Thursday, October 13, 2011

Texas Agency Censors Climate Change References In Key Scientific Report

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) doesn’t want to say who’s responsible for deleting all mentions of climate change from part of a forthcoming scientific report, and that’s got at least one scientist hopping mad.

Dr. John B. Anderson (pictured, left), an oceanographer at Rice University, told Raw Story that his report on the Galveston Bay estuary, and the effects of rising sea levels on its fragile ecosystem, was censored for purely “political” reasons.

“This is a clear-cut case of censorship,” he said in an exclusive interview. “It’s not scientific editing. It was strictly deletion of virtually any information that related to global change.”

“This is the TCEQ’s report which we contracted with Houston Advance Research Center to publish regarding the State of Galveston Bay,” the [TCEQ] agency said in its prepared statement. “It would be irresponsible to take whatever is sent to us and publish it. And here, information was included in a report that we disagree with.”

“That chapter that was censored was actually a summary of scientific literature,” Anderson told Raw Story. “There’s no new data that was actually presented in that chapter. [...] One of those statements was even lifted out of Science Magazine, which last I heard was an acceptable scientific journal. So, I was rather shocked that their response was they did not accept some of those viewpoints.”

“To say you don’t accept it, when it’s been published in peer-reviewed scientific literature, usually means that you need some kind of a counter argument to say that there’s also evidence published in peer-reviewed literature that would refute that,” he added. “But [they offered] nothing of that sort...."

“We scientists commonly are criticized for not going the extra step in education, and this was my way of doing that outreach, to write an article that is not directed at the scientific community,” Anderson concluded. “To then have those very policymakers turn around and say we refuse to accept any of this… is quite discouraging. I refer to Texas as a state of denial, and I don’t think we’re the only coastal state that’s in denial.”

“These people have a responsibility to look out for, not just the voters, but the future voters,” he said. “There the ones who are going to have to pay the tab. As long as we live in the state of denial, we’re just passing the check to our grandkids to deal with.”

To see what was censored in Anderson’s article, which is no longer part of the TCEQ’s “The State of the Bay 2010″ report, click to the Raw Story article.

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