US accused of suppressing climate change reports

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A federal judge has reprimanded the US Government for failing to release two overdue reports laying out plans for climate change research and mitigation.

Judge Sandra Armstrong ordered the US Government to produce copies of the US Government’s National Assessment and Research plans, after conservation organisations launched a legal challenge, accusing the Bush administration of deliberately suppressing the documents until the end of President’s term of office.

The last US Government National Assessment, which laid out the impact of global warming on US environment, human health, economy and safety, was released under the Clinton Administration. An update to the National Assessment is three years overdue – an update to the Research Plan, which outlines US Government plans for supporting research into climate change, was due in 2006.

Environmental organisations accused the US Government of ‘hiding its head in the sand’ over global warming. Brendan Cummings, a lawyer representing environmental organisation the Center for Biological Diversity, said that the current US administration has ‘denied and suppressed’ the science of global warming ‘at every turn.’

John Croequyt of Greenpeace, which was also involved in the lawsuit, accused George Bush of ‘repeatedly trying to obscure and deny the science [of climate change], while attempting to run out the clock on his administration.’

The US Government now has until Spring 2008 to produce new copies of the reports.

This article first appeared in the Ecologist August 2007