global scales.''
That sentence does not appear in the Academy's report. So
you deleted a direct quote from the Academy's report, which you
say is what you relied upon, and replaced it with a sentence
that appears designed to obfuscate the simple reality that
human activities are warming the planet. Why did you make the
change, and why did you not rely on the NRC report in that
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, I recall this document did have a
number of drafts, and I do recall the viewing documents that
recommended the insertion of a more full quote, the one that
you had referenced before from page 17 about the linkage
between observed warming in the 20th century and human
activities not being unequivocally established because the
range of natural variability climate was not sufficiently
In this case, I don't recognize the source of the comment
that I am inserting here on this draft. I don't know that it is
not in the National Academy of Science's report. I just can't
say that it is.
As I said, in most cases, nearly all cases, my comments
were derivative and in reliance on the National Academy of
Science's report; and this may be a quote from that report.
But my concern there was that--in prior drafts, you will
see my concern there was that EPA was, in its draft, was not
being sufficiently expansive on the question of the connection
between human activities and observed warming. It wasn't using
the full benefit of what the National Academy had said, and I
wanted a broad quote because it's an important question.
The quote on page 17 has the caption the Effect of Human
Activities; and it is there where the National Academy is
purporting to speak very specifically, not from the summary
which is what this sentence is from but very specifically about
the linkage between observed warming and human activities. I
thought that it was more complete to refer to that quote, and
you will find that I did recommend the insertion of that quote
in a number of other drafts.
Mr. Yarmuth. And more supportive of the administration's
Mr. Cooney. Well, Congressman, again, if you look at
chapter 3 of the policy book that the President himself
released on June 11th, 2 weeks before I got there, the
President has 50 quotes from the National Academy of Science's
report where he prescribes what his research priorities are
going to be.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Souder. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Hansen, a lot of people believe that money can
influence science. In fact, Mr. Cooney was more or less smeared
for his past ties to the Petroleum Institute. You received a
quarter million dollars from the Heinz Foundation in 2001. Why
shouldn't we believe that influenced your support for John
Kerry for President in 2004?
Mr. Hansen. The award--the Heinz Environment Award is an
award that is named for John Heinz, a Republican Senator from
Mr. Souder. Whose wife is married to John Kerry.
Mr. Hansen. Yes, that is right.
There is no--as far as I know, there is no political
connection to this award. It is an environmental award, and it
is not--and you know it is--
Mr. Souder. I understand the point you are making. It is
not from Theresa Heinz directly or from John Kerry directly.
But the point is that when you smear individuals based on
associations or indirect associations is what has historically
been called McCarthyism and what was done to the first witness
on this panel.
Let me ask you a more precise question.
You have said publicly multiple times that you were a
consultant on Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth. You said
that Al Gore has a better understanding of the science of
global warming than any politician that you have met. Given
your close ties to former Vice President Gore, how do you feel
about this statement: He said it's appropriate to have an
overrepresentation of factual presentations on how dangerous it
is as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what
solutions are and how it is to be helpful. Do you feel it is OK
for politicians to exaggerate the impact of global warming?
Mr. Hansen. No, we don't need to exaggerate. The reality is
serious enough. There is no need for exaggeration.
Mr. Souder. I also want to express my concerns that you
didn't submit your testimony. You were told, we understand, on
February 15th that this hearing was coming. I know you are a
busy person. Our committee rules, which are increasingly being
violated, were told that you had 2 business days. Our staff was
willing to stay in over the weekend, and yet we didn't receive
the testimony until Sunday night. It doesn't matter, because
there is nothing new in your testimony. But, as a courtesy, it
is helpful for us for hearings to prepare.
I am more upset that the chairman has not allowed our
Republican witness to speak until the third panel. On a hearing
on censorship, on a hearing of lack of debate, our witness was
denied on the first panel where we could have debated this. I
believe it makes a mockery of a hearing on censorship to censor
the Republican witness.
Now, ironically, Dr. Spencer, who was at NASA for 15 years,
who was awarded the Meteorological Society Special Award for
developing a global precise record of the earth's temperature
from operational polar orbiting satellites, fundamentally
advancing our ability to monitor climate--that is the quote
from the award--who receives NASA's exceptional achievement
medal, has views differing from Dr. Hansen.
He also says, Dr. Spencer, ``well aware that any
interaction between scientists and the press was to be
coordinated through NASA management and public affairs.'' And
he resigned from NASA under the Clinton administration because
of limits on what he could and could not say as a NASA employee
because he felt he was being restricted by the Clinton
Now, Dr. Hansen, based on your definitions of censorship,
silencing and political interference, whatever you want to call
it, that you allege to have occurred under the Bush
administration, was Dr. Spencer also being censored by the
Clinton administration trying to filter his statements through
NASA when he disagreed with the Clinton administration?
Mr. Hansen. I don't have any knowledge of that. I don't
know if he was prevented from speaking to reporters the way
that I was. You would have to ask him about that.
Mr. Souder. The major point with this--well, I would like
to ask, because it would be an interesting comparison, but the
majority prohibited us from having him on this panel, not a
contrarian, but, in fact, a well-known researcher who was at
NASA for many years and has received numerous awards for that.
I think it is appalling that we can't have a discussion and
a comparison. We can have allegations--and that's why people
think sometimes these things are show hearings. We can have
allegations against one administration, but when the press is
here and when there is coverage on one but not on the other, in
my opinion, it is a set-up, it is appalling, and we have been
deteriorating in our process here.
I am very, very disappointed, particularly the questions,
to say would--if you altered something from that is a
legitimate debate--from a--to put slight--more vague in and say
that is what the Petroleum Institute would want you to do would
be similar to saying--and a socialist would rather have you not
do that that way or a person who's anti-capitalist would rather
have you not have it that way, it's an over-simplification. And
I just am appalled at the process here and very disappointed.
I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. The only thing I can say to the gentleman
is that we do have the witness that the Republicans requested
here today to testify. We, unfortunately, can't have everybody
testify all at once. We have to take them one at a time. But,
on this first panel, we have two appointees under the
Republican administration sitting on either side of Dr. Hansen.
The odd thing is that Dr. Hansen is one of the world's most
esteemed scientists on global warming, and the two people at
the table with him wanted to change his comments or stop him
from speaking. It is odd, when you look at their
qualifications, how little qualifications they have for
imposing their views on science over what Dr. Hansen was doing
as a government employee.
Mr. Souder. As you know, just a few months ago I was a
chairman. I do not recall you or the Democrats being willing to
accept my definition of who the Democrat witnesses should be.
Chairman Waxman. Well, I would point out to the gentleman
that there were times when you would even deny our witnesses.
We have your witness here, and we are going to hear from that
witness on the third panel. I am looking forward to hearing
what he has to say. I will be here. I think that other Members
will be here as well.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, we do--
Mr. Souder. Mr. Chairman, I just want to say for the
record, you know, that I never did that in my subcommittee,
that I have never deprived Democrats of the witnesses on the
panel. It may have happened at full committee.
Chairman Waxman. I am being informed that it was at the
full committee and not at your subcommittee that we were denied
At any rate, we don't believe in denying witnesses; and we
do have your witnesses here.
Mr. Issa. I want to thank you for that, after your three
witnesses, that our witness will get up in the third panel.
Let's just say let's go forward from here, and I am sure what
we did to you will never happen back to us and vice versa.
Chairman Waxman. I don't think Mr. Cooney, Mr. Deutsch, and
Mr. Connaughton are my three witnesses, but they are witnesses
that are appropriately here because they worked for this
administration and we want to hear from them why we have this
odd situation where nonscientists, even--how old were you at
the time, Mr. Deutsch?
Mr. Deutsch. Twenty-three, twenty-four.
Chairman Waxman. And you were telling Mr. Hansen's staff
that he couldn't go out and make public statements.
Mr. Deutsch. I wouldn't go that far. I did relay
information from my higher-ups from NASA about particular
Chairman Waxman. Particular instances.
Mr. Deutsch. Sure. Particular interviews.
Chairman Waxman. That he would not be able to do.
Mr. Deutsch. You are speaking to one interview in
particular, and that is NPR, and we offered them three very
Chairman Waxman. Well, we'll get into that with other
The time now is yielded to the gentlelady from the District
of Columbia, Ms. Norton.
Ms. Norton. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I am interested in trying to get at the atmosphere that has
created what would normally be a pretty pristine,
straightforward atmosphere in the scientific agency. I want to
congratulate Mr. Deutsch because, despite his tender years and
perhaps his education, he was able to speak authoritatively as
the spokesman on occasion for the agency. One of those
statements, I would like to ask you about.
It relates to an e-mail to a NASA contractor of October
17th. I am going to read part of it. You wanted him to add the
word ``theory'' to Big Bang. I don't have any problem with
that. We talk about evolution as a theory, although I am
astounded by the lack of understanding about what the word
``scientific'' theory means.
In any case, I don't think anybody would have any problem
with that. But you went on to offer further opinions, and I am
giving you what you said in that e-mail now. ``It is not NASA's
place nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about
the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design
by the Creator.
``The other half of the argument that is notably absent
from any of these three portal submissions, this is more than a
science issue. It is a religious issue. I would hate to think
that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate
Mr. Deutsch, you then were relaying the notion that, in
order to talk about the Big Bang theory, NASA would give or say
words--either say words or give some deference to intelligent
Mr. Deutsch. No, ma'am. It is important to note this e-mail
was between me and Mr.--
Ms. Norton. Excuse me?
Mr. Deutsch. I only sent this e-mail to Flint. It was not a
statement on national policy or anything like that. It was
simply--the bulk of that is my personal opinion, my personal
religious views. These I understood Mr. Wild to share. He is a
Christian, and so am I, and we had talked about that.
Ms. Norton. I said, it is not NASA's place, nor should it
be. So if it was your own religious views, why did you cite
Mr. Deutsch. Well, again--
Ms. Norton. A friend of yours. Is this person that you are
e-mailing to a friend of yours?
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, ma'am. I'd agree with you that it was--
work e-mail is a silly place to put this. I agree with you
wholeheartedly. But if you go down to the bottom of the e-mail,
you will read the sentence, ``Please edit these stories to
reflect that the Big Bang is but theory on how the universe
began. That is the only change I really want.''
And you will see that is all I was really asking for, that
the word ``theory'' be added to Big Bang, because that was the
AP style guidelines of 2005.
Ms. Norton. This perhaps explains why when you--this kind
of personal opinion lurking somewhere, even on e-mails, in
correspondence, official correspondence between a
representative and a contractor, may explain what you mean when
you apparently allege that there was a cultural war in NASA.
You were interviewed last February on a Texas A&M radio
program; and apparently referring to the scientists at NASA,
you said, ``This is an agenda. It is a culture war agenda. They
are out to get Republicans. They're out to get Christians.
They're out to get people who are helping Bush. Anybody they
perceive as not sharing their agenda, they're out to get.'' Who
are you referring to?
Mr. Deutsch. Well, Ms. Norton, I have to say, as you may
imagine, I was very emotional, very upset, very distraught
about the way things went down.
Ms. Norton. Do you still believe that?
Mr. Deutsch. I wouldn't go that far today. No. I think that
I, frankly, said a lot of that stuff out of anger. It was just
an emotional time for me, and I wouldn't say all of those
Ms. Norton. Were you sitting next to Dr. Hansen there--and
I am going to allow you to--since you say that is the kind of
thing you would not say today, you said, at the same time, he
wants to demean the President, he wants to demean the
administration, create a false impression the administration is
watering down science and lying to the public, and that is
patently false. And Dr. Hansen is sitting beside you now. Would
you like to say anything to him about such words that were
Mr. Issa. Regular order. I don't believe that our rules
call for a dialog between witnesses.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's order is not well taken.
It is the gentlelady's time.
Ms. Norton. I am simply asking, in light of the fact--and I
ask the question only because I want to give Mr. Deutsch the
opportunity, and he said words like this were uttered as a
matter when he was highly emotional. Those words also were
uttered in this case naming renowned scientists at NASA. I am
not asking you to apologize to him. But rather than simply
reading this statement and saying did you say this, because I
know you said it, I am asking you, having said something like
this in light of your prior statement that these kinds of
statements were made as an emotional manner, in light of that,
what would you like to say to Dr. Hansen since you happen to be
sitting beside him right now?
Mr. Deutsch. I think we all agree that he's been critical
of the administration. But, beyond that, I would just restate
that I wouldn't necessarily make those statements--comments
today, no, ma'am.
Ms. Norton. I appreciate that answer.
I yield back my time.
Chairman Waxman. Before you yield it back, may I ask, how
was he critical of the administration?
Mr. Deutsch. I believe the things--you start with the
allegations of censorship and--you know, starting with that I
think is a good place.
Chairman Waxman. So Dr. Hansen is being critical of the
administration by not being pleased with your telling people in
his office that he can't go and speak certain places. Is that
being unfair to the administration?
Mr. Deutsch. He just made several allegations about
censorship by political appointees, allegations I don't agree
with him on. So I think it is fair to say that is being
critical of the administration, sir.
Chairman Waxman. Well, if we look at some of the changes
Mr. Cooney proposed, they were changes in substance of what the
scientists were recommending be in these global warming climate
change positions. And, Dr. Hansen, I think your criticism is
they were substantive changes; is that correct?
Mr. Hansen. Yes, that is right.
Chairman Waxman. Now if there's substantive changes coming
from a political appointee who used to be at the American
Petroleum Institute and raises the question in his mind, and I
think anybody's mind, Democrat and Republican, that maybe
somebody who is not a scientist, who is a lawyer, who used to
work for the Petroleum Institute, who is a political appointee
is trying to superimpose his views.
Now you, on the other hand, were a public affairs
representative at the age of 23; and you were telling Dr.
Hansen's staff to tell him that the higher-ups didn't want him
to be on National Public Radio; isn't that true?
Mr. Deutsch. That is fair.
Chairman Waxman. Isn't that interference?
Mr. Deutsch. No, I wouldn't go as far to say it was
interference. We had taken that request. I took it to the ninth
floor and discussed it with the higher-ups. They thought it
over and said, hey, you know, we've got three other qualified
people, Dr. Colleen Hartman, who was mentioned, Dr. Mary Cleave
and Dr. Jack Kaye; and those three were offered.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much.
Mr. Shays, do you want your time now or do you want--
Mr. Shays. How many more Members do you have on your side?
OK. I am going to take it now.
I weep that this administration didn't seize this issue and
claim it as its own, and this issue being climate changes for
real, and mankind has had an impact on it. Are we thinking what
this administration could have done about this issue? So I just
want to be on record as saying that.
I think there are two inconvenient truths in this world
right now, one that unfortunately too many of my Republicans
don't want to deal with, and that's what Al Gore talks about,
and the other is what others have talked about, about the
Islamist threat that too many of my Democratic colleagues don't
want to deal with or are in denial. That's what I believe. It's
Having said this, when I listen to these hearings, I get
drawn into believing that there are setups here and there are
misimpressions galore, and some of them frankly, Mr. Cooney,
are the result of having someone with your background and your
position. You instantly lose credibility. Not your fault. It's
your background. I might have thought twice about taking on
that assignment because of that.
But when we had Mr. Piltz here last week, or 2 weeks ago,
he was talking as if scientists--his reports were being
changed, as if he was a scientist. I still read in the
newspaper that he's a scientist. He's not a scientist.
Dr. Hansen, you're a scientist. Now let me ask you about
the Academy's report in 2001; not what you believe, not what
you're convinced of, not what you think the science says, did
the National Academy report from 2001 say conclusively that
global warming was for real, case closed?
Mr. Hansen. I would say yes. By the way, I was an author,
one of the authors of that report.
Mr. Shays. You're saying yes to what?
Mr. Hansen. Global warming is real.
Mr. Shays. The report in 2001 said that? Not now.
Mr. Hansen. Sure. We knew that global warming was real in
Mr. Shays. You knew it was real. So what did the report say
that I could turn to or you could turn to me and say case
closed, issued decided?
Mr. Hansen. We had a sentence which was just referred to,
it said: Greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the atmosphere
as a result of human activity, causing surface air temperatures
and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise.
It is a very straightforward sentence. It connects cause
and effect, increasing greenhouse gasses, increasing global
temperature. That's a very strong statement.
Mr. Shays. Nothing that says this issue has been decided,
there's no question about it, and we need to deal with it.
Mr. Hansen. The report certainly concludes that we need to
deal with it, yes. There are always aspects of the problem
which we need to work on more, but this is a very strong
Mr. Shays. It's funny, it doesn't strike me as what I would
think is a strong statement. What would strike me as a strong
statement is to say the issue has been decided, there is no
doubt in our minds, this is the issue, it's caused by humans,
and we need to get on with it. When I hear that statement, it's
saying an issue as of fact as if it's, in my judgment, part of
the problem, but not all of the problem.
I am left with the belief that climate change, there's no
debate anymore, and people would say it in a much more
Mr. Cooney, how would you respond to my question?
Mr. Cooney. Congressman Shays.
Mr. Shays. I want you to talk close to the mic. Both of you
are not speaking as loud as I would like.
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, I would refer to you the quotation
on page 17 which is entitled: The effect of human activities.
Mr. Shays. Is this in the 2001?
Mr. Cooney. The June 2001 National Academy Report, and it
speaks to the connection to human activities and it says:
``because of the large and still uncertain level of natural
variability inherent in the climate record and the
uncertainties and the time histories of the various forcing
agents, particularly aerosols, a causal linkage between the
buildup of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and the observed
climate changes during the 20th Century cannot be unequivocally
It goes on to say that--
Mr. Shays. Dr. Hansen, is that just designed to confuse
people like me or is that designed by--sounds like an Alan
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, I had it before me, and I did it
at my desk when I was at the White House, it talked about major
uncertainties with respect to clouds, aerosols, the natural
carbon cycle, the natural water cycle, the difference between
temperature record at the surface and in the troposphere that
was measured by satellites.
It talked about the lack of a global integrated observation
system. A lot of the southern hemisphere was not really
routinely observed in a climate sense in a long-term sense in
manners and using methodologies that are consistent with the
way climate is measured--
Mr. Shays. How do you respond to that, Dr. Hansen?
