Posted by: Sara Shipley Hiles | June 29, 2009

Climate backlash over “suppressed” report at EPA

In an earlier post I wondered whether there’s a growing backlash against the notion of climate change. Now I think it must be true.

The blogosphere and Twitter have been ablaze over a report that the Environmental Protection Agency suppressed a report critical of climate change. I must thank Erica Gies (@egies on Twitter) for the original link to the story on CNet
The story leads:

The Environmental Protection Agency may have suppressed an internal
report that was skeptical of claims about global warming, including
whether carbon dioxide must be strictly regulated by the federal
government, according to a series of newly disclosed e-mail messages.

It goes on to describe how the author of the report, Alan Carlin, was told by his superiors that his work was not needed, thank you very much, and to go work on something else.

The CNet story, written by Declan McCullagh, who describes himself as’s chief political correspondent, and an iconoclast and a
skeptic, describes the report’s author thusly:

Carlin has an undergraduate degree in physics from CalTech and a PhD in economics from MIT. His Web site
lists papers about the environment and public policy dating back to
1964, spanning topics from pollution control to
environmentally-responsible energy pricing.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute seized on this rejection as evidence that the Obama administration is politicizing the science of climate change by ignoring evidence that global warming isn’t happening. In other words, Bush may have done it, but now Obama’s doing it too.

The folks at RealClimate (“climate science from climate scientists”) responded that the real problem here is that Carlin is first of all, not a climate scientist, and his supposedly devastating arguments are nothing but rehashed gobbledegook:

So in summary, what we have is a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed
web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at. Seriously, if that’s the best they can do, the EPA’s ruling is on pretty safe ground.

What did the mainstream media report of this? Not a whole lot — yet.

The SF Examiner’s Thomas Fuller gave Carlin an interview here in an article titled “The politics, if nto the science is settled at the EPA. Alan Carlin, global warming and trouble.”

And Grist wrote it up as a non-event here in an article titled “Scant evidence for charge that EPA ‘suppressed’ evidence.”

All of these stories received heavy comments from both sides.

I predict that this controversy will grow legs and get more coverage in the mainstream media as the Senate takes up the climate bill. Let’s see how it gets covered.

Blogged with the Flock Browser


  1. yep, more backlash. the more cornered wild animals feel, the more they lash out! … that’s true of politicians and their supporters, no matter what their stripes. the volume will get louder and louder this summer. the truth will be sacrificed, probably on both sides. guess journalists need to watch closely.

    • It’s weird – it had seemed a broad consensus was building over climate change. Look at the last election – both Obama and McCain were saying something needed to be done. Now we’re back to the political atmosphere of five years ago, it seems…

  2. […] asked for an investigation into the climate report allegedly “suppressed” by the EPA. (See my previous blog post on the report here.) Inhofe told Fox News that the EPA had been “cooking” the science on global warming […]

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