- The White House barred a federal intelligence agency from submitting written testimony about the harmful effects of climate change, according to the Washington Post.
- The testimony, prepared by the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, predicted that greenhouse gas emissions would contribute "significant" and "possibly catastrophic" harm to the planet.
- A White House aide told the Washington Post that the testimony didn’t "jibe" with the administration’s stance on climate change.
- The decision reflects a larger effort on behalf of the Trump administration to police government reports related to climate change.
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The White House is engaged in a war of words about climate change.
Last Wednesday, Rod Schoonover, a senior analyst at the US State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research, was barred from submitting his written assessment of the effects of a warming world to the House Intelligence Committee, the Washington Post reported.
Schoonover was scheduled to testify on behalf of the bureau at a climate change hearing held on June 5. Though he was permitted to speak in person, his office’s written statement was blocked by White House officials, who thought his scientific claims contradicted the policies of the Trump administration.
In his written testimony, Schoonover predicted that the "the compounded effects of climate change" would produce "significant," "possibly catastrophic," harm to the planet. The ability to prevent this future, he wrote, will depend partly on humanity’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Kevin Loria/Business Insider
A White House aide told the Washington Post that the testimony didn’t "jibe" with the administration’s official stance on climate change.
The testimony was reportedly opposed by members of the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council, including William Happer, a National Security Council senior director. Happer, who was dismissed from his post at the Department of Energy in 1993, has stated that most of Earth’s warming "has probably been due to natural causes."
Before the White House barred Schoonover’s written testimony, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research reportedly refused a request from the Trump administration to eliminate certain scientific claims.
Here are a few claims from the written document, first obtained by the Washington Post:
- Extreme high temperatures are increasing worldwide, and will continue to increase, due "largely" to greenhouse gas emissions.
- Today’s levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere haven’t been seen in "at least 800,000 years."
- Oceans are becoming more acidic due to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Climate change will amplify "stresses" such as droughts, floods, and fires.
- The effects of climate change could undermine trade routes, the global economy, and the world’s food supply.
- Climate change will "almost certainly" threaten national security in the coming decades.
The crackdown on Schoonover’s testimony reflects a larger effort on behalf of the Trump administration to police government reports related to climate change.
In May, the New York Times reported that the administration planned to prevent the federally-funded National Climate Assessment from outlining the "worst-case scenarios" if climate change went unchecked.
The Times also reported that the White House aimed to prevent the US Geological Survey from making climate predictions beyond 2040. Scientists expect the worst effects of global emissions to manifest after that time period.
Read the bureau’s full written testimony below:
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