Mr. Hansen. If you pick out individual phrases or sentences
and compare them, you need to really look at the entire report.
It was a report which made a very strong statement. The White
House had asked for a clarification because they were uncertain
as to whether they should accept the IPCC document. There were
some people who were questioning the validity, the accuracy of
the IPCC report.
I believe that was a primary reason for requesting the
National Academy to look at the problem. They came out with
quite a clear statement.
Mr. Shays. My time has run out. Let me just ask Mr. Cooney
just to finish his comment.
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, at page 22 of the report, on the
IPCC report, when it spoke to it, it said: Climate projections
will always be far from perfect. Confidence limits,
probabilistic information with their bases should always be
considered. Without them, the IPCC summary for policymakers
could give an impression that the science of global warming is
settled, even though many uncertainties still remain.
That is language from the National Academy Of Sciences.
Mr. Shays. I'll conclude. Dr. Hansen, I'm not a scientist,
but when I hear that I am not left with a report that says no,
debate is over.
Mr. Hansen. No, depends on what you mean by debate is over.
The fact that greenhouse gasses are increasing and the world is
getting warmer and there is a causal connection between them,
that debate is over.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Van Hollen.
Mr. Van Hollen. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you all for
your testimony here today. Mr. Deutsch, I'd like to followup a
little bit on the questions that were asked of you earlier. As
I understand, you were a public affairs officer at NASA.
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. And when you arrived at NASA did you have
any expertise in the area of global climate change?
Mr. Deutsch. No, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. Would you agree that the American people
should have the benefit of the best scientific views within the
government with respect to climate change?
Mr. Deutsch. Sure.
Mr. Van Hollen. Who ultimately paid your salary there, our
salaries, everyone's salaries in public service?
Mr. Deutsch. That would be the taxpayers, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. Would you agree that given that big
investment that they make in our scientific investigation that
again should have the very best giving them their opinions on
Mr. Deutsch. Sure.
Mr. Van Hollen. Now I want to look at this issue of sort of
the political apparatus sort of governing who can say what with
respect to the science on global climate change and I want to
look through this lens of this NPR interview which you
mentioned before. We have a couple e-mails with respect to the
back and forth in the political apparatus with respect to how
that decision was made. I don't know if we're going to put them
on the screens or you have copies of them in front of you.
If you could make sure that the witness has copies of these
e-mails from you.
An e-mail request came in from NPR to Dr. Hansen's office,
is that right?
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, yes. Then they sent it to us.
Mr. Van Hollen. As you said today in your testimony, you
then discussed that request for an interview with the ``9th
floor,'' as you describe it in this e-mail of December 8th.
It's on the second page of your packet at the top. We discussed
it on the 9th floor.
And it was decided that we would like you to handle this
interview; you, referring to Colleen, right?
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, sir. Colleen and also Ms. Cleave and Mr.
Kaye were all considered.
Mr. Van Hollen. My question is who was it that you
discussed this with on the 9th floor and made the decision it
would not be Dr. Hansen?
Mr. Deutsch. Specifically that would be Press Secretary
Mr. Van Hollen. So the 9th floor was the press secretary.
Mr. Deutsch. That 9th floor, that's sort of NASA slang for
senior leadership at headquarters; they're all on the 9th
floor. The head of public affairs as well.
Mr. Van Hollen. But you meant him specifically in this e-
Mr. Deutsch. Yes. Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. There's another e-mail on the next page
that talks about our main concern is ``hitting our messages and
not getting dragged down into any discussions we shouldn't get
What were you worried that Dr. Hansen was going to get into
with respect to the science of global climate change?
Mr. Deutsch. I wasn't worried about anything. Dr. Hansen
would say about the science of global climate change. We had
some media practices that we'd been using up to this time that
I think even Dr. Hansen would tell you he didn't always follow,
and so I think that was a concern that the 9th floor had.
Mr. Van Hollen. It wasn't his immediate--if you go up to
the e-mail above that, it says when asked how you're going to
describe to Dr. Hansen, why he shouldn't be doing this
interview, according to Costa they say right here: Tell them
your boss wants to do.
His boss was Colleen, right? They didn't ask to do this. In
other words, Costa said go ask them to do it. Isn't that the
way it happened?
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. So it wasn't that his bosses wanted to do
it, it was the top press people said we don't want Dr. Hansen
to do this interview, isn't that right?
Mr. Deutsch. It was just Dean who said that and again that
was because we'd had some practices that he had not always been
following as far as reporting the interviews etc., and those
were some of his frustrations he relayed to me. We did have a
practice known as the right of first refusal in which the
senior people could do these interviews.
Mr. Van Hollen. Right. But the decision was made at the top
by the press people that he wouldn't be doing that, isn't that
Mr. Deutsch. In this one case, yes, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. In fact, one looks like Mary and Colleen
are not sure they even want to do it. The point is you made a
decision at the top press level that you didn't want Dr. Hansen
to be giving this interview because you were concerned about
hitting your message and you were concerned Dr. Hansen wasn't
going to hit your message, isn't that right?
Mr. Deutsch. I can't speak for the former press secretary,
you'd have to ask him about that. But that was what was relayed
to me, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. It's your words here, hitting your message.
Isn't that right?
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, sir.
Mr. Van Hollen. Isn't this the definition of political
minding of an expert. In other words, were any of the people
you were offering up more of an expert on global climate change
than Dr. Hansen?
Mr. Deutsch. I don't know as far as their level of
expertise. I know the head of NASA's science mission
directorate and the second in line are some pretty good people
to get offered an interview with, I would say.
Mr. Van Hollen. Dr. Hansen, is there anybody else at NASA,
or any of these other individuals they were proposing for the
interview, people who had more expertise in the science of
global climate change than you?
Mr. Hansen. Well, I'm not going to denigrate anyone.
Mr. Van Hollen. I'm not asking you to denigrate, I'm
talking about in terms of experience.
Mr. Hansen. In terms of experience, no.
Mr. Van Hollen. As you look at these e-mails and based on
your concerns at the time, doesn't this appear to be a perfect
example of exactly the concern that you have raised, which is
political interference in the ability of scientists who are
paid for by funds from taxpayers to be able to present a
factual account of global climate change.
Mr. Hansen. Absolutely. The thing is, this is, however, a
very rare case of where you have it on paper. It's going on all
the time, but most of the people doing that are more
experienced than George was, and they won't make the mistake of
putting the thing on paper like that.
I pointed out, for example, that press releases were going
to the White House, science press release were going to the
White House for editing. But the process, they're careful not
to have memos like this that describe the process.
It's very unfortunate. We developed this politicalization
of science. As I mentioned in my opening comments, public
affairs offices should be staffed by professionals, not by
political appointees, otherwise they become offices of
Chairman Waxman. Thank you, Mr. Van Hollen. Your time has
Mr. Issa. Thanks, Mr. Chairman. Following up--
Chairman Waxman. We're proceeding with the second round.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Deutsch, maybe I'll start with you. You
couldn't seem to come up with an answer to that question of
related to anything in the way of disliking the Bush
administration or being political for Dr. Hansen. Are you aware
that Dr. Hansen has called the Bush press office the office of
propaganda, or, ``It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet
Union than the United States.''
Are those the kinds of comments you might have been
referring to when you were frustrated. Were you aware of those
Mr. Deutsch. Yes, sir, we were aware of those comments, and
those are unfortunate.
Mr. Issa. I appreciate your candor. I'm sorry you didn't
come up with those in real-time, because I think that does go
to the question of your youthful indiscretions in perhaps, in
how you handled the senior scientist. I think you have owned up
to maybe not being up to the job.
Dr. Hansen, are those kind of comments appropriate for
somebody who's been on the Federal payroll, who's had your
science paid for for 3 decades? Are those appropriate things to
say about the Bush administration?
Mr. Hansen. I think that it was--that was in reference to
the fact that scientists were being asked to not speak to
reporters, to report before--to tell reporters I can't speak to
you, I have to get permission, and I have to get someone on the
phone with me to listen in on the conversation. That's getting
to seem a lot like the old Soviet Union to me.
Mr. Issa. The reference to Nazi Germany because they want
to have somebody who's able to say that the doctor did or
didn't say this to a reporter when it later comes out in print,
is that Nazi Germany? Nazi Germany, I think, is a pretty strong
statement, wouldn't you say?
Mr. Hansen. I was referring to the constraints on speaking
to the media.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen--
Mr. Hansen. It violates the constitution, freedom of
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, first of all, when you work for
somebody, the question of when you will speak on behalf of that
entity is not a constitutional question, as you and I both
know. You were not being asked by public broadcasting because
you happened to be a smart guy with a good suit, you were being
asked because of your position at NASA.
Now I come back to this again--
Mr. Hansen. I don't believe that's the case.
Mr. Issa. You have over 1,400 opportunities that you have
availed yourself to, and yet you call it being stifled. I'm
Mr. Hansen. Those cases occurred after the NASA
administrator stepped forward and said I should be allowed to
speak, not before. If you look at some of those memos, you will
find that they were intent on me not speaking.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, you're saying if I went back to 2001,
2002, 2003, 2004, that I would find dramatically less quotes
Mr. Hansen. In many cases--
Mr. Issa. Please. Just would I find dramatically less, yes
Mr. Hansen. You would find less. I don't know how you
Mr. Issa. 1,400 quotes. Would I find that you were only
allowed to speak once, twice, five times, 50 times?
Mr. Hansen. I'm an American and I exercise my right of free
speech. If public affairs people tell me I can't do that and I
know that they're violating the constitution, I ignore them.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, isn't it true that when you speak,
you're speaking on Federal paid time, when you travel, you're
being paid by the Federal Government to travel. Isn't that
Mr. Hansen. Not always.
Mr. Issa. Isn't it normally true?
Mr. Hansen. Normally it is, yes.
Mr. Issa. So your employer, and your employer happens to be
the American taxpayer, but they're sending you at government
expense to these speaking engagements.
Mr. Hansen. That's exactly the point. I should be able, for
the sake of the taxpayers, I should be able to--they should be
availed of my expertise. I shouldn't be required to parrot some
company line. I should give the best information I have.
Mr. Issa. Dr. Hansen, it's very clear that you do say what
you believe each time you speak.
Let me--do you want to put that up on the board, the demo.
Dr. Hansen, you speak, and you speak everywhere regularly,
and you speak on the Federal dollar. I guess my question is do
you think that, in fact, the thousands of scientists all over
NASA should have that same right to travel places and speak.
Before you answer that let me ask a question because I
appreciate public broadcasting, but is every speaking
engagement the one that should be appropriately having Dr.
Hansen on it. Isn't it true that when you're speaking to the
general public often somebody who's a perfectly good speaker,
knows a lot less about the science would be equally good to
answer the basic questions of climate change?
Mr. Hansen. Sure. I welcome that. I accept only a very
small fraction of the invitations. It's impossible. I would
rather do science. That's always been my preference.
Mr. Issa. Thank you. Mr. Chairman, if I could just close
Dr. Hansen, I appreciate the science you do, I appreciate
the work you have done for a very long time and I hope you
continue doing it. I would only say that I hope that the
$250,000 you took from the Heinz Foundation, the campaigning
you did for Senator Kerry for his Presidential race, doesn't
influence your chafing at this administration any differently
than it might for the next administration and that your effort
to get more dollars for climate change is done in a
constructive fashion under the rest of this administration and
I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. I think the gentleman is smearing Dr.
Mr. Issa. Are you moving--
Chairman Waxman. I think you're smearing Dr. Hansen's
reputation when you allege that he's an activist Democrat and
got that award, the Heinz Award because he's a Democrat.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, are you making a motion?
Chairman Waxman. I'm not making a motion, I'm making a
Mr. Issa. Are you recognizing yourself?
Chairman Waxman. Well, I will recognize you. I think you're
smearing him. Do you want to comment on that?
Mr. Issa. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Waxman. I think you're being unfair to him.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, I hope that this gentleman's
political activism which is well defined is not, in fact,
affecting his ability to recognize that this Congress, on a
bipartisan basis, has funded a great deal of the research, with
over 1,400 appearances in that year, and I have no doubt nearly
the same for each of the previous years, that Dr. Hansen, in
fact, in his effort to get more money for climate change, which
I commend, would recognize that in every administration, he's
going to have the same chafing and that it not be chafing more
at the Bush administration, which he clearly dislikes.
You don't compare the Bush administration to Nazi Germany,
and I'm sure the chairman would agree, that you do not compare
anyone to Nazi Germany unless you have real problems beyond
just disagreement on policy.
Mr. Hansen. Could I correct his statement and comment on
them? First of all, I am not a Democrat, I'm a registered
Mr. Issa. The chairman called you a Democrat, not me.
Mr. Hansen. Second, the time when I said I was going to
vote for John Kerry, I actually said I would prefer to vote for
John McCain but he's not on the ballot, and then I explained
the reason that I would vote for John Kerry was because of my
concern about climate change and the fact that it was not being
addressed by the Bush administration. And I thought that Kerry
would do a better job with that. It had nothing to do with
politics. In fact, I have often said my favorite politician was
John Heinz, who was a Republican and who gave equal weight to
economic considerations and environmental considerations, and
it was a great tragedy when he lost his life in a small plane
The Nazi Germany thing was completely with regard to--had
nothing to do with President Bush; it was the constraints on
scientists, their ability to speak to the public and to the
media. And when you tell scientists that they can't speak,
they've got to hang up on the reporter and report this and
allow the right of first refusal so someone else can speak for
you, it doesn't ring true. It's not the American way. And it
was not constitutional.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you, both of you. Let me take my
Dr. Hansen, have you had any examples of people working in
the public relations office within this administration that
wanted to help you further as leading scientist in this global
warming the field the opportunity to talk about the issue?
Mr. Hansen. Well, you know, there actually are lots of
opportunities to speak to the public, and the hard thing is to
keep enough time to do science.
Chairman Waxman. You didn't think Mr. Deutsch any time was
trying to help you get your views out.
Mr. Hansen. No, they didn't.
Chairman Waxman. Let me go on to other things in the time I
have. Mr. Cooney, I guess what we're trying to figure is
whether what drove the policy and is driving the policy of this
administration on global warming and climate change is the
science or whether it's something called the politically
correct science. And as I look at the edits that you proposed,
I think there were--
Mr. Cannon. Mr. Chairman, may I ask.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman is out of order.
Mr. Cannon. Mr. Chairman, did you recognize yourself for
additional 5 minutes before the rest of the panel has the
chance to question for 5 minutes.
Chairman Waxman. No, I did not. I recognized Mr. Issa first
for the second round.
You proposed 181 edits to the strategic plan, 113 edits to
the other global warming reports, there are 3 reports. I guess
what I am trying to find out is whether all of your proposed
edits moved in one direction, which was to increase uncertainty
in global warming science. Would that be a fair statement or an
Mr. Cooney. I think the fair statement would be that my
comments were aligned with the findings of the National Academy
of Sciences in June 2001 as emphasized by the President in his
policy book in chapter 3 on June 11, 2001.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Cooney, you had a senior position at
the White House, but there were officials at the White House
who were more senior to you. Your immediate boss was James
Connaughton, chairman of the White House Council on
Environmental Quality. Was Mr. Connaughton aware of your role
in proposed edits for climate change reports?
Mr. Cooney. He knew that they were reviewing reports as
they came in ordinarily from OMB for review.
Chairman Waxman. Did he personally review your edits?
Mr. Cooney. No, not most.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, his boss is behind him and
Chairman Waxman. Excuse me, I have the time. I didn't
interrupt you. I waited until you finished and then I
Did you discuss the edits with him?
Mr. Cooney. No, not ordinarily.
Chairman Waxman. Did he give you any instructions about how
any of these three documents should be edited?
Mr. Cooney. No. He understood that my objective was to
align these communications with the administration's stated
Chairman Waxman. And the administration's stated policy was
different than what the scientists were saying in those
Mr. Cooney. It wasn't even scientists who were saying it in
these documents. It could have been budget people from the
agencies who were just drafting up reports, what they wanted to
see in next year's budget. The material was not a platform for
the presentation of original scientific research. These were
Chairman Waxman. These were statements of science that you
changed, recommended changes.
Mr. Cooney. Well, they came from Mr. Pills himself, who was
an editor who said he received summaries from agencies.
Chairman Waxman. Sounds like yours.
Mr. Cooney. It's not clear they derived to scientists about
what I reviewed.
Chairman Waxman. Let me go on. Were other officials in the
White House besides Mr. Connaughton and others on the CEQ staff
with whom you discussed climate changes, in other words, were
there other people in the White House, not just people at the
Mr. Cooney. Absolutely.
Chairman Waxman. Who were the other people at the White
House outside of CEQ that you discussed this with?
Mr. Cooney. It really depends upon the issue, but the
Office of Science and Technology Policy obviously led by Dr.
Marburger; Kathy Olsen was the Senate-confirmed director for
science, and she had a leadership role.
Chairman Waxman. How about Andrew Card? Did you ever have a
conversation with Andrew Card about it?
Mr. Cooney. I did not.
Chairman Waxman. How about Karl Rove?
Mr. Cooney. I did not.
Chairman Waxman. Kevin O'Donovan? Do you know who he is?
Mr. Cooney. Yes. He was a staff person in the Office of the
Vice President, and he and I would speak on occasion. He had
the portfolio for energy and natural resources and environment
issues, as I understood it.
Chairman Waxman. What did you talk to him about?
Mr. Cooney. He was a colleague in the White House. He was a
colleague and we would talk occasionally as a lot of us would
talk occasionally, pick up the phone, talk about different
things. We were all going to a lot of the same meetings in some
Chairman Waxman. So you had numerous conversations with
Mr. Cooney. Sure. As I did with people in OSTP, OMB, the
Council of Economic Advisors. All of the White House offices,
really. The domestic policy council.
Chairman Waxman. When you talked to Mr. O'Donovan, were
they in the Vice President's office or your office?
Mr. Cooney. We usually spoke by phone, really. Our offices
are on Lafayette Square in townhouses and his office is
obviously in the Eisenhower executive office building.
