Bush accused of censorship over global warming risk

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The Independent US

The White House has again angered the green lobby by censoring and re-editing a government report to play down the threat of global warming and the contribution made to it by industrial and vehicle emissions.

The report was commissioned in 2001 by Christine Todd Whitman, the outgoing head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose two years in the job have seen a string of disputes between an increasingly disillusioned agency and the pro-business Bush administration.

It is due to appear next week but only after initial drafts were altered heavily by the White House, eliminating suggestions that human activities were at least partly responsible for climate change and warnings of the danger this could pose to health and ecosystems.

The final version omits references to a widely accepted 1999 study showing how sharply temperatures had risen over the previous decade, compared with the 1,000-year pattern. It cites a controversial later study, partly financed by the oil industry, which disputes these findings.

Ms Whitman, who steps down on 27 June, told The New York Times that despite the forced changes, she was "comfortable" with the outcome, saying the final report contained "a lot of really good information".

But environmental groups and some EPA officials do not agree. A National Wildlife Federation spokesman derided the report's "junk science". In a memorandum in April, EPA officials said that after the White House changes, the section on global warming "no longer represents the scientific consensus on climate change".