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Attacks On Science From The Bush Administration Continue Post-Election

(Excerpted from a speech in February 2007 in Hawaii by Michael Hadfield)

Lest anyone think that the Congressional electoral victories of the Democrats last November have changed anything, let me point out these post-election events, all drawn from the popular press since November 2006:

Global warming 
Despite Bush’s acknowledgment - finally - that human activities are playing a role in global climate change, the following examples belie this acceptance.

I.  A survey of 1,600 government scientists conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that 46% had been warned against using terms like “global warming” in speeches or reports.  These scientists came from SEVEN  government agencies, from NASA to the EPA.

II.  The U. S. government vetoed all attempts to set restrictions greenhouse gases or takn any kind of significant action, at the November global-warming conference in Africa.

III. In the face of near universal acceptance that our reliance on fossil fuels for power generation and vehicular transport is a major contributor to climate change, as well as recognition that non-polluting, renewable energy sources are a key to the solution, the Bush administration proposed last week to eliminate the Department of Energy’s department on geothermal energy.  And this comes despite the recognition that many western states (especially Utah, Nevada and California) have vast untapped potential for geothermal electricity production.  A recent report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts that geothermal could provide electricity for up to 100 million homes within 50 years, with only a reasonable research investment!  The Bush administration prefers, instead, to promote nuclear energy development - falsely claiming that it is “non-polluting and renewable.”

IV.  Bush’s Energy Secretary, Samuel Bodman, is the former CEO of the Cabot Corporation, a company that was the 4th largest source of toxic emission in Texas in 1997.  Last Friday, Bodman responded to the latest global climate change report was that “the Bush administration would continue to oppose mandatory reduction in greenhouse gases - because “mandatory caps on CO2 emissions could financially ruin some of the energy companies responsible for air pollution.” 

V.  Within the last two weeks a colleague of mine who serves on the U.S. Task Force for the 2008 International Year of the Reef found himself overruled by the Department of State’s representative when he proposed recommending that consideration of the impacts of global warming on ocean acidity and the extinction of reefs, despite the certain knowledge that this would have a devastating impact on Pacific Island nations.  The State Dept. representative said something to the effect of, “We don’t want to raise issues that could be controversial.”  Controversial to whom?

Family planning and fertility control.

I.  After the November elections, Bush appointed Eric Keroack, an anti-birth control, anti-abortion, and anti-science doctor as head of a key government body responsible for family planning.


II.  Since the November elections, the Bush administration has restated its position that it will not provide funds to any organization, national or international, the promotes anything other than so-called “abstinence-only” approaches to birth control.  This extends to issues like condoms for AIDS prevention and HPV immunization.

III.  In January, the executive board of the World Health Organization adopted a strategy on gender, women and health that calls for enhancing the organization’s capacity for analyzing gender differences in health services and outcomes and integrating gender considerations into all areas of work.  BUT, the U.S. delegation opposed this endorsement, leading to a final wording that significantly reduced the significance of the resolution.

Stem-cell research.

Knowing that the democratic majority in the senate is too small to override a veto, Bush continues to state that he will again veto any attempt to legislate governmental support for stem-cell research.


Other environmental issues:

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence that oil drilling in the Alaska National Wildlife Reserve will have devastating effects on the native species, the Bush administration continues to push for this.

The Bush administration has been tireless in their efforts to re-open offshore oil exploration on the Pacific and Gulf coasts.

The Bush administration continues to promote logging of old-growth forests and post-fire areas.

The Bush administration is known to be antagonistic to the U.S. Endangered Species Act and to continue to work to defeat or weaken it.

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