Chairman Waxman. Did the Vice President's office, Mr.
O'Donovan or anyone else give you any directions as to what
they thought you ought to be doing?
Mr. Cooney. No, not directions. We would compare notes. We
would consult as colleagues, but I didn't receive direction
from them. It was really, if you look at how internal White
House documents are approved, for example, the Office of the
Vice President reviews it independently, CEQ, OMB, the Council
of Economic Advisors, the Office of Science and Technology
Policy, each office independently reviews communications, and
so we had an independent role for review, they had an
Chairman Waxman. Did they ever suggest to you that there
may be some value in highlighting the uncertainty of some of
these global climate change issues?
Mr. Cooney. I don't recall specific conversations. We would
talk about matters that were pending. The development of the
10-year strategic plan obviously was occurring in the spring of
2003. They were a reviewing office. We would have had
conversations. But I don't remember specifically what was said.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you. Mr. Cannon.
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent that
Mr. Cannon have 10 minutes. It would sort of balance the time.
Chairman Waxman. I don't know that it would balance the
time. But let's do it. There are more Democrats here.
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Waxman. Unless anybody is going to ask for 10
minutes for someone else. Mr. Shays might say he's entitled to
Mr. Shays. What is my member suggesting?
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Souder might think he should have more
time. I think they're complaining that I spoke too much without
the timer on. Isn't that right?
Mr. Issa. Mr. Chairman--
Chairman Waxman. When I reacted to what I thought was a bit
of a smear.
Mr. Issa. I was just talking about your 5 minutes you spoke
at random, really about 8.
Chairman Waxman. I think I have been fair. I have let some
Members run over and I think I've tried to be as fair as
possible. I don't interrupt people while there's an answer
Mr. Issa. I appreciate that.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman is recognized for 5 minutes.
Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. By the way, I
appreciate the fairness. This really has to be about getting
information and understanding and not so much wrangling.
Dr. Hansen, in the process here, I'm learning to understand
you, I think, a little better, and I actually think you're very
straightforward. Mr. Cooney obviously thinks very highly of you
and your science.
You indicated here you prefer Senator McCain for President,
would have preferred him in 2001. You supported Kerry because
of his positions, I believe you indicated, on the environment.
But the guy you would really most like to support is Senator
Heinz. Seems to me the most important thing in your political
life is how people are dealing with this threat to the world
that might derive--
Mr. Hansen. That was one of the two factors. The other one
that I pointed out is obviously in spades today and that is the
need for campaign finance reform. Senator McCain has made
efforts at that, and they haven't, as you know, been fully
successful. I think we really need to solve that problem and
then we'll have a lot easier time.
Mr. Cannon. That one might be more difficult to solve than
global warming. That said, you talked about the government
being evil or you talked about Nazi Germany, which I take it
you view as meaning that this what you later described as
constraints on scientists speaking, I take it you view that
constraint as evil.
Mr. Hansen. Yes. You know, you have heard of our first
amendment. This is the United States and we do have freedom of
Mr. Cannon. Of course, Mr. Issa has pointed out that you
have a lot of opportunity to speak, the question is where the
burden of your duty with the government should constrain and go
through a process as opposed to what you do in the rest of your
Now, what I understand here is that your greatest concern
here is you don't want constrained the ability of scientists to
help bridge--I think you referred to bridging the gap of
understanding by the public of how great the threat of climate
Mr. Hansen. Right.
Mr. Cannon. That's not equivocal on your part.
Mr. Hansen. As I mentioned, I think the public is not yet
fully informed about the dangers.
Mr. Cannon. Any attempt to interfere with your ability to
tell the public about that is evil and would be represented by
a Nazi Germany-type approach.
Mr. Hansen. No. I was referring to the constraints on free
Mr. Cannon. That's right, but the free speech you're most
concerned about, indicated by your politics and by your other
statements, is about climate change.
Mr. Hansen. There's no politics.
Mr. Cannon. You talked about Mr. McCain and Mr. Kerry and
Mr. Heinz all being attractive. Let me finish my question
because I want you to respond. You support those people largely
because of their position on climate change, with the exception
of Mr. McCain who you support also because of his views on
funding of politics. Isn't it true that the most motivating
factor here is the science of climate change?
Mr. Hansen. No, no. I have the same rights as all
Mr. Cannon. We're not talking about your rights, we're
talking about what you're characterizing as evil.
Mr. Hansen. I was characterizing as evil the constraints on
free speech. That's all.
Mr. Cannon. On all free speech or just on free speech
related to climate change and you?
Mr. Hansen. Any free speech.
Mr. Cannon. In other words, what I want to know, you view
people on the other side of the climate change argument as
Mr. Hansen. No, no I have never said that.
Mr. Cannon. You did call those people Nazi Germany.
Mr. Hansen. You have taken out of context a statement about
the constraints on free speech. It had nothing to do with
Mr. Cannon. But it had everything to do with debate.
Mr. Hansen. Of any particular people.
Mr. Cannon. It had everything to do with the debate on
global warming and you've got people today characterizing Mr.
Cooney as a bad person because he was hired by API before he
went to the CEQ.
Mr. Hansen. Did I characterize him?
Mr. Cannon. No, you have people in this town doing that.
Mr. Hansen. Then you should ask them about that.
Mr. Cannon. No, we're not bantying words here. The question
is, are you mostly concerned about climate change and your
ability to talk about that, and you characterize as people on
the other side of the argument as evil because they're
confusing the issue as you said earlier.
Mr. Hansen. I have never done that. I don't know where you
Mr. Cannon. I think I'm quoting you pretty much directly.
Mr. Hansen. I didn't characterize anybody as evil.
Mr. Cannon. I used the characterization of evil, you used
the characterization of Nazi Germany, which most Americans view
as equivalent to evil in our society.
Mr. Hansen. I was referring to the constraints on free
speech, not to a person.
Mr. Cannon. The constraints on free speech, not what?
Mr. Hansen. I was referring to the constraints on free
speech, not to a person.
Mr. Cannon. Except that you're blaming the constraints as
coming from this administration by way of policy. In fairness,
you characterized this as a developing issue over a series of
administrations, not just this one, in your earlier statements.
But you were characterizing this administration as being like
Nazi Germany, and those reflected a view that what is going on
is evil. Now you're trying to narrow that evil to the
constraints on speech, not to your constraint on speech about
Mr. Hansen. I was referring to constraints of free speech
of government scientists, which is not confined; not confined
to me. I referred specifically to some of my colleagues and in
other agencies like NOAA and EPA.
Mr. Cannon. How about other issues other than climate
Mr. Hansen. I don't have--yeah, in fact, I have been told
about National Institutes of Health scientists who have felt
very constrained on their ability to speak freely. I think this
is dangerous in our politics.
Mr. Cannon. If the chairman would just indulge me. We pay--
we tax people, we take money out of the pockets of Americans
and we give it to scientists, and we ought to, at least, direct
where that science goes. The difference between directing where
our science goes and what we search and free speech is not a
simple thing and is subject to direction by policy.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Yarmuth.
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Cooney, are you
familiar with a memo that you sent to Kevin O'Donovan of the
Vice President's office of April 23, 2003. I'll try to remind
you, the subject the Soon and Baliunas paper on global climate
Mr. Tuohey. Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. We've not seen the
memo. We would like to see a copy of it before any answers are
given. We were assured we would receive all documents before
questions were advanced. Can we see it, please?
Mr. Boling. Excuse me, Mr. Chairman. As the chairman--
Chairman Waxman. Could you identify yourself.
Mr. Boling. Yes. I'm Edward Boling, deputy general counsel
for the Council of Environmental Quality. I would simply notify
the chairman that the document in question as referenced in
Chairman Connaughton's February 9, 2007 letter to this
committee reciting Executive Privilege--Executive Office of the
President, excuse me, correct myself, sensitivities with regard
to that document. It is an internal document from the council
on environmental quality to the Office of the Vice President.
Chairman Waxman. This is a document that was requested by
this committee, isn't that correct?
Mr. Boling. Yes, Your Honor. It is one--yes, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Waxman. You can call me Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Boling. It is one of--not my usual court of practice.
It is one of the documents referenced in the chairman's request
of CEQ on February--
Chairman Waxman. So this document is being withheld based
on Executive Privilege, is that what you're asserting?
Mr. Boling. Mr. Chairman, with all due respect, the
document has not been provided to the committee. We have not
made any affirmative decision with regard to its withholding.
However, it is subject of our ongoing efforts to accommodate
this committee's needs, and it has been shown to committee
staff as part of that accommodation and its status is part of
our ongoing discussions of its status and whether we would
provide it to the committee as part of this rolling document
Chairman Waxman. I thank you for that clarification.
We don't have a document to show you, Mr. Cooney, but the
gentleman is recognized to pursue whatever questions he wants
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I will proceed to
read excerpts of this. This, again, is a memo from you to Kevin
O'Donovan of the Vice President's office: The recent paper of
Soon-Baliunas contradicts a dogmatic view held by many in the
climate science community that the past century was the warmest
in the past millennium and signals of human-induced global
Then you say: We plan to begin to refer to this study in
administration communications on the science of global climate
change. In fact, CEQ just inserted a reference to it in the
final draft chapter on global climate contained in EPA's first
state of the environment report.
Then you go on to say: It represents an opening to
potentially invigorate debate on the actual climate history of
the past 1,000 years.
The Soon-Baliunas paper is a public document, is that
Mr. Cooney. Yes, Congressman.
Mr. Yarmuth. It was funded by the API, is that correct?
Mr. Cooney. It was funded by NASA, NOAA, the Air Force, and
I understood 5 percent funded by the American Petroleum
Mr. Yarmuth. So API was a partial funder of this report
which you have inserted into--you said you have inserted into
this report that we are discussing to invigorate the debate.
Let me continue to discuss the EPA's report on the
environment and have you, if you will, turn to exhibit F. Would
you say that your role--you have already said earlier that your
role was to advance the administration's policies. That was
your sole role.
But in terms of handling information and making the edits
that you have made, how would you characterize--would you
characterize that you were, and forgive me for using this term,
trying to reflect a fair and balanced perspective on what the
science on climate change is?
Mr. Cooney. I would say that's exactly what my objective
was, to be fair and balanced.
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you. This document, exhibit F, is the
EPA's staff report to Christine Todd Whitman. On page 2 of this
document it says: The text--these are after your recommended
suggestions, edits--the text no longer accurately represents
scientific consensus on climate change. A few examples are
conclusions of the NRC are discarded, multiple studies indicate
recent warming is unusual, the thousand year temperature record
is deleted, and emphasis is given to a recent limited analysis,
I think there is a word missing, that supports the
administration's message. Natural variability is used to mass
scientific consensus that most of the increase is likely due to
Then it goes on to say: Numerous technical details
incongruous with the rest of the report on the environment make
the section confusing and seem more uncertain rather than
presenting balanced conclusions about what scientists do and do
Are you concerned at all that career professionals at EPA
thought that these edits actually were so biased that
incorporating them would make the report scientifically
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, the memorandum refers to comments
not only provided by CEQ but provided also by the Office of
Science and Technical Policy, the Office of Management and
Budget, the Department of Energy, the Council of Economic
Advisors. A lot of offices had concern with not only the way
EPA was characterizing climate change in a 4-page summary, we
were also concerned, I think, at the same time that the 10-year
strategic plan was being developed and there had been a 1,300
person workshop in December 2002 at which scientists from 40
countries came and commented on the 10-year strategic plan.
We thought that was a fuller--Dr. Marburger has spoken to
this publicly, and you would get his statement from OSTP, he's
the director, but he thought, I think, and he has said in the
aftermath that a fuller exposition of the science of climate
change was in the 10-year strategic plan and in the end the
state of the environment report referred people to the 10-year
strategic plan, which was several hundred pages. It was a much
more complete exposition of climate change than the 4-page
summary that went back and forth between EPA and reviewing
Mr. Yarmuth. I'll concede that you were only partially
culpable for these changes that EPA criticized, but my question
was aren't you concerned that the EPA professional staff
thought that this report as edited by you and others portrayed
a scientifically inaccurate perspective on climate change.
Mr. Cooney. I would say a few things; I'll answer your
question, of course, first. Yes, I am disappointed, and it is a
concern to me. Second though, we had at the Council on
Environmental Quality a detailee from EPA who was handling the
coordination of this state of the environment report. His name
was Allen Hecht. And he was coordinating comments from
throughout the Federal Government and within the CEQ and other
White House offices, and he was really the interface between
our office and a lot of the commenting offices and the agency
So we had an EPA detailee in our offices at the White House
coordinating the development of this report. And I would just
say that the development of this report was not really smooth.
There were very many--a number of iterations and a lot--I think
a lot of people felt that EPA was not sufficiently responsive
in the commenting, interagency commenting process to the
comments that it was receiving, and it was not just our office,
as you made clear.
Mr. Yarmuth. Well, I think, in concluding my time, the
important point to make is we're dealing with a process here
and whether or not the process used by this administration
resulted in information that was useful to the public and was
honest and accurate and fair and balanced, and in this
particular case, the process resulted in a document which the
administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency said was
not useful and therefore deleted it, therefore the process
apparently, at least my conclusion, the process was fatally
flawed in that it ended up producing something that was not
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Souder. I thank the chairman. Once again, I want to
point out that the only Republican witness is isolated and
sentenced to the third panel of the wilderness, who actually
controlled similar questions of whether you can speak out when
your policies disagree with administration with the people who
are elected, not unelected, and showed that there are
differences within this agency is isolated to the third panel.
He disagrees on science, he disagrees and would point out this
isn't unique to this administration, but apparently in a
hearing where we're debating whether one side has been
silenced, it's OK to haul out two Republican witnesses to hound
and one who has said he supports Kerry and Gore, did support
apparently a dead Republican, and one who he might have voted
for if he had actually been on the ballot, but in fact, praised
Al Gore, praised John Kerry for whatever reasons. That's OK. We
can discriminate, but on a hearing where there's
I would like to point out on this Nazi comparison that Dr.
Hansen said that part of this, ``is staffed by political
appointees from the Bush administration; they tried to stop me
from doing so. I was not happy with that and I ignored the
How do you think Nazi Germany would have reacted to that?
Would you admit that statement was an overreaction at a time of
Mr. Hansen. Well, I thought--
Mr. Souder. Nazi Germany did not allow--
Mr. Hansen. After making the statement, I did regret the
Nazi Germany, so in my revision of that document, which was
published, I changed it to the old Soviet Union because of the
connotations that come with it.
Mr. Souder. Do you think Stalin would have let you ignore
those restrictions and not go to a concentration camp? This is
ridiculous that you are working--could we put up the video of
the picture of him speaking.
Part of our concern here is that the challenge here when
you have an elected administration where whether you like it or
not, there is a still a scientific debate, whether that
scientific debate is sometimes funded by organizations that
have concerns about one side is another matter.
Could you read what it says under your name there on the
television? Can you see that?
Mr. Hansen. Yeah, it has the organization that I work for,
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. I can't read the last
Mr. Souder. Basically, in your introductions, and when you
travel you're always a public citizen, just like we are. I must
say, and I want to say this for the record, I have some
concerns with the lack of clearance of this administration for
documents to an oversight committee, and I'm upset that a
question was asked without that document, but I believe the
administration should be more forthcoming. I also believe we
need to give more flexibility for people to speak. But I also
believe there are times when any elected administration has a
right to choose and to say there are policy differences, and
they don't have to uniformly allow everyone to speak in every
Now if there's a pattern of misrepresentation and it was
always silence and you didn't have 1,500 chances to do so, it
would have been a different challenge, or if, in fact, you'd
have followed orders, or in fact, you'd gone to a concentration
camp or silenced to Siberia, which you're not. C-SPAN and other
agencies are not exactly like Siberia, they are not like a
concentration camp. This isn't Nazi Germany, it's not the
Soviet Union. That I do think there are debates and there needs
to be some caution with that, but I think your overstatements
Furthermore, we have this challenge of Rick Piltz who's not
a scientist who testified in front of this committee and he
admits his group is an advocacy group addressing the challenge
of global climate change, meaning their ideological. It's very
hard to separate this issue from people who have a vested
interest in one side or another. And while it's clear global
warming is occurring, I mean Indiana used to be covered with
glaciers, and it's clear it's probably growing at an
accelerating rate and humans are challenging and adding to
that, I don't think anybody is disputing those, but the
particular policy conclusions on how it's done have incredible
political overtones. What are we going to do, just shift to
How we do it and how precise that science is does have
political consequences, and therefore the elected officials do
have some rights with which to show some of that debate.
Do you want to respond, Dr. Hansen?
Mr. Hansen. Sure. I have no problem with that. I do not
specify policy or attempt to do that. I do try to make clear
the science that's relevant to policy. What our administrator
has said is that--and it's impossible in this topic to discuss
the topic without having some relevance to policy, but I simply
make clear that if it does touch on policy as my personal
opinion, I'm not representing the government in that case.
Mr. Souder. How would you separate that?
Mr. Hansen. Pardon?
Mr. Souder. How can you possibly separate your personal
views on a subject where your professional responsibility is
this very subject?
Mr. Hansen. No, I make clear that--some of the implications
of global warming, it has implications for policy. And, for
example, one of the things that people need to understand is
that about a quarter of the carbon dioxide that we put in the
air is going to stay there forever. I mean more than 500 years.
And what that means is we cannot burn all of the fossil
fuels without producing a radically different planet, which
none of us would like to see, I think, without ice in the
Arctic and with much higher sea levels and things.
These things relate to policy because you're going to have
to do something about it, and there are different things you
can do, you can capture the CO2 and sequester it.
There are different ways to treat this. That's up to the public
and policymakers to decide that, but I need to make clear to
them that there are such constraints and they're going to have
to start to think about that real soon.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Souder. Thank the chairman for your indulgence.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Welch.
Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Cooney, I would like to ask you about some evidence
that the White House edited an op ed piece written by then EPA
administrator Christine Todd Whitman to ensure that it followed
the White House line on climate change.
