Government Interference in Climate Science

The folks at the Government Accountability Project have released a report, done in conjunction with the Union of Concerned Scientists, about government interference in climate science:

• Nearly half of all respondents (46 percent of all respondents to the question) perceived or
personally experienced pressure to eliminate the words “climate change,” “global warming,”
or other similar terms from a variety of communications.
• Two in five (43 percent) perceived or personally experienced changes or edits during
review that changed the meaning of scientific findings.
• Nearly half (46 percent) perceived or personally experienced new or unusual administrative requirements that impair climaterelated work.
• One-quarter (25 percent) perceived or personally experienced situations in which
scientists have actively objected to, resigned from, or removed themselves from a project
because of pressure to change scientific findings.
• Asked to quantify the number of incidents of interference of all types, 150 scientists
(58 percent) said they had personally experienced one or more such incidents within
the past five years, for a total of at least 435 incidents of political interference.

Given that this is based on a self-selected sample (those who chose to respond) I’d shy away from arguing that the numbers are representative, but the scope of the examples is suggestive.


  1. I recall that about a year ago RP Jr. insisted that this couldn’t be happening to any great extent because his call for NOAA scientists to tell him about such incidents had gotten little or no response. When I pointed out that said scientists might not have complete trust that their identities would be safe with him there was, in the phrase of the esteemed coney, much harrumphing in Boulder. My evidence, BTW, was that I had been contacted by a GSFC scientist who was able to find my email address through Sierra Club connections. This scientist told me that the suppression of climate change research and communications was extensive throughout both NASA and NOAA. But as RP Jr.’s co-author (Chris Landsea) told him it wasn’t so, it could not have been true. 🙁 Why those Congressional staffers think RP Jr. has anything of value to add to their proceedings is beyond me.

  2. The report was prepared for a Congressional hearing today at which RP Jr. also testified. He had a major involvement in this controversy when it first arose, so the mention seemed topical to me. Also I had just finished reading his testimony when I saw your post.

  3. I think I’m gonna start a new “Pielke watch” feature on Inkstain, where I highlight people going all apoplectic about Roger. That guy’s like waving a red rag in front of you guys. 🙂

  4. Eli –

    I know it’s wrong to tempt you off the wagon, but my new “Pielke watch” feature would be way more fun if you’d … ya know … oh, never mind, it’s wrong, I’m sorry.

  5. Dear John,

    (Always wanted to write one of those) What keeps me going on these cold nights is the occasional visit from Ethon. The big bird makes blogging worth doing and I would hate to give him up. By the way, Albuquerque is pretty close to Boulder by air, right?


  6. Pingback: jfleck at inkstain » Blog Archive » Pielke Watch

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