In July 2002, there was an ongoing debate about the Kyoto
protocols, as you remember. EPA Administrator Whitman wrote a
piece for Time Magazine about the Bush administration's record
on global warming, defending it more or less.
My understanding is that the CEQ did play an active role in
reviewing and editing administrator Whitman's op ed. For
example, on July 15, 2002 Sam Thurstrom of the White House
Council on Environmental Quality distributed a revised version
of the administrator's piece that contained several significant
edits. I will direct you to exhibit L.
According to that document Tom Gibson an associate
administrator at EPA wrote to Mr. Thurstrom, this is in
response to the proposed language to be used by Secretary
Whitman: I can't use the 5 million out of work figure for
Kyoto. It is based on the EIA report that assumed that no
trading would be allowed to implement the Kyoto protocol. It
also is the high end of numbers that were expressed as a range.
So it's pretty clear that in effect, the high level EPA
administrator was telling CEQ there was simply no basis to
assert that 5 million American jobs would be lost. Of course
that was the heart of the administration pushback on Kyoto.
This figure is taken directly--Mr. Thurstrom responded that
figure, the 5 million was taken directly from the President's
2/14 speech and Jim Connaughton's Senate testimony last week.
Using merely an abstract dollar figure may not be as
compelling. My understanding, Mr. Cooney, is you were copied on
the e-mail, and when you saw the e-mail, did you tell Mr.
Thurstrom that Administrator Whitman's piece should be not
required to include an assertion that her own staff regarded as
baseless, namely this 5 million job loss figure?
Mr. Cooney. Congressman, I don't recall whether I said
anything to Mr. Thurstrom or not. I do recall seeing e-mails
over the weekend where Mr. Gibson responded to Mr. Thurstrom
and I think was persuaded by what he had written, and I can't
remember his exact words but they continue in their e-mail
Mr. Welch. Take a look at exhibit M. In that e-mail Mr.
Gibson from EPA says that administrator Whitman had made her
own edits and struck the reference to the 5 million lost jobs.
And if you turn to exhibit N, this e-mail sent 4\1/2\ later by
Mr. Thurstrom, he put the 5 million lost jobs figure back in
Now what they offered as evidence or support for this was
A, the President said it. I assume you don't believe that if
the President says something that is not true, that makes it
true because he's President.
Mr. Cooney. I don't believe that.
Mr. Welch. It appears that your staff kept insisting on the
inclusion of an erroneous statement about the economic
consequences over the strenuous objection of the EPA.
Mr. Cooney. Strenuous is your words. E-mails tell half a
story often. People pick up the phone and call each other. They
go back and forth, pick up the phone, they'll solve things. I
don't recall how this was solved. I don't remember it being
directly involved in how it was solved.
Mr. Welch. I would agree e-mails tell half the story. What
I think tells the rest of the story here, its very clear there
was no solid basis for this 5 million job figure.
Mr. Cooney. It was from the energy information
administration 1998 study on the impacts of the Kyoto protocol
on the United States.
Mr. Welch. Then you had more current information by your
own staff that raised substantial questions about the
legitimacy of that figure.
Mr. Cooney. Mr. Gibson questioned the figure, but the
figure comes from the independent statistical agency of the
Department of Energy, the energy information administration. It
is independent, it's not politically driven, and it came out
with a study in 1998 documenting--
Mr. Welch. Did that study assume that there would be trade
as was the case under the Kyoto protocols, yes or no.
Mr. Cooney. I don't recall. Mr. Gibson says that it did not
assume trading, but I don't recall. I just don't have the depth
in the study to recall.
Mr. Welch. In failing to assume trading, which was inherent
in the Kyoto protocol, was it not without any foundation for
the conclusion it was pushing?
Mr. Cooney. I understand Mr. Gibson's comment essentially
as you're saying, is that the Kyoto protocol had in a written
form flexibility mechanisms that might bring down the costs of
complying with Kyoto. There is a record now about those
flexibility mechanisms, and many of them have not proved
efficient at bringing down costs.
Mr. Welch. Here's where it is frustrating on this side of
the table, and it gets back to what my colleague had spoken
about before. The American people are entitled to the benefit
of the clearest science available, correct?
Mr. Cooney. And economics, from the energy information
administration, which is independent.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired. Do you
want to conclude? Go ahead and conclude.
Mr. Welch. Well, the conclusion here, Mr. Chairman, is that
the science that we were getting was pretty good until it was
altered by folks in the press operation that were changing it
for political considerations.
Mr. Cooney. The editorial was really about climate change
policy, in its whole sense, the President's commitment to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 18 percent. The
predominant, if you look at the Time Magazine op ed by
Administrator Whitman, it was not really focused on science so
much as it was on mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Shays.
Mr. Shays. Thank you. Dr. Hansen, I think that we won't
have a world to live in if we continue our neglectful ways, and
so I don't disagree one bit with what you believe and how
you're expressing it, I just want to state that. Frankly, I
don't even know if I would have called you to come before this
hearing, but you're here and so I'm going to deal with what you
say because I find it puzzling and I find your answers candidly
inconsistent. It's not ``I got you,'' I'm just trying to
When Mr. Issa asked you a question you didn't want to say
the imagery to Hitler's Germany was inappropriate, with Mr.
Souder you did, and now you're saying it's only the Soviet
We have a young man who made a mistake and he said you
know, I made a mistake and let me get on with my life. What
puzzles me is that you don't even want to admit a mistake when
you make them, and you seem to stand up waving the Constitution
as if somehow you have no restraints at all. I'm an American, I
can say anything I want.
I'd like to just ask you about that. The old media policy
rules were drafted in 1987. Under section 1213-103A instructs
that all headquarters news releases be issued by the Office of
Public Affairs media service division, section 1213 also
requires that press releases originating with field
installations that is have national significance be coordinated
with the associate administrator for public affairs. That was
done in 1987.
Are you saying that's a policy that shouldn't have existed
in 1987, shouldn't have existed in 1992, shouldn't exist in
1998, shouldn't exist in 2002; shouldn't exist?
Mr. Hansen. I haven't said anything about public affairs
press releases. They are handling the public affairs press
Mr. Shays. Would you agree that makes sense, that you have
Mr. Hansen. Sure.
Mr. Shays. That means your right to speak out is
It does. You can't speak out any time you want. Would you
at least acknowledge that.
Mr. Hansen. Sure. But do you think that these--
Mr. Shays. Hold on. There are certain times when you can
speak out and there are other times you can't speak out,
Mr. Hansen. Probably that is true.
Mr. Shays. Not probably. It is true. How many people do you
have working at your institute?
Mr. Hansen. What do you mean?
Mr. Shays. How many people do you have working at your
Mr. Hansen. Approximately 120.
Mr. Shays. And you are the Director.
Mr. Hansen. Yes.
Mr. Shays. Do you sometimes edit what they do? Do you
sometimes question what they say? Do you?
Mr. Hansen. Sure that is a scientist's job--
Mr. Shays. That is a scientist's job.
Mr. Hansen. That is the scientific way, but not--
Mr. Shays. Does your staff have the right any time they
want to just say whatever they want about things related to
their work? You know, I just want to say something.
Mr. Hansen. Within the--
Mr. Shays. Before you answer, I want to say to you that
this is not a game. You are under oath. I want an honest
Mr. Hansen. I have been giving you honest answers, and
within constraints of what is reasonable, people--I don't try
to change what somebody is saying.
Mr. Shays. I didn't ask that question. Do they have the
right to say anything they want any time they want about issues
relating to the institute?
Mr. Hansen. I have never constrained anyone in that--
Mr. Shays. Do they have the right to? So any employee from
this point on can speak out, and if anyone comes to me, let me
say this to you because you are saying this under oath--if any
of your employees say to you they wanted to say something but
you said you shouldn't do it or you can't do it, you are under
oath saying you have never restrained anything from saying
Mr. Hansen. I have never restrained anybody.
Mr. Shays. Let me ask you this. If somebody wanted to issue
a release saying that global warming is getting worse and worse
and they work for you, could they say that is so?
The answer is yes or no.
Mr. Hansen. Scientists, sure. They can say anything they
Mr. Shays. If someone said that based on my scientific work
at this institute, I believe that global warming is not getting
worse an issue, speak to someone at their desk at your office,
they are allowed to do that?
Mr. Hansen. Sure, absolutely.
Mr. Shays. OK. So, you have no policy whatsoever?
Mr. Hansen. No constraints on scientific statements.
Mr. Shays. Do you think it is logical for a department
before you issue a release, to have to submit a release--so
let's go back to the first point we had.
You said, in other words, the rules. There are rules. There
are rules that you seem to agree with drafted in 1987.
Mr. Hansen. Yes, but those rules don't include, for
example, that they should go to the White House for editing.
Chairman Waxman. Gentleman's time has expired. Do you want
to conclude, Mr. Shays?
Mr. Shays. I would like more time.
Chairman Waxman. Wouldn't we all?
Mr. Shays. Pardon me? In other words, we can't develop the
idea, so it is pointless to go on.
Chairman Waxman. Well, that concludes the questioning of
this first panel and we thank you very much for being here. And
we look forward to further conversations on these issues.
I would like to now call forward Mr. James Connaughton,
chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
I want to welcome you to our hearing. Is it Connaughton or
Mr. Connaughton. It is Connaughton. I appreciate that, Mr.
Chairman. It is the Irish.
Chairman Waxman. OK. We welcome you to our hearing today.
Your prepared statement will be in the record in its entirety.
We would like to ask you if you would to try to limit your oral
presentation to around 5 minutes. We will have some leniency on
that. It is the policy of this committee to swear in all
witnesses, so I would like to ask you to rise and hold up your
Chairman Waxman. The record will indicate that the witness
answered in the affirmative.
Mr. Connaughton. Connaughton.
Chairman Waxman. Forgive me. You can call me Waxman.
Please go ahead with your oral presentation.
STATEMENT OF JAMES L. CONNAUGHTON, CHAIRMAN, WHITE HOUSE
COUNCIL ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Mr. Connaughton. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and
members of the committee. It is a pleasure to be back before
you yet again after many appearances. I would notice that Jack
Marburger, the President's science adviser, was also interested
in being part of this discussion as he is the senior scientist
overseeing Federal Government policy, and I am sure he would
look forward to working with the committee as we go forward, as
you continue this inquiry.
Over the last 6 years this administration has relied on the
advice of scientists from 13 government agencies, from the
National Academies of Science and, in developing our 10-year
strategic plan that you heard about today, from scientists from
36 countries. Now all of this is in an effort to guide Federal
climate change science, technology research and policymaking.
As you heard earlier, of particular importance to this
hearing is in fact the 2001 National Academy of Sciences report
on climate science commissioned by President Bush. That report
sets the foundation for what we knew about the climate science
at that time and what we still needed to know.
The questions before this committee are not new, including
those involving CEQ's role in reviewing documents. With respect
to the 2003 climate change science program's 10-year strategic
plan, which I am showing you here is about 200 pages long, Dr.
James Mahoney, who is a PhD scientist and the top official
overseeing that program, informed the Congress several times
years ago that he was responsible ultimately for the final
content of this report.
To the best of Dr. Mahoney's knowledge, ``no errors were
contained in the two reports.'' Dr. Mahoney further affirmed
that edits proposed--affirmed that, ``edits proposed by CEQ did
not misstate any specific scientific fact.'' Following that,
the National Academies of Sciences wrote the plan,
``articulates a guiding vision, is appropriately ambitious and
is broad in its scope.''
Now with respect to the 2003 climate budget summary, also
discussed today, and that's called Our Changing Planet--that is
about 120 pages--most of the edits recommended by CEQ were
actually accepted or changed somewhat by the science program
officials responsible for the document. Only three were not,
and CEQ would have no objection to the fact that they weren't
included. Now as to the early two-page drafts on climate in the
2003 draft report on the environment, this one is more than 600
pages long. I don't have the technical appendices here. The
relative few agency comments of interest to some on this
committee were actually of no importance because the EPA
Administrator decided to replace the passage with a reference
directing the public to the two much more substantial reports
above that came out at the same time. That is these two
reports. These are huge, hundreds of pages with the entire
scientific community in consensus on the content of these
Now in any event, in my detailed--in my written testimony
when you look at the actual comments being proposed by the
various offices not just CEQ's, most of them either echoed
nearly verbatim, were appropriately reflective of the substance
of the 2001 National Academies of Science report on climate
Now this is a fact that even a cursory direct comparison or
even a Google search revealed, and I did it. I Googled one of
the edits just to see what turned up an expression. The edit
recommended showed up in numerous science documents, including
the National Academy of Sciences.
Finally, the committee's focus on my former chief of staff,
Mr. Philip Cooney, who you saw here today is misguided. And
actually I find it a little bit ironic. It was Mr. Cooney who
is responsible for inviting Dr. James Hansen to the White House
in 2003 to brief me and other senior officials on advances in
climate change science. It was a remarkable and important
presentation. It was Mr. Cooney who is the driving force behind
working to ensure that Federal Government documents and our
budgets were actually responsive to the priority research areas
that Dr. Hansen himself identified along with his colleagues at
the National Academy of Sciences.
Now, it is also Mr. Cooney who, precisely because he is an
expert in the energy sector, who zeroed in on Dr. Hansen's very
useful policy recommendation about the substantial climate
change benefits of aggressively attacking methane emissions and
black soot now, something we can do now. And therefore it was
Mr. Cooney who became the driving force in creating this
international methane-to-market partnership, a 19-nation effort
that is going to remove more than 180 million metric tons of
CO2 equivalent emissions from the atmosphere by
2015. Now this is going to come from oil and gas operations,
something Mr. Cooney knows something about, and mining,
something he also knows something about, landfills and
And then it was Mr. Cooney in terms of proactive climate
policy to actually make a difference who helped establish the
Climate Vision Partnership and who for the first time secured
industry emission reduction commitments from 14 major energy
intensive industrial sectors, including the Business Round
I just have to say, I live in two worlds, the world of
reality and the experience on my job and what I have been
hearing a little bit here today. Mr. Cooney is among the most
proactive supporters of both the science enterprise and
advancing it, but more importantly he was one of the most
proactive creators of sensible policies built on the science
that are actually going to help us cut our emissions.
The totality of this administration's record is one of
unparalleled funding, openness and inclusiveness in confronting
the serious challenge of global climate change.
I think the sum of this is I fear that we are sort of
losing the forest for the twigs in this discussion. The forest
is this massive science enterprise. The forest is the massive
technology investments in which the United States is leading
the way in attacking global emissions, not just here but
abroad. And I hope as the committee continues its inquiry we
can begin to lay that information out on the table.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Connaughton follows:]
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Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much, Mr. Connaughton.
Let me go right to this memo. It was a memo written from
Mr. Cooney to Kevin 0'Donovan in the Vice President's office.
We don't have a copy of that memo because it is being withheld
from the committee. But we did have a chance to review that
memo. And it obviously stirred some concern when we had Mr.
Yarmuth, and Mr. Yarmuth pursued a question about it. The memo
refers to a paper by Soon Baliunas that was funded in part by
the American Petroleum Institute. The paper purports to show
that the past century was not the warmest in the last 1,000
My understanding is that the conclusions of the paper had
been heavily criticized by the scientific community. The memo
to the Vice President's office says, ``we plan to begin to
refer to this study in administration communications on the
science of global climate change. In fact, CEQ just inserted a
reference to it in the final draft chapter on global climate
change contained in EPA's first state of the environment
That is the memo to the Vice President's office from Mr.
Cooney. The memo also states that the paper, ``represents an
opening to potentially reinvigorate debate on the actual
climate history of the past 1,000 years.''
My concern is that the documents suggest that there was a
concerted White House effort to inject uncertainty into the
climate change debate. This communication between Mr. Cooney
and the Vice President's office seems to reflect exactly this
kind of effort.
Did CEQ communicate with the Vice President's office about
how to inject the Soon Baliunas report into the Federal climate
Mr. Connaughton. Mr. Chairman, I leave aside for the moment
the issues related to potential Executive Privilege which we
are still working on with the committee. I will limit my
remarks to commentary on the Soon--
Chairman Waxman. Why don't you limit your remarks to my
question? Did the CEQ communicate with the Vice President's
office about how to inject this report into the climate changes
Mr. Connaughton. It is my understanding that CEQ did
suggest that the report should be referenced in the new draft
environment, state of the environment report, because in fact
it was a new and major piece of science. At the same time Dr.
Hansen was also introducing some of his new research that was
also high interest.
At the same time we were looking at issues related to the
difference between surface temperatures and ground level
temperatures. So at that time there was a lot of very
interesting development to the science and the Soon Baliunas
report was very important as well. I found it fascinating. I am
not a scientist, so I can't find it conclusive. But I liken the
debate over that report--Mr. Chairman, I just want to give an
Chairman Waxman. No. Excuse me, Mr. Connaughton. I only
have a little time. So you thought it was really interesting
and worthwhile bringing it in, that was your thought as well as
Mr. Cooney's, is that right?
Mr. Connaughton. I am not speaking to the recommendation it
be included. I was made aware of this report and I found it
very interesting. I actually did not have a role at that time
in anything having to do with the edits on the documents.
Chairman Waxman. And you did later?
Mr. Connaughton. I did later, yes.
Chairman Waxman. And tell us what you did later. What were
Mr. Connaughton. When the process was not leading to a
reconciliation of the comments by the various offices in the
White House and from other agencies, I did get on the phone--
actually Governor Whitman called me, EPA Administrator Whitman
called me. We were talking about a range of things but this is
one of the issues that we talked about on how to reconcile the
Chairman Waxman. OK, now this memo that was sent to the
Vice President's office said this will reinvigorate debate
about whether the planet is warming. This sounds to me like a
play directly out of the Petroleum Institute playbook. Do you
have a comment on that?
Mr. Connaughton. Actually, sir, it strikes me as a
statement of fact. When that report did come out, it actually
did receive, as you indicated, a lot of interest by the
scientific community as to the essentials of the solar based
research that was being conducted and particularly by Dr.
Baliunas, who is actually an internationally renowned solar
Chairman Waxman. But that report has since then been
strongly criticized by the scientific community and its
conclusions have been rejected.
Mr. Connaughton. That--actually I do not understand that is
correct. What I do understand--
Chairman Waxman. So is it the position of you and CEQ that
is a fairer statement of what we know about climate change than
what Dr. Hansen and others were suggesting?
Mr. Connaughton. No, it is not my position. What I was
going to indicate, Mr. Chairman, the debate that surrounded
that report is very similar to the active one undergoing right
now about the relative contribution of global warming to
hurricane and storm intensity and frequency, very active points
of scientific debate.
Chairman Waxman. Excuse me--
Mr. Connaughton. And that is part of the variety of
viewpoints which we must be incorporating into our process.
Chairman Waxman. This memo suggests as well it was active
coordination between CEQ and the Vice President's office about
how to inject debate and uncertainty into discussions of
climate change science. Will you provide this memorandum to our
Mr. Connaughton. I think that is something for our lawyers
to work out, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Waxman. And unless the White House asserts
executive privilege it should be provided to our committee.
Mr. Connaughton. Again that is something I would defer to
the counsel for the committee and the Council and the White
Chairman Waxman. I am requesting--
Mr. Connaughton. I am not in a position to make that--to
take that position personally.
Chairman Waxman. I am requesting that CEQ turn over that
memo and also to provide other communications between CEQ and
the Vice President's office.
Were there other communications?
Mr. Connaughton. I am not aware of other written
communications of this type. They could exist. I do not know.
Chairman Waxman. And we would like to see the e-mail
communications as well.
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Connaughton, I am
going to ask a question, and it is probably unfair, but it is
just an impression and I want to get it on the record somehow.
A number of years ago before I was in Congress, there was a
flack under then President Clinton about Speaker Gingrich being
forced to go out of the back of Air Force One, and Speaker
Gingrich seemed to have a real problem with that.
Dr. Hansen is still here. I am not trying to do this behind
his back. But isn't to a certain extent somebody who appears
1,400 times in clips, who is regularly sort of the toast of the
town as the Speaker, who is asked to consult to almost
anything, including Vice President Gore's movie, isn't the
complaint that you are being muzzled a little bit like Newt
Gingrich complaining about going out of the back of Air Force
One, a plane most of us will never see much less be on?
Mr. Connaughton. I want to start, as I indicated, having
the highest personal regard and professional regard for Dr.
Hansen and his work. My son and I were just watching him on TV
last night on the History Channel. Congressmen, senior
administration officials, highly accomplished senior
scientists, we all chafe at having to talk to our public
affairs people. But the public affairs people are there for a
reason. They are there to organize and be sure that what we are
saying is official government policy, is understood, and that
the people who might have to then respond to those statements
can effectively do so.
This is a process that has been with us for a long, long
time, and it works well. Now we all chafe from it. I can
understand Dr. Hansen especially chafing if it comes from
someone relatively young and inexperienced, but the policy of
public affairs is a very important one.
Now I would note that I am not aware of any instance where
any scientists in pursuing their science, of any scientist
seeking peer review of their science, is in any way controlled,
handled or otherwise managed in their scientific work. I mean
from what I see all over the world and what people, scientists
come and speak their mind, to me they come and speak their mind
to you. What we are talking about is a science-policy interface
and that has significant implication that requires some level
Mr. Issa. And if I could followup on that, in the previous
panel I think there was a lot of discussion about certainty
versus uncertainty. And certainly, your chief of staff was
drawn and quartered pretty well for the statement that he was--
or a statement claiming that he was creating uncertainty.
Is there any uncertainty about man's influence on the
environment at this point from the body of science that you
have been part of putting together? In other words, not the
nuances but isn't it--and I will lead you for a second. Isn't
it true that this administration has made it very clear that
pollutants, whether we call it that or not, including
CO2, reflect a clear danger to our environment?
Mr. Connaughton. Well, I will put it in the President's
words. The Earth is warming. Humans are part of the problem. We
need to get on with the solutions, and I need to stick to
layman's terms. I am not a scientist. And that was clearly
reflected in the National Academy of Sciences report.
Mr. Issa. So since it is settled science, at least settled
Presidential policy as stated by the President, that we are--we
do have this problem and we need to be part of the solution,
but this question of settled science--and I am just going to
ask you one question--isn't it true that it was only this last
year that the 2001 understanding of the rise in our oceans has
been revised downward, less dramatic than it was thought to be?
Isn't there always new information coming in that affects one
side or the other of speed and so on?
Mr. Connaughton. Well, actually I think Dr. Hansen was
trying to get to this level of complexity in the answer as
well. The top line, there is a lot of agreement around warming
and around the fact that humans play a role. A lot of
agreement. But as you then delve down into the science, in the
National Academy of Sciences report, including the edits
recommended by CEQ and others, as well as subsequent documents,
the most recent being the IPCC report, which is the
international report updating the science, there is a wide
range of uncertainties to which we are dedicating nearly $2
billion a year to attempting to resolve. So there is still a
lot of science to be done.
As I indicated in my written testimony, if all the science
were settled we wouldn't be spending $2 billion of taxpayer
resources every year on it. This is very important work. One
reason for one of the comments is to make sure we are
emphasizing the need to go after some of this research because
that is what the National Academy of Science has told us we
Mr. Issa. So I guess I will just finish with one sort of
series of questions, there are thousands of scientists that
work for the Federal Government at all levels and hundreds, if
not thousands of them worked on the Shuttle program over the
years. What would have happened if Dr. Hansen's policy that
every scientist gets to say anything to the camera any time
they want, as long as it is supported by, ``their science,''
that you know what they do, that they should be able to have an
interview any time, anywhere, what would have happened each
time a Shuttle went down? Can you just give us a little
conjecture that, 1,000 scientists working at the various launch
facilities, what would have happened if all of them had
responded without checking with public affairs just done their
on camera interviews those days?
Mr. Connaughton. You would see the kind of chaos and
confusion that this entire discussion is about trying to avoid.
So chaos and confusion--in public affairs.
Mr. Issa. In closing, isn't it clear that when you have
dozens or hundreds or thousands of scientists as much as we
want to make sure scientists can argue with each other and have
that freedom of expression, that first amendment, so to speak,
right that there has to be some reasonable limitation and has
been for decades on how many different scientists can talk at a
given time and what they can talk about?
Mr. Connaughton. Clearly scientists are free to pursue
their research. They are free to publish and talk about their
research. Taxpayer funds that all over the world, that is
great. It is when we get into expressions of government policy
or the science policy interface where you need some level of
management. Otherwise you can fall prey to lots of
misinterpretation and misunderstanding about what represents
official government policy.
Mr. Issa. I hope all our scientists all get a ride on Air
Force One. Thank you, I yield back.
Mr. Yarmuth [presiding]. Mr. Connaughton, I want to ask
about the EPA's draft report on the environment. We talked
about it already today. EPA professional staff was deeply
concerned about the way the White House handled this report.
And if I may, I would like to refer you to exhibit F, which is
a memo about the draft report on the environment from the staff
of EPA to Administrator Whitman of the EPA. It says that as a
result of Mr. Cooney's edits the text, ``no longer accurately
reflects scientific consensus on climate change.'' And I read a
number of other statements and there are examples of what they
meant. The EPA memo says that the White House told the EPA that
no further changes may be made.
Did you make the decision that no further changes were to
Mr. Connaughton. No, I did not. And I would observe,
Congressman, that the--I only saw this document for the first
time over the weekend. It was not something I saw in my
conversation years ago with Governor Whitman. But I would
observe a number of the items being complained of were verbatim
language from the National Academy of Sciences report. That
told me something else is going on. There is a pride of
authorship going on between EPA and the other agencies. At the
time, by the way, it seemed to me that to the extent there were
editorial differences they should be reconciled. They weren't
being reconciled. That suggested some back and forth. That is
really what Governor Whitman and I ended up talking about, and
the solution she came up with I thought was perfection.
Mr. Yarmuth. Is it not true that someone advised
Administrator Whitman that no further changes were to be made?
Mr. Connaughton. The document I saw--again I only saw it
for the first time over the weekend--was the handwritten note
that says these changes must be made.
Mr. Yarmuth. These changes must be made.
Mr. Connaughton. But I would note the context of that,
Congressman, was important. What was happening is we have a
process where agencies provide their input to these documents,
and there is a reconciliation process. It doesn't mean all the
comments have to be accepted. You just have to have a process
where you say I accept it or I reject it and here is why. That
wasn't happening on this particular set of issues. Remember,
this document was 600 pages long. I showed you just a fraction
of it. We are talking about a small number of edits to a two-
page passage in an otherwise massive document. We are just down
to the end on this.
So really what was going on--and I thought it was
reasonable at the time--was the notion that we needed some
reconciliation. It was an issue of whether the comments were in
or out. As it happened, by the way, none of the comments being
raised to the committee--none of the comments could have
possibly confused the public because they didn't make it into
Mr. Yarmuth. That is because EPA found the report to be so
inaccurate that it said that if they released it, it would
cause great confusion in the public, isn't that correct? At
least that is what that memo says.
Mr. Connaughton. I saw the memo. My personal reflection is
it seemed to be a little bit melodramatic. We have a process
for reconciling these kind of returns. That wasn't happening,
which is why it got elevated. Most of what you are talking
about today never got elevated because Dr. Mahoney on these
science documents--these science documents include expressions
of science--Dr. Mahoney had a very effective process of
reconciling comments. Some of them are included. Some are
changed. And some of them are excluded. And that process wasn't
being applied in this particular instance on the draft
environment report. And so we worked it out.
Mr. Yarmuth. Now you mentioned before that some of these,
all of these changes were based on NRC but in the EPA--again
this memo says that conclusions of the NRC report were deleted.
That is one of their complaints, wasn't it?
Mr. Connaughton. That is--again, we can get into lots of
back and forth about the particularized edits. I included that
in my written testimony. Others were being asked to be
I think one of the things, Congressman, that went to your
line of questioning earlier, you had these massive documents,
and you have CEQ and other agencies agreeing to 99 percent of
them. These have some of the strongest expressions of why we
need to take action on climate, the effects of global warming
on ecological systems, the research questions on relations of
public health. These documents are full of that. And we didn't
have any objections to any of that.
What these comments went to were certain expressions of key
uncertainties identified by the Academy that were a qualifier
to some absolute--more absolute statements that appeared to be
in the text. Now the National Academy chose to include those
qualifications. It was at least reasonable for reviewers to
suggest that some of those qualifications be included as well.
Now ultimately the scientists decided which ones were
appropriate, what tone, what weight to give to those. But I do
want to underline what was missing in all of the questioning
before I came up here was the fact that there was actually
massive agreement on, you know, more than 99 percent of these
That is where all the positive heavy duty stuff was on
climate change. These qualifiers were a little teeny piece of
the discussion. So much ado about a very small amount of
Mr. Yarmuth. Now thank you. You said that earlier you did
not make the decision that the White House wasn't going to make
any changes, but in your conversations with Ms. Whitman did she
explain to you why she made the decision not to--that she did
not make those changes?
Mr. Connaughton. As you might expect this was an executive
level conversation. We don't--we weren't into parsing all the
back and forth between the various staffs. But you asked, I
just want to be clear, I was perfectly content to just get them
in a room, especially get the scientists with them and just
reconcile the comments.
She had what I thought was a much better solution. And that
was, we had just spent over a year developing this document
with 1,300 scientists from around the world. Why not refer the
public to that rather than try to collapse this down to a two-
page passage on climate in a document that otherwise sort of
had a rich abundance of detail on a whole bunch of other issues
that were not getting the attention they deserved? So I thought
it was a perfect solution. We didn't need to talk a lot. I
said, that sounds great to me. Let's just go that way.
Mr. Yarmuth. My time has expired. Mr. Cannon.
Mr. Cannon. Thank you very much. I am having a hard time
trying to figure out what this hearing is all about. I think,
Mr. Connaughton, your term of ``melodramatic'' probably fits
pretty darn well. You have a 23-year-old young man who was put
on the hot seat, and I think acquitted himself quite well. Your
former chief of staff--or the chief of staff of the CEQ--I
thought did a remarkable job. I don't think there was a single
question left unanswered very directly by him. So I am not sure
why we had him up and were grilling him to the degree that we
And then of course the third person on the panel is the guy
who had the real questions. And those questions come down to
what I think involved his views were as to good and evil,
people in the administration representing something akin to
Nazi Germany and people who believe as he believes being good.
I would like to read you a quote by Dr. Hansen from 1998:
Injection of environmental and political perspectives in
midstream of the science discussion cannot help the process of
inquiry. I believe that persons with relevant, scientific
expertise should concentrate with pride on cool, objective
analysis, providing information to the public and
decisionmakers when it is found, but leaving the moral
implications--this is again the person who raised the issue of
the morality of this administration and comparing it to Nazi
Germany--leaving the moral implications for later, common
consideration or, at most, for summary inferential discussion.
I am not implying bias on the part of any particular
scientist, but the global warming debate has plentiful examples
to illustrate my thesis, especially, at least a per capita
basis among the most vociferous greenhouse skeptics; i.e.,
those who challenge the reality or interpretation of global
warming. Many of the participants in this debate have ceased to
act as scientists as defined above but rather act as if they
were lawyers hired to defend a particular perspective. New
evidence has no effect on their preordained conclusions this is
abhorrent to science and spoils the fun of it.
Now we are not talking about the underlying facts of global
warming or climate change here. We are talking about the
process by which the administration has operated and the
environment in which it has made decisions about how to get a
message out. And with all the claims of big oil and drilling in
ANWR and all the other things that will actually make America a
much better place, with cheaper energy for the poor, I fail to
see where we have made any progress. What we have really done
is tied ourselves up with the beliefs of an individual who has
been very critical of the administration.
Would you like to comment on that or would you just let my
statement stand if you want?
Mr. Connaughton. I would just like to remark. An important
facet of all of this is we need to continue to encourage a wide
diversity of viewpoints. The science enterprise is to
constantly test the received wisdom, and that goes back and
Now there is a lot of strong agreement on climate change,
on the fact it is occurring and that humans are part of it. But
there are still many, many lines of inquiry that the scientists
are in fact pursuing and they are testing each other on.
The same is true, by the way, in the policy perspective. We
take the advice of economists. We take advice of lawyers. We
take the advice of policy people. We take the advice of
politicians and communications people. This is an extremely
complicated issue. It is not the province of any particular
I actually am pleased at the direction of the National
Academy. They pushed us to create a more integrated process for
linking science with the technology development process. That
did not happen before. We are doing that now.
Those two processes are then working their way much better,
really with the urging of Congress as well, into the policy
development exercise. It requires a lot of people, providing
lots of viewpoints. And then we work to sort it out. That is
what our role is, your role and the senior administration
Mr. Cannon. I would just point out that probably the most
hardest figure in the history of America on environmental
issues was the Moses of the West, Brigham Young, who took
Mormons to Utah which I represent. And he was very concerned
about the environment. And by the way slightly in a religious
context, but it seems to me dogma ought to be left to the area
of religion, and what we ought to do is look at the science and
try to figure out where we are going, because the decisions are
huge. The implications of eliminating CO2, I think
Mr. Issa said earlier, $35 trillion--oh, $350 trillion, roughly
more than about 10 times as much as the total net worth of all
of America. These numbers are astounding. So the question is
what do we do as humans try to adapt to deal with that
situation. And you have been leading the fight on this. You
have been dealing with this. You have been in the vortex. Do
you have other things you want to say in comment about that?
Mr. Connaughton. Well, I think we are going back 5 years in
history looking at individual edits, individual documents that
never made it into most of the reports, at least the ones of
concern. So I much prefer the hearing we had last summer, which
is actually trying to dig into the detailed solutions to
tackling this problem which, by the way, there is strong
bipartisan support, whether it is the advancement of way out
there technologies like fusion, near-term technologies like
hydrogen. The Energy Policy Act passed bipartisan in both
Houses of Congress going after renewable fuels, going after
vehicle fuel--actually the energy bill didn't include vehicle
fuel efficiency. But we would like the Congress to consider
that, as well as billions of dollars in tax incentives to
advance a new generation of coal that would ultimately be zero
These are the solutions. This is what we should be working
on. I call this, what is it about yes you don't understand? We
have this strong commitment to get on with the solutions. Let's
Mr. Cannon. Sounds to me--I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, my time
is up. Thank you. I yield back.
Chairman Waxman [presiding]. Thank you. Chair yields
himself time to pursue a second round.
Mr. Shays. Mr. Chairman, I haven't had a first round yet.
Chairman Waxman. Oh, Mr. Shays.
Mr. Shays. No problem.
When Kyoto was negotiated, Senate voted 100 to 1 and if
there was someone absent it was unanimous, don't come back if
you leave out India and China. So the Clinton administration
comes back having left out India and China. Whereupon there
were only about three to five Members of the Senate who said
they supported the treaty.
But given that the President said he was against it and
people are finally facing up to the reality of global warming,
even though Kyoto left out two of the potentially biggest
contributors, every Senator acts like they would have voted for
I wish to God this administration had submitted to the
Senate the Kyoto Treaty without prejudice. There would have
been five Members who would have actually voted for it. It is
not unlike the two-thirds of the Congress and three-quarters of
the Senate. Some Members now act like they never voted for the
war in Iraq.
So, now but the sad thing is, Mr. Connaughton, and we have
talked about it more than once, because this administration
wanted to appeal to a narrow base that didn't believe in global
warming, and so therefore was silent about the need to deal
with it early on, you are having to deal with what you are
having to deal with, and that is the tragedy of this in my
judgment. You have done some amazing bilateral agreements to
reduce the impact of global warming. You will get no credit for
it because this administration early on wanted to give the
impression that they didn't believe in global warming. That is
the way I look at it.
And I am sorry that--and then we hire someone who is very
capable, did a nice job in his performance before us but
represented before the petroleum industry, which is not kind of
what you would expect in the position that he was holding.
Wouldn't you agree that, you know, some of what you are
having to deal with is just a bad start?
Mr. Connaughton. Sure. I mean I think, you know, it is
also, though, the challenge of leadership. The prior
administration did not make explicit the fact that the treaty
was not going to work. President Bush did. As indicated in my
written testimony, that did earn the--undeservedly earn all the
ill will that has been directed at the President and our
strategy since then.
That--and it is ironic because actually where I depart from
you when you align the President with some of the
constituencies, it was the President in June 2001 following the
National Academy of Sciences report said, this is what we know,
the Academy has told us about some key uncertainties. But
notwithstanding that, we need to take action now to begin to
address this important problem. And he set in place a process
that I inherited when I came in in June 2001 after that of
running the policy that led to the 2002 climate policy
strategic plan. It is all the more ironic because the President
himself actually--as he should have--took the advice of the
Academy and led probably the single most aggressive--
Mr. Shays. Other ironies. Al Gore is right about global
warming. It is a very real inconvenient truth and it needs to
be dealt with. I would love to compare his house with President
Bush's house. I would love to compare it.
So you have one who advocates dealing with global warming
but doesn't practice it. And you have another, President, who
has been frankly quiet about global warming in my judgment and
practices dealing with it in his own personal life. That is one
of the other huge ironies.
Mr. Connaughton. There is a wonderful USA Today story about
the President's house down in Texas. It is a model of green
building and environmental conservation.
Mr. Shays. Or when we hear the actors and actresses who
complain about Humvees, driving up in long stretch limousines,
flying in airplanes that make Humvees look like they get
tremendous mileage. The irony in this debate, I hope once we
get beyond all this we will start to deal with the reality of
what we need to deal with. And I just say to you, I think it
hasn't happened because of how we stepped into this debate.
And I am afraid frankly there are some on the religious
right--whatever party--that have denied global warming and when
it finally happens they are going to say, well, this is the
fulfillment of the Bible and the destruction of humanity. I
mean, it is just like I hope we wake up, and I hope we act
soon. And I encourage you to keep doing the good work you are
doing. But I just wish you were more vocal about the good work
you are doing.
Mr. Issa. Will the gentleman yield?
Mr. Shays. Yes.
Mr. Issa. You mentioned everything except nuclear. Wouldn't
you say it was notable that Dr. Hansen was very supportive of
nuclear in every round of questioning and yet, to be honest, Al
Gore and his movie and all of the activities is a pushback from
nuclear pretty consistently? Have you seen that interesting
dichotomy that those who want us to deal with global warming
have a tendency to be extremely anti-nuclear even though it is
Mr. Connaughton. There is no question that if you were
serious about climate change you have to be serious about
nuclear, at least for the next many decades. It is the only
baseload zero emissions source we have. It has the smallest
environmental footprint of any source we have, and we know how
to do it right. We have been doing it right in America for a
long time. And the modern plants are even better than the old
ones. So I use that as a gauge actually when I deal with people
on climate change. If they are not open to a serious discussion
of nuclear, I tend to find that their interest in the issue is
more rhetorical than real.
Chairman Waxman. Gentleman's time has expired, and now the
Chair will recognize himself for a second round.
When this administration came in, they rejected Kyoto.
Maybe it couldn't have passed. The Senate probably couldn't
have. But I didn't hear the administration go back and ask the
countries admitting Kyoto to reconvene and see if they could
renegotiate a treaty. Fact No. 1.
Second, you pointed out with pride all of the things that
this administration has done and is doing. But all the
scientists tell us that the emissions of carbon are going up
and not down, which means the planet is going to get in a more
difficult situation in the direction we are moving.
Now, what appears to some of us is that it looks like the
administration's policy was pretty much the petroleum
industry's policy, which is let's sort of, let's try to confuse
things and suggest that there's not such a big problem of
global warming. We'll try to sow some doubt about it. That is
what it appears like to many of us.
Now I want to find out whether this was a deliberate White
House strategy to sow doubt, or if I am incorrect about it. Did
you ever have any communications with anybody in the White
House outside of CEQ about the value of emphasizing uncertainty
and climate change?
Mr. Connaughton. I had conversations with people outside of
CEQ about the broad range of science, which included
uncertainties related to issues such as aerosols, some of the
other factors that were in the National Academy of Sciences
report. And the answer to that is yes, with scientists as well
Chairman Waxman. Who are those people in the White House
outside of CEQ?
Mr. Connaughton. Especially the budgeteers. We were working
on the 10-year strategic plan because a lot of--
Chairman Waxman. Budgeteers were OMB--exclusively OMB
Mr. Connaughton. As well as the Office of Science and
Technology people, including Jack Marburger, because 10-year
strategic plan, Mr. Chairman, was all about how are we going to
direct our resources toward these key areas of uncertainty that
the National Academy of Science has identified. So we had an
extensive set of conversations all the way up to the cabinet
level on how to get this 10-year research plan going. The
National Academy of Sciences hailed this plan as having
ambition and vision.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Connaughton, I have only a limited
period of time so I want to ask you some very specific
When the White House appeared to edit the climate change
science reports, that was highly controversial. And several of
the changes made front page headlines. Did you have
communications with others in the White House outside of CEQ
about the reaction to CEQ's edits and how to manage that
Mr. Connaughton. First of all, the controversy was created
by media stories, which I think grossly distorted the actual
record of our process and the final documents to which
Chairman Waxman. You are not answering my question. I asked
you a specific question, and I really want an answer.
Mr. Connaughton. I need to start with disagreeing--
Chairman Waxman. Did you have any conversations with
anybody about how to handle the public relations once these
Mr. Connaughton. I certainly did. I talked to the White
House communicators because this had achieved national and
actually international stature--
Chairman Waxman. Would you tell us who the communicators
Mr. Connaughton. At the time--I would have to get back to
you on that because I don't know exactly when people moved in
Chairman Waxman. Did you have any communications with White
House Chief of Staff Andrew Card?
Mr. Connaughton. About?
Chairman Waxman. About the global warming reports.
Mr. Connaughton. I only had a conversation with him after
the reports came out.
Chairman Waxman. Did you have any conversations with him as
you took your job as to how you were going to handle your job?
Mr. Connaughton. Yes, I did.
Chairman Waxman. And when were they?
Mr. Connaughton. That would have been in the middle of
Chairman Waxman. June, what year.
Mr. Connaughton. 2001.
Chairman Waxman. OK.
Mr. Connaughton. That is when I was assigned the portfolio
on climate change, on air pollution and a whole range of
issues, fuel economy and a whole range of issues on the
National Energy Plan.
Chairman Waxman. And did he suggest to you some policies
you might pursue or what--tell us about the conversation as it
relates to global warming, climate change.
Mr. Connaughton. Mr. Card was happy to have me on board. He
said there were specific areas we should get into and we wanted
to really focus on the technology. We had been given this
strong advice from the National Academy of Sciences. And we
wanted to make sure also we were advancing the science in the
way the President directed. Mr. Card was reinforcing for me the
agenda that the President had already clearly laid out in his
Chairman Waxman. Now after the reports were put out you
said you had some communications with him?
Mr. Connaughton. Yes. He wanted to know because what we had
Chairman Waxman. Could you tell us when that was
Mr. Connaughton. I can't recall the specific date.
Chairman Waxman. And tell us about that communication.
Mr. Connaughton. The report--we had scientific sign-off on
the report so when it came out and the media began to nit-
pick--I guess it leaked. The report had been out for some time.
Then someone in the media got ahold of leaked versions of some
of these early edits without even, by the way, comparing to see
if it made it into the final document. That is what created the
media flap. And so there were questions what was in the report,
what was it about. We actually treated this as a routine
publication. It was only later sensationalized.
Chairman Waxman. This was a direct conversation with Andrew
Mr. Connaughton. I had one direct conversation with him.
Chairman Waxman. On this issue.
Mr. Connaughton. Yes.
Chairman Waxman. The reaction to the report.
Mr. Connaughton. Right. This was much later after it came
out and the leaked edits, the leaked edits emerged.
Chairman Waxman. And you don't recall the date of that?
Mr. Connaughton. No, I don't, sir.
Chairman Waxman. OK, did he suggest you do something other
than what you were doing?
Mr. Connaughton. No. We were actually----
Chairman Waxman. Or was he just asking questions about what
Mr. Connaughton. He wanted to know what the report, what
the process was, was the process followed. I assured him it had
been followed. I assured him the scientists at the end of the
process had ultimately reconciled all comments and he was
actually--well, I don't want to speak for him.
Chairman Waxman. Well, we know that some of the documents
we have seen came from the--related to communications with the
Vice President's office. Did you talk to anybody in the Vice
President's office, including the Vice President or any of his
staff, such as Kevin O'Donovan or anyone else in that office?
Mr. Connaughton. About?
Chairman Waxman. About global warming, climate change, the
Mr. Connaughton. Sure. I talked with all of the office of
the White House about climate change. It is an issue that has
been with us for 6 years. I can't think of a single office,
including Office of Public Liaison, in which there hasn't been
some interface of one kind or another about climate change, but
really focused on the technology initiatives of the President
much less so on the science.
Chairman Waxman. So you had frequent communications with,
was it, Kevin O'Donovan or others in the Vice President's
Mr. Connaughton. We have a very vigorous interagency
process that includes participation by the various White House
offices as they see fit, as well as all the various agencies.
So you can lump in a dozen agencies and six or seven White
Chairman Waxman. We look forward to learning more about
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Where are your offices.
Mr. Connaughton. On Jackson Place, sir, right in front of
the White House, right on Lafayette Square.
Mr. Issa. Which is really part of now the White House
Mr. Connaughton. That's correct, sir.
Mr. Issa. And when did essentially the oversight of global
climate change--when did it move to the White House area? In
other words, how long have the offices that are overseeing this
part of science, how long have they been within, you know, what
we always think of as the White House, Treasury, Old Executive
Office, the various townhouses and of course the White House
Mr. Connaughton. My office, the, Council on Environmental
Quality, was created in 1969, so it has been there for almost
30--40 years. The Office of Science and Technology Policy I
believe was created a few years later than that. And those are
the two primary sort of policy offices as it relates to energy
and environment and natural resources and some of those
And then there was the Domestic Policy Council of course,
the National Economic Council was created under the Clinton
administration and then during the Clinton administration they
actually had a sub office specifically focused on climate
change where they coordinated all of the climate change efforts
across the Clinton administration. We decided to consolidate
that within CEQ.
Mr. Issa. Which is also in the White House complex?
Mr. Connaughton. Correct.
Mr. Issa. So it is fair to say that administration after
administration, this has been something which has--although it
has evolved and it's grown, every administration has thought it
important enough to take up this very small amount of space
available in and around the White House rather than sending it
off to Crystal City or any number of other large Federal
buildings a few miles away that certainly other things have
been pushed out of.
Mr. Connaughton. Well, there has been a Catch-22 to the
discussion we are having today. This issue is very important.
It is Presidentially level important. But that said, we also
make clear to do some assignments. So at NOAA, the head of the
Climate Science Program that was housed at NOAA, so all of our
input went to them and they had the final call on the science
Mr. Issa. I just want to understand that this is something
where you get to say you are coming from the White House,
because effectively these buildings are--everyone, everyone
except people maybe inside the Beltway, we don't--we know the
difference between the Old Executive Office and whether or not
you have something in the Roosevelt Room, wing or whatever, but
bottom line is you are right there in the White House complex,
and this administration has kept it that important.
Let me just followup on a couple of things. When this
administration--and I realize you weren't with it in the first
days--but you were pretty close. This administration inherited
Kyoto. It was dead on arrival at the Senate, is that right?
Mr. Connaughton. That's correct. It was dead 3 years before
Mr. Issa. So it just hadn't been buried.
Mr. Connaughton. Actually it had effectively because the
prior administration never sent the treaty to the Senate.
Mr. Issa. So we also--thank you. And we also, this
administration also inherited methyl bromide, the Montreal
Protocol, which exempted all of the Third World, is that right?
Mr. Connaughton. It actually put them on a delayed
compliance schedule, which they are now beginning to implement.
Mr. Issa. This is the year in which they are going to
actually have to cut down their use. But basically they have
been unrestricted and, correct me if I'm wrong, methyl bromide
basically moved from the United States and Europe to Africa and
developing countries in South America who are unrestricted. The
flower industry of Holland mostly moved to other countries. So
this is something that was done in previous administrations. It
sounded good but the bottom line is it didn't change the
emissions of this terrible ozone depleting material one bit,
did it, outside the United States?
Mr. Connaughton. Yes, I believe that is--I believe that is
true. The issue you always face in these international
agreements with global emissions is what is called leakage. If
you squeeze the balloon too tight in one place and the other
country is not constrained, you actually get an increase in
those emissions. That is a fundamental issue in the climate
Mr. Issa. So some of this is what I call unilateral
disarmament on emissions. We stopped, but it didn't change one
bit the amount of emissions.
Mr. Connaughton. And Congressman, there is a place for
leadership which the United States is demonstrating, but you
don't want your leadership to sacrifice your economic
objectives to greater emissions somewhere else.
Mr. Issa. The United States is leading the world. This
Congress has funded leading the world in cleaning up coal and
other carbon emitters, recognizing without sequestration you
are not getting there, that has to be part of it. But isn't it
true that China builds basically one coal fired plant every
week, week in and week out, for the last couple years and plans
to continue doing so and that those tend to be among the
dirtiest electric production facilities in the world?
Mr. Connaughton. Yes. They will build, I am told, 140 in
the next 3 years and they are massively industrializing and
picking up a lot of the manufacturing and industrial output
that would otherwise be occurring in places like the United
States and Europe for a variety of reasons.
Mr. Issa. Then as I yield back, I will simply make the
point that this administration has a bigger problem than just
good research. We have to get it applied around the world or it
won't make a bit of difference in global warming.
Mr. Connaughton. Mr. Issa, to the point that was raised by
the chairman I would sharply disagree. We did reconvene
internationally. We just didn't reconvene in Kyoto. We have
dozens of bilateral partnerships now. And we have many, many
multinational agreements on advancing hydrogen, on advancing
global fuels, on advancing methane capture, as I indicated. The
list is quite lengthy of real international agreement, the most
recent of which is the Asian Pacific Partnership on Clean
Development Climate, which includes India and China and South
Korea, which comes in third in new emissions for the first
So we found a different way to have the international
conversation, and this is a foundation we can build on and, by
the way, Mr. Chairman, California is going to be a huge
beneficiary of that because we are all about opening up markets
for good old-fashioned green technologies from California and
really getting them into these marketplaces in Asia. That is
where the solution lies.
Mr. Issa. Thank you. I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Welch.
Mr. Welch. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Connaughton.
Mr. Connaughton. Connaughton, please.
Mr. Welch. Mr. Connaughton. Welcome.
Mr. Connaughton. Thank you.
Mr. Welch. I would like to ask about, but your decision to
hire Phil Cooney as your chief of staff. As you know, Mr.
Cooney was a very successful oil industry lobbyist. He had
worked for the Petroleum Institute in his job there. Among
other things was to stop or delay governmental actions on
climate change. They weren't shy about their point of view on
that, but that obviously is an agenda inconsistent with the
mission of the Environmental Protection Agency.
My question is this, who made the decision to hire Mr.
Mr. Connaughton. I did.
Mr. Welch. And I assume you were aware of the work he did
at the American Petroleum Institute?
Mr. Connaughton. Yes, I was.
Mr. Welch. Did you have any concerns about that work and
how it would affect the work that he was to do at the
environmental agency or was that a reason why he was hired?
Mr. Connaughton. In my many years in Washington, I have
come across a lot of people in the professional world, lawyers,
people from the environmental community and other places. Of
the many people I intersected with in my professional life, Mr.
Cooney is one of the people of highest integrity that I have
run across. He is also an outstanding manager. And actually I
saw it as a great benefit that he had experience in the energy
sector because one of the major tasks I knew I was going to be
taking on was the CEQ portion of implementing the National
So it was actually something Mr. Cooney knew something
about. But first and foremost was his commitment to public
service, and actually it was an honor for me to have him join
me. And I have to say, you know, as much as the tone of this
hearing has been what it is, Mr. Cooney is the best in class
individual when it comes to integrity, honesty and ethics. And
I do greatly regret some of the insinuations that I have heard
from some members of this committee about the fact that Mr.
Cooney might have been unable to divorce himself from one
client and take on the role of public servant. I certainly did.
Mr. Welch, I would submit you certainly did when you--at some
point in your life when you became elected. We are all capable
of serving the institutions in which we are employed.
Mr. Welch. I haven't heard anybody raise questions about
Mr. Cooney or anybody else's integrity. What I understood and I
have heard is a fair amount of evidence that the American
Petroleum Institute had a clear point of view on climate change
and a fair amount of evidence that many of those views on
climate change, for one reason or another--conviction or
politics, I am not going to make a conclusion--found their way
into reports through editing; 181 different edits.
Did you have any concern about what signal would be sent to
the American people, really, in hiring a person whose job it
was before taking on the new position to basically advocate the
American Petroleum Institute's position that climate change was
not a problem and that the right approach on energy policy was
to drill in ANWR, to drill more extensively in the coastal
waters, and basically to erase, and sow doubt, about the
urgency of addressing global warming as a problem?
Mr. Connaughton. You are making some insinuations in that
litany. So let me ask you--this plays against the type that you
are suggesting. Mr. Cooney was involved in the National Energy
Policy that was advancing mandates for renewable fuels against
the interest of the oil companies. Mr. Cooney was involved in
some of the energy policy in which the Bush administration, for
the first time in over a decade, was implementing new fuel
economy standards for vehicles. Mr. Cooney was involved in the
National Energy Policy that did not support tax breaks for oil
and gas. In fact, the President and his administration were
opposed to them and made that very clear in the run-up to the
energy bill in 2005.
I could give you any of a number of additional examples
where Mr. Cooney was actually working against the interest of
the oil and gas industry, and he did it with the highest
integrity in the service of the policy agenda that he was being
directed to implement by the President of the United States.
Mr. Welch. Mr. Connaughton, I admire your energy but not
your misstatement of the facts.
The White House opposed the fuel standards that you are
Mr. Connaughton. Mr. Welch, you couldn't be more wrong. In
2001, in the National Energy Plan, it called for increases in
fuel economy standards. It was then that we initiated a process
with the National Academy of Sciences to get their
recommendation on how we could move forward with new mandatory
regulations on fuel economy in the light truck fleet that would
not create the safety hazard the National Academy of Science
We subsequently implemented two regulations covering 7
years of light truck manufacturing for the first time in a
decade. During the same period, the President and his
administration called on the Congress to legislate, give us the
authority to do the same thing with respect to passenger cars,
a call on Congress the President most recently reinitiated in
his State of the Union address in which he committed the Nation
to save 8.5 billion gallons of fuel through new mandatory fuel
economy standards if this Congress will give us the authority
to do it right rather than do it the way it was provided back
to us in the 1970's, which creates a safety penalty and harms
Mr. Welch. Were you involved in any one of the 181 changes
that were made, the edits that were made, under the supervision
of Mr. Cooney?
Mr. Connaughton. I only had general oversight as that was
working its way through the staff progress. What typically
happens if there's an irreconcilable----
Mr. Welch. So is the answer yes or no? You have given a few
speeches here but not answered too many questions.
Mr. Connaughton. I think I am doing fine answering
Mr. Welch. There were 181 different provisions that were
edited on the global warming report. Were you involved--that
were made under the supervision of Mr. Cooney. Were you
involved in approving those or making those?
Mr. Connaughton. It was possible that some of those may
have been called to my attention. I don't have a specific
recollection because it was almost 5 years ago. Nevertheless, I
was confident that Dr. James Mahoney, who was the one leading
this process, would do a perfectly great job reconciling any
comments that he thought might be of concern.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Welch, your time has expired.
Mr. Shays. Thank you. I am happy people don't talk about
how many times I edited a simple letter, but thank God for a
Is there anything that you would like to put on the record
before we get to our next witness?
Mr. Connaughton. I want to go back to the basics. Thank
you, Mr. Shays.
These reports are of worldwide significance, and when they
were published they received worldwide acceptance and praise.
The 10-Year Strategic Plan, our annual climate action reports,
these are full policy and budget documents that contain
expressions of the science that the scientific community itself
found worthwhile. If there was something fundamentally wrong
with any of the edits to the extent they made it into the
document, one would have thought that some scientist somewhere
would have said, ``Hey, on page 85 you got it wrong.'' That
We are looking in this inquiry at early edits to
documents--and documents, you know, before they got into their
final stages. And, again, it is--we are all very busy people.
This inquiry is a bit odd in that we are not looking at what
was in the documents. This is where the real information to the
public is being provided. We are looking at internal
deliberations and contacts and what makes it all the more
ironic is the whole point of the deliberative process is to
encourage the diversity of viewpoints whether they are wrong or
whether they are completely right. And maybe some of them are
wrong and maybe some of them are right. Maybe Mr. Cooney's
edits he made, I maybe had a question of. I didn't have to,
because the context sorted it out.
So these documents are going to stand the test of time.
This is where we should be concentrating our focus, in my view,
on the budgets we need to answer these key science questions
and the budgets and policies we need to make meaningful,
sensible progress attacking greenhouse gas emissions in a way
that grows our economy and adds American jobs.
Mr. Shays. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the hearings we are
having, and I think they are interesting, and I know we are
going to have a lot more. But I hope we start to get beyond the
issues of who said what, when, and that this new majority will
start to lead and deal with the issues of where we go from
I know they are attempting to do that by a special
committee under Mr. Markey, because they are concerned that the
very chairman of that committee, candidly, has been deleting
the opponent--the Dean of the House has been deleting the
opponent against the increasing CAFE standards. And while I may
have some disappointment with this administration not taking
charge and, you know, picking up the sword and leading us
through this, I wish they had--I am sure if they had, I am sure
you would have had a nice job doing that, Mr. Connaughton.
I do know this: This is a bipartisan problem. It needs a
bipartisan solution, and we need to get beyond the attacks of
this administration. And if we start to work in a bipartisan
way, we might get some things done.
Mr. Connaughton. Dr. Jack Marburger was very interested in
joining, although the committee at this point in time is not
ready to speak with them. I think it would be highly useful, if
we are going to get to more e-mails, science statements--I am
not aware that the committee has assigned any scientist to
actually look at any of this. But I think it would be much more
helpful if you had a scientist from the committee sitting down
with a scientist with the Office of Science and Technology
Policy, and the scientists could find a Science Office to sort
through some of this to see how it all shaped up. Again, I
think it shaped up right but it is----
Mr. Issa. So, just asking you quick, for emphasis, two
things. I guess we know the culprit here.
Mr. Shays. May I say the culprit is that this is sometimes
on even when it's off. So if the committee would note this has
got a problem.
Mr. Issa. Two things. One, I think you made a good point
that I would hope you would reiterate, that in fact your final
report has never been questioned today. The output of this
process, including Dr. Hansen's complaints, bears no--no one
complained in the final document, including Dr. Hansen, one;
and, two, that up until now, the President's attempt to
modernize the CAFE standards to dramatically increase the fuel
economy that our fleet gets without penalizing safety has not
been answered by this Congress yet.
Would you repeat those two to clarify them for the
Mr. Connaughton. The 10-Year Strategic Plan that has been
of highest interest to this committee so far was roundly
praised by the National Academy of Sciences after two
independent reviews, after they provided it, and it's actually
being used as a basis for research priorities, not just in
America but around the world.
And, second, the President in his State of the Union
declared very specifically he wants to end our addiction to
oil. He wants to do it by dramatic increase in mandatory
renewable and alternative fuels, and he wants to do it with a
significant--I would also call it a dramatic--increase in fuel
economy of vehicles across all of the fleet, not just the big
ones. All of them, small ones to big.
And we are prepared to work with the Congress to see that
legislation turned into law.
I would note, by the way, that it has huge greenhouse
benefits, too, and it reduces air toxins substantially at the
Chairman Waxman. Before I recognize Mr. Yarmuth, I want to
state a couple of facts. One, that suggested changes from
CO2 were not just early draft, they were
continuously pushed until the final draft, and, in fact, until
the final day of the final draft. And all of those edits were
not by scientists. You say you would like scientists to sit
down with scientists. Let's see who would have preferred your
scientists to have more of a say than your representative from
the oil industry, pushing his view of science over your
And then I do want to point out that the administration has
authority to raise CAFE standards for passenger cars today, and
you haven't chosen to do so.
Mr. Connaughton. The National Academy of Sciences said if
we do so, we will create a safety penalty that causes more
fatalities and more traffic injuries. Certainly we can agree
that is not an outcome we want.
Chairman Waxman. I think that is a red herring. I don't
think the National Academy of Sciences has that view, but
certainly the auto industry does.
Mr. Connaughton. That is not the case at all. The auto
industry is not happy about these standards, Mr. Waxman. In
fact, I would refer this committee and actually ask, if you
would, the committee enter into the record the 2002 National
Academy of Science Report on Fuel Economy Standards. You should
read for yourself what that says.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Yarmuth.
Mr. Yarmuth. Mr. Connaughton, the reason we are here today
is not because we are concerned what came out on the final
report. Fortunately because of Christine Todd Whitman, we
understand that the edits that were made--that many, both here
on this committee and also many in the scientific community,
represented cherry-picking of the evidence, that she decided
that painted an inaccurate portrait of the situation with
regard to climate change.
And I know you called it in your testimony, your prepared
testimony, an intramural editorial exchange, but we are
concerned here with the process and whether the process is
actually fair to science or not.
And we have heard a lot of evidence about cherry-picking.
You disagree with some of it, but in fact your own testimony
represents, in my opinion--gives an example of where evidence
was cherry-picked. You defended in White House edits to delete
a discussion of the human health and ecological effects of
climate change. In defending that edit, you cited a 2001
National Academy of Sciences report.
And you quote this sentence from that report: ``Health
outcomes in response to climate change are the subject of
intense debate.'' Clearly they are. But you omitted from that
reference the sentence that immediately follows it and that
sentence reads, ``Climate change has the potential to influence
the frequency and transmission of infectious disease, alter
heat and cold-related mortality and morbidity, and influence
air and water quality. And that same section of the Academy
report also says, ``Increased tendency toward drought, as
projected by some models, is an important concern in every
region of the United States. Decreased snow pack and/or earlier
season melting are expected in response to warming because the
freeze line will be moving to higher elevations.'' And,
finally, ``The noted increased rainfall rates have implications
for pollution runoff, flood control and changes to plant and
animal habitat. Any significant climate change is likely to
result in increased costs because the Nation's investment in
water supply infrastructure is largely tuned to the current
Would you not concede that a--the sentence that you
included as evidence of using the National Academy of Sciences
report paints a slightly different picture than if you included
all of that material after that?
Mr. Connaughton. Actually, Congressman, I became a big fan
of including all of the material, which was why the decision
was made to go ahead and reference all of it.
What I find in these science debates, especially among
nonscientists, is the dangers always come when we try to
summarize, when in fact this is a much more complex issue. That
is where people end up fighting. They fight over little amounts
of space. That's why this was the best solution. I was inspired
by Ms. Whitman. I immediately agreed with it. This is a great
document. I really recommend you to read it.
I would also recommend you to read the entire NAS report
before you reach final judgment. I appreciate the chairman in
his opening remarks saying there were suspicions but they're
trying to sort out the facts.
I would really appreciate it if you would commit to read
the NAS report, because that is what I did in preparing for
this hearing, because I wanted to see if these edits were in
the realm of the reasonable. You could agree or disagree with
them, but were they within the realm of the reasonable to be
sorted out by the ultimate scientific reviewer? My judgment is
maybe they were. Maybe you will come to a different one. You
seem like a reasonable man. But if you will look at the whole
report you will see what was trying to happen here.
In addition, again, 99.5 percent already contained all of
what you just described. The issue, what was missing by some
reviewers--it wasn't just Mr. Cooney--it was the Office of
Science and Technology Policy, too. There was missing some
qualification to some of these absolute statements that
justifies beyond these ongoing science investments we're
Reasonable minds could differ over that, but that is what
we should be after. But are we in the realm of the reasonable
in the deliberative process that's there to call out these
different viewpoints? I think so. I am hopeful that the
committee will ultimately find that as well.
Mr. Yarmuth. Do you understand why there is some suspicion
on this committee when virtually every edit that was suggested
tends to minimize the severity of the threat of global warming?
Mr. Connaughton. I completely understand that, and the
dilemma was because the rest of it, all of the affirmative
stuff, wasn't objectionable. So you have this issue of--there
was a concern that something was being left out, and so the
nature of the edits was to reflect on that which was left out,
without recognizing that Mr. Cooney and many others read the
rest of this and said wow, this is good stuff. It's so
important about the temperature trends, and all of the
different impacts and the polar area, lots of good stuff in
here, without any negative comment by CEQ or anything else.
That's really what was going on.
Mr. Yarmuth. I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. Mr. Cannon.
Mr. Cannon. Your last answer was really good. Recasting it,
you were asked why it was obvious that you raised suspicions
with edits, and your answer was that there was so much positive
that there was a tendency to focus on just those things where
the certainty wasn't the case. And frankly, in my last round of
questioning, I raised the issue of why we are actually having
this hearing. And now that we've been through most of it, I've
got to say it has been really interesting.
The gentleman just asked you or just suggested that,
fortunately, Christine Todd Whitman had intervened, that we
came out with a sound report. That is like a vindication of the
process. I don't know what more you could say that is more
vindicating of what you all did. People can disagree with your
beliefs and the policy and a lot of other things, but it seems
to me if the point of this hearing was to talk about policy,
that it has worked pretty well and I--if you want to comment on
that, you have done a pretty good job thus far.
Mr. Connaughton. The only thing I would add to that is by
doing a really smart thing, it ended up being portrayed
publicly as an omission from the draft you put in of the
environment and, fortunately, pieces of the draft you put in of
the environment is great. It deals with all kinds of issues. So
the benefit of this report was diminished. And then the benefit
of this report was diminished, and it really had nothing to do
with the merits of the document. It really had to do with the
sensation caused that always happens when people pull back and
get a look at some of the deliberative processes without
focusing on the final product. We like to focus on the results.
The Congress does. We do. Where the results are on a sale----
Mr. Cannon. Let me talk about--Mr. Issa talked earlier
about all of the power plants, the coal-fired power plants that
are being built in China. And, of course, if we do coal to
liquid here in America, the nice thing about that technology is
you can actually take the CO2 stream and sequester
it, not only inexpensively, but maybe at a high profit because
you can use it to enhance oil production and in other
activities or just get rid of it in ways that we are learning
are scientifically sound right now.
So it seems to me that the net of this hearing, if anything
comes out of it, ought to be to shift away from process and
there ought to be a congratulations to the process used and a
shift toward what you have been suggesting back and forth
through your whole testimony, which is what can we do to
actually mitigate the problems that may happen if man-made
gasses are actually affecting the temperature of the climate as
And if you just want to take a few minutes to wrap up on
the things we can do, I'd very much appreciate that, because I
think that is what we found in this hearing.
Mr. Connaughton. Clearly we had an opportunity on
renewables, especially renewable fuels; that is, the potential
that has not been tapped to the extent it can. And that's why,
again, we are pleased by the broad bipartisan interest in the
State of the Union address as well as the advancement of
But coal remains a very important issue. Anything we do
short term to mitigate greenhouse gasses is of relatively
little consequence unless we figure out the zero emission coal
solution. And we have to be very careful about our policies to
be sure we keep an investment toward zero emission coal,
because if we don't, China--and India in particular--and some
other countries, their missions will far exceed ours starting
in about 2008-2009 and it just runs away from us.
So if we are focusing on climate policy, to me, we have to
advance this highly efficient zero emission coal agenda which,
again, the Congress, working with the administration on a
bipartisan basis, is doing. And we have to bring more nuclear
on-line as a hedge while we fill in with renewable fuels and we
fill in even more with renewable power.
We can get there. It takes some time, but we have to
sequence this right. And we can't drive our investment away
from coal in America, because if we don't figure it out, it
will be decades before China and India and other countries
figure it out. So we have an imperative to get it right here
Mr. Cannon. And if we get it right here first, and other
nations can copy the technology that we produced and have the
kinds of wonderful things in life that we have in America
without the effect on the environment----
Mr. Connaughton. And also, again by the way, we are
competing less on the world stage for energy resources. So
countries like Japan, emerging economies, that don't have
access to the same natural resources we do, when we are using
our own smarts, that makes other resources available to other
countries that don't have it. It is good for the global
economies of all, and it will lift billions of people out of
poverty over time.
Mr. Cannon. Poverty is the big polluter. If you don't
believe that, go to Haiti and take a look at the landscape.
You said something about the Federal opaque and this new
chip that has come out that is 40 percent positive, I believe
it is funded in large part by DOE. I think that is one of the
great stories that is ready to happen. We don't know what it's
going to cost yet. It's not commercial--or it is actually
commercial, but not really commercial--and of the price that
will really make sense. But isn't that a direct result of DOE
funding and this administration's initiatives to do those
Mr. Connaughton. In last year's State of the Union address,
the President called for significant ramp-up in the research
dollars toward some of these advanced solar and wind
technologies. My son dragged me to NexTechs in New York,
sponsored by Wired Magazine. And they had this nanosolar
technology that creates little pyramids on the same panel.
That's a great one.
And then DOE is also looking at lower efficiency but much
cheaper solar panels, so you could actually make a whole roof
out of it but it doesn't cost you very much. So it might not be
as efficient as the glass panels, but you get more energy from
it because you can spread it out on a bigger surface. Now, that
could make it more affordable for the consumer, and we can get
to these zero energy or energy gives back home.
Mr. Cannon. I recognize my time is almost gone.
The breakthrough you already have on the table is a chip
that will deliver over 40 percent efficiency as opposed to the
15 or 16 percent that we had historically. That is a tripling,
almost, of efficiency, which means that the possibility of
really using this wildly throughout the world, not in all uses,
but supplementing our uses is close.
Mr. Connaughton. These things come in waves, and I think
that is a renaissance in that area and that is very exciting.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much, Mr. Connaughton.
Thank you for being with us.
We are going to continue this investigation. We expect
cooperation from your office in giving us all of the
information and documents that we feel we are entitled to.
Mr. Connaughton. You will have our continued cooperation,
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much. Thank you for being
Our last witness is Dr. Roy Spencer. He is the principal
resident scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.
He worked at NASA for more than a decade.
I want to welcome you to the committee. Your prepared
statement will be in the record in full. We would like to ask,
if you would, to keep your oral statement to no more than 5
It's the policy of this committee that we put all witnesses
under oath. And so if you would please rise and raise your
The record will indicate the witness answered in the
affirmative. And we look forward to hearing from you.
STATEMENT OF ROY SPENCER, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA, HUNTSVILLE
Mr. Spencer. I am sorry I wasn't here for----
Chairman Waxman. There is a button on the base of the mic.
Mr. Spencer. I am sorry I wasn't here for Jim's testimony.
As you can tell, I am not an expert on this. It has been a few
years since I have done this. So I am going to read my oral
testimony verbatim if you don't mind.
I would like to thank the chairman and members of this
committee for the opportunity to provide my perspective on
political interference on government-funded science.
I have been performing NASA-funded science research for the
last 22 years. Prior to my current position as a principal
research scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville,
I was senior scientist for climate studies at NASA's Marshall
Space Flight Center and was an employee of NASA from 1987 until
During the period of my government employment, NASA had a
rule that any interaction between its scientists and the press
was to be coordinated through NASA management and Public
Affairs. Understandably, NASA managers do not appreciate first
learning of their scientists' findings and opinions in the
There was no secret within NASA at that time that I was
skeptical of the size of the human influence on global climate.
My views were diametrically opposed to those of Vice President
Gore, and I believe that they were considered to be a possible
hindrance to NASA getting full congressional funding for
Mission to Planet Earth.
So while Dr. Hansen was freely sounding the alarm over what
he believed to be dangerous levels of human influence on the
climate, I tried to follow the rules. On many occasions, I
avoided questioning from the media on the subject and instead
directed reporters' questions to my director John Christie, who
was my coworker, still is, and a university employee.
Through the management chain, in fact, I was told what I
was allowed to say in congressional testimony. My dodging of
committee questions regarding my personal opinions on the
subject of global warming was considered to be quite humorous
by one committee, an exchange which is now part of the
I want to make it very clear that I am not complaining. I
am only relating these things because I was asked to. I was,
and still am, totally supportive of NASA's Earth satellite
missions, but I understood that my position as a NASA employee
was a privilege, not a right, and there were rules that I was
expected to abide by.
Partly because of those limits on what I could and couldn't
say to the press and Congress, I voluntarily resigned from NASA
in the fall of 2001. Even though my research responsibilities
to NASA have not changed since resigning, being a university
employee gives me much more freedom than government employees
have in expressing opinions.
So while you might think that political influence in our
climate research program started with the Bush administration,
that simply isn't true. It is--it has always existed. You just
never heard about it because NASA's climate science program was
aligned with Vice President Gore's objectives.
The bias started when the U.S. Climate Research Program was
first initiated. The emphasis on studying the problem of global
warming presumes that a problem exists. As a result, the
funding has always favored the finding of evidence for climate
catastrophe rather than for climate stability. This biased
approach to the funding of science serves several goals which
favor specific political ideology.
First, it grows government science, environmental, and
policy programs, which depend upon global warming, remaining as
much of a threat as possible. It favors climate researchers who
quite naturally have vested interests and careers, theories,
and personal incomes, myself included. And it provides
justification for environmental lobbying groups whose very
existence depends on sustaining public fears of environmental
I am not claiming that global warming science--that the
global warming science program isn't needed. It is. We do need
to find out how much of our current warmth is human induced and
how much of it we might expect in the future.
I am just pointing out that the political interference
flows both ways, but not everyone has felt compelled to
complain about it.
This concludes my oral testimony.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Spencer follows:]
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Chairman Waxman. Mr. Issa.
Mr. Issa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Spencer, your qualifications--you are a climate
scientist; is that correct?
Mr. Spencer. Well, at my age, none of us were trained as
climate scientists. We were trained as meteorologists or
Mr. Issa. But you are a Ph.D.
Mr. Spencer. Ph.D. in meteorology.
Mr. Issa. And if I heard you correctly, what you said, you
chafed at the Clinton administration's tendency to like Dr.
Hansen's ability to get out and say what he thought and not
like what you wanted to say.
Mr. Spencer. I specifically remember after my congressional
testimony where I was asked to not say anything beyond
something specific about my work, I asked my management how is
it that Jim Hansen gets to say these things to the press and I
don't. And they just shrugged their shoulders and said he is
not supposed to be able to.
Mr. Issa. So there was a double standard under the Clinton
Mr. Spencer. Sure.
Mr. Issa. Is there a double standard under this
Mr. Spencer. Double standard in what way?
Mr. Issa. If you were still here under this administration,
do you think you would be more free to talk about things which,
let's say, were more aligned with the oil industry?
Mr. Spencer. No. I don't think so, because there is too
much pressure to keep the global warming thing going. I don't
want to make it sound like there is no such thing as global
warming. You realize from reading my testimony that is not the
case. I'm just saying there is a bias that exists. The bias is
pervasive, and in Jim Hansen's case he has a lot more political
capital than I ever had, since he is Mr. Global Warming. And
Mr. Issa. And before that, he was Mr. Global Cooling.
Mr. Spencer. Oh, well, I don't know. That goes back before
my time, probably.
Mr. Issa. So what you're saying, there is politics at work.
There were politics at work in the last administration, and
it's very difficult for scientists to deal with that, both from
the administration but also from their peer group when one side
or the other is sort of ganging up on the minority.
Mr. Spencer. That is right.
Mr. Issa. And this committee is a committee of jurisdiction
over a lot of things in government. We can't mandate that
people get along and play pretty, but we certainly can set a
lot of the rules.
Do you believe this committee should pass legislation that
would change any aspect, and if so, what aspect of how the
Clinton administration, and, I guess, the Reagan
administration, the first President Bush administration, and
the second President Bush administration, has had these
policies since 1987. What would you change or advise us to
Mr. Spencer. OK, well, I believe in what Roger Pielke, Jr.
said in his testimony. I believe it was to this committee on
January 30th or 31st. It was pretty flowery and maybe a little
difficult to follow, but he basically said you cannot separate
politics from science. I agree with that.
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Mr. Spencer. I would say if I changed anything, I would
make sure that when science is funded, it does not favor any
particular political or policy outcomes. That is what I would
like to see changed.
Mr. Issa. I hope we can do that.
Let me ask one more question.
The analogy I used earlier of former Speaker of the House
Newt Gingrich complaining about being put on the back of the
plane of Air Force One in the Clinton administration, a plane
that most people never get to ride on at all, isn't Dr.
Hansen's complaint essentially that he is the most covered
environmental person on the planet and yet he feels stifled
because he can't do more freely?
Mr. Spencer. I basically agree. He has gotten to say
whatever he has wanted to say about climate change, and the
public can rest assured that they have already heard about
every potential catastrophic climate scenario that anybody can
dream up 10 times over in the media. They haven't missed a darn
thing. So when Jim Hansen finally complained about some
pressure, my first thinking was well, they finally started
asking him to follow the rules.
Mr. Issa. And last but not least, unfortunately the 600-
page findings are no longer here, but you saw them being
referred to by Mr. Connaughton. How do you feel about the final
product on climate change?
Mr. Spencer. Which final product? That big thick thing? I
didn't read it.
Mr. Issa. And why not?
I know you are under oath, but honesty is unusual here.
Mr. Spencer. I spent all of my time trying to go after what
I believe to be the largest uncertainty in global climate
change, because I think it is important especially for the poor
in humanity and I don't--I basically don't spend much of my
time trying to understand all different aspects of what the
administration is currently interested in in terms of the----
Mr. Issa. The chairman is helping with the question, but it
is the right one to ask. What is the greatest uncertainty right
now that you are working on?
Mr. Spencer. I think the greatest uncertainty, which I am
not alone in this but we are in the minority, is that we don't
understand the way in which the climate system is naturally
controlled by precipitation systems. All the air that you are
breathing, all of the air out there in the sky, within a few
days it all gets cycled through precipitation systems. Those
are the systems that impart upon the air its greenhouse effect,
which is mostly water vaporing clouds.
Everyone admits we really don't understand them very well,
but when you have people that don't have meteorological
training--and I love Jim Hansen, I think he is a fantastic
scientist, but he doesn't have formal meteorological training--
you'll find that meteorologists are very skeptical about global
warming because they understand the complexity of the
atmosphere, the almost biological complexity of the atmosphere.
And yet modelers come along and say well, we put some
equations in and we put in all the different components and we
think this is--that it's telling us the way the atmosphere
works. Well, there are a lot of us, possibly a silent majority
of meteorologists, that don't believe we know enough. And I
think ultimately getting back to your original question, it all
comes down to precipitationsites.
Mr. Issa. Isn't it true that we also don't understand the
ocean and its effects? Recently we learned that every 80 miles
you have unique DNA in organisms?
Mr. Spencer. That's true. But also I want to point out that
if global warming is indeed a problem, even though we don't
understand it, we should do something about it to the extent it
makes sense economically. I like to think I am a pretty good
student of basic economics, which I never learned about until
about age 35. I am a student of Thomas Sowell and Walter
Williams, and I think the part of this whole issue I love more
than the science is the economics.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired. The
Chair recognizes himself.
So it is your view, Dr. Spencer, that this consensus that
the view we have heard from the National Academy of Sciences
and the international group that has come up with recent
conclusions, that they are incorrect. You have a dissenting
opinion on this.
Mr. Spencer. Well, I hear a lot about consensus. You are
going to have to tell me which consensus this is.
Chairman Waxman. How about the National Academy of
Sciences, they have a consensus point of view. Do you disagree
with that point of view?
Mr. Spencer. I don't recall what their consensus happens to
be. The consensus I agree with is mankind does have an
influence on climate. To me that is pretty obvious.
Chairman Waxman. Is the climate getting warmer?
Mr. Spencer. Yes.
Chairman Waxman. Is that caused by man-made pollutants?
Mr. Spencer. I don't think we have any quantitative idea
how much of that warming is due to mankind.
Chairman Waxman. Do you think that people that disagree
with you are acting more on faith than on science?
Mr. Spencer. Yes.
Chairman Waxman. And what do you mean by that?
Mr. Spencer. Well, I learned many years ago that there are
some things in science which are difficult to answer, some
questions that are difficult to answer. And some people--some
scientists don't realize to what extent they are going on faith
when they make certain pronouncements. And it's only human
nature. I mean, I don't fault us for it all. I am saying there
is more faith involved in science than most people are led to
believe. So those are not keepers of the truth.
Chairman Waxman. There is such a thing as a scientific
method where they evaluate the evidence and test hypotheses. Do
you think those people who try to follow the scientific methods
and reach the conclusion that we----
Mr. Spencer. They haven't followed the scientific method.
Chairman Waxman. They have not?
Mr. Spencer. You cannot put the climate system in the
laboratory. There is only one experiment going on. Mankind is
carrying it out. And there is no way to know how much of the
effect of the warming we have seen is due to radiated forcing
from something like low-level clouds versus mankind.
Chairman Waxman. You are definitely outside of the
mainstream of these views on global warming and climate change.
Would you acknowledge that?
Mr. Spencer. If there was a vote taken, yeah, I would
probably be outside the mainstream. Yes.
Chairman Waxman. Now, I want to read something that you
``Twenty years ago as a Ph.D. Scientist, I intentionally
studied the evolution versus intelligent design controversy for
about 2 years and finally, despite my previous acceptance of
evolutionary theory as fact, I came to the realization that
intelligent design as a theory of origins is no more religious
and no less scientific than evolutionism.''
Is that a correct statement?
Mr. Spencer. Yes. I still believe that.
Chairman Waxman. So as a scientist, you believe that
intelligent design is equal to the doctrine of evolution?
Mr. Spencer. I consider it to be a better explanation of
origins, and origins are something that science basically
cannot address. There are no naturalistic explanations yet for
the information content of DNA or RNA. There is no explanation
for the Big Bang that doesn't have to invoke new physics we've
never heard of before, we have never seen. To me, that is as
much faith as it is science.
Chairman Waxman. And the whole Darwin explanation of
evolution, survival of the fittest----
Mr. Spencer. Even the evolutionists are having big problems
with neo-Darwinism. They realize it's not explaining what is
going on biologically.
Now, of course, I have a sister that will beat me over the
head because she disagrees with me on that. But I still believe
that, and there are a lot of scientists that believe that,
Chairman Waxman. So as a scientist, you are out of the
mainstream on global warming, and would you say you are out of
the mainstream on evolution?
Mr. Spencer. Yeah, among scientists, sure. I would also
like to point out that there were two medical researchers from
Australia that were out of the mainstream. They were laughed at
for 10 years for believing that stomach ulcers were due to
bacteria. In 2005, they were awarded the Nobel Prize. So I
don't mind being out of the mainstream.
Chairman Waxman. There is no question in scientific history
that people who are out of the mainstream later are proved to
be correct, but that was based on scientific evidence.
Mr. Spencer. And statistically I probably agree with you
that consensus among scientists usually is more right than
Chairman Waxman. Thank you.
The gentleman from Utah, Mr. Cannon.
Mr. Cannon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You know, I am wondering how we got to the point of
discussing intelligent design here except to somehow cast a
shadow on the witness' integrity. I think that he has made
casual references to very deep studies, and I would suggest
that the majority look at those studies and deal with that
issue on its own merits, because I think what we are dealing
with here really comes down to the question of should we be
asking questions, especially in an environment so complex as
the Earth's atmosphere, or should we say there is a mainstream
and if you are outside the mainstream, you are not accepting?
The whole point of the scientific method is to ask, yes,
and the key is to come up with a good question to ask.
And I think, Dr. Spencer, when you talk about there is only
one experiment, that is what is happening around us. There are
things we can measure in that environment, right?
Mr. Spencer. Yes.
Mr. Cannon. And are we doing some of that measuring?
Mr. Spencer. I am sorry. You are asking about the
We do the satellite temperatures. John Christie and I were
not the only ones, as the chairman is well aware. There is
another group in California that is also doing that now, and
they get answers very close to us. They get somewhat warmer
global temperatures. There is Jim Hansen and others that have a
Mr. Cannon. And they are measurements, right?
Mr. Spencer. All of these measurements have errors. We
don't know how big the errors are, but we think we are all in
agreement that all of these measurements do show warming. There
is still some argument about how much warming there is.
Mr. Cannon. There's an argument about how much warming,
about how much that is going to affect the sea level. There are
arguments about everything in the whole system, including how
good the model is that you use to predict.
You said earlier there is only one experiment, and the
model, I think you were going to say, the model is woefully
inadequate in dealing with the reality which we are still
trying to figure out.
Mr. Spencer. That is my belief, and here's where we hit
faith again. Jim Hansen has faith that he has the important
physics that is necessary to show that you--the climate system
is going to react from addition of man-made greenhouse gasses.
Now the climate modelers will tell you that the climate
models do replicate the basic behavior of the climate system.
That is true. I agree with them. They do. The question is,
though, how the atmosphere will change from this very small
amount of rate enforcing that mankind is causing, less than 1
percent, of the natural greenhouse effect, which weather has
control over. We are putting in our own extra 1 percent. How is
the system going to respond?
Jim Hansen and some other modelers think the system is
going to respond by punishing us, that its going to amplify the
little bit of warming from that.
Mr. Cannon. That is a belief you are saying. That is Jim
Mr. Spencer. It's a belief based on the physics that he put
in his model, that the physics he put in his model are
sufficient to describe how the system is going to react to our
addition of greenhouse gasses.
Mr. Cannon. I think it would have been fascinating to have
a longer discussion with Dr. Hansen, because I believe you are
correct that a large part of what he is doing is justifying his
longstanding view that catastrophic bad things are going to
happen based upon--what do you call them--the inertia, the
massive inertia and these slight changes.
Mr. Spencer. And I don't mind going on the record saying he
may well be right. As a scientist, he may well be right.
Mr. Cannon. Isn't that the point? We have to ask the
question, is he right? He has posited an idea and now he has
tried to quash the questions because he's drawn a conclusion,
and that conclusion has become a conclusion of faith instead of
a conclusion of inquiry of science.
Mr. Spencer. I am sure he doesn't look at it that way, but
Mr. Cannon. I think he was pretty clear about it and what
is evil and what is good.
Mr. Spencer. He has done a good job of showing
quantitatively one possible explanation for the warming in the
last century, and that increases his confidence because he
claims if he combines the effects of volcanoes and aerosols and
CO2 and he tinkers around enough with the model, he
can actually get something that looks like the temperature
changes over the last century.
So what he has done is come up with one potential
explanation for the current global temperatures and how they
evolved over the last century.
Mr. Cannon. And that becomes an augmentor of his faith, is
what you are saying.
Mr. Spencer. I wish I could remember the name. There was a
lady who worked at NCAR who did some research, some
sociological research at NCAR about climate modelers, and what
she learned was that they only tend to discuss the big
uncertainties among themselves, but when it comes to public
consumption the uncertainties are greatly----
Mr. Cannon. Mr. Hansen talked about that when he talked
about trying to overcome the gap between what the public
understands about the catastrophic possibilities and the
science. What he meant there is not that they want people to
understand the complexities of the discussion, but he wants
them to understand the conclusion that he believes is imminent.
Mr. Spencer. Yeah. From the people I talked to in the
public, I think everyone knows what the consensus view is.
Mr. Cannon. The consensus is out there very loud, and
promoted by people who want a conclusion.
I have some technical questions about what is going on with
global warming, but I do want to ask one other thing. Mr. Issa,
I think, used the expression ``gang up.'' And when scientists
come to a conclusion and gang up, that is some of a
``thugocracy,'' you know, when thugs have control.
Chairman Waxman. The gentleman's time has expired.
Mr. Cannon. This is the end of the question.
In the first place, it means bad science when people get
together and decide who's inside and who is out. And second, it
means those who are on the inside continue to get the money.
Isn't that the case?
Mr. Spencer. Generally, yes. But I don't think you are
going to change scientists. Scientists are human, too, and they
have their own biases and political opinions, as do I. And you
are not going to change that, I think, getting back to the
original suggestion maybe the committee can try to make sure
that different political and policy outcomes are respected, you
know, in funding the science.
Mr. Cannon. Thank you. I yield back.
Chairman Waxman. Yes.
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Dr. Spencer, I would like you to either tell me whether you
agree or disagree with this statement: When the government
speaks on science, it should present an accurate and honest
view of the current state of the science.
Mr. Spencer. That would make sense, yes.
Mr. Yarmuth. And it should, to all extents possible,
prevent ideology, dogma, and corporate considerations from
influencing its description of the current state of the
Mr. Spencer. I guess, in an ideal world.
Mr. Yarmuth. And while you have some evidence, claim to
have some evidence, that such activity took place or such
influence on undesirable influence took place under the Clinton
administration, you don't have a judgment as to whether it has
taken place or has not taken place under the current
Mr. Spencer. No. I don't really have any judgment, but I
wouldn't be surprised. I mean, I don't know whether it has been
mentioned in this hearing, but NASA is an executive branch
agency, and ultimately our boss is the President. And if
something is not agreeing with the President's policy
direction, I can see pressure being made. I mean, as a
scientist, I wouldn't like it. But then I don't have to be a
government employee, do I? So I resigned.
Mr. Yarmuth. I would ask you whether you would consider it
a legitimate role for the Congress to--when it suspects that
such influence has taken place, that it inquire, investigate
whether that is the fact and whether the public is, in fact,
getting a fair and honest and accurate description of the state
of the science.
Mr. Spencer. Yeah, as long as the Congress does that
Mr. Yarmuth. Thank you.
Chairman Waxman. Thank you very much, Dr. Spencer. We
appreciate your testimony.
That concludes the hearing for today, and we stand
[Whereupon, at 2:50 p.m., the committee was adjourned.]