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US Research Plan Another Tactic to Delay Taking Action on Global Warming

Bush Administration Attempts to Distract Nation from Addressing Environmental Problem

WASHINGTON - The ten year research proposal for the US Climate Change Science Program announced today by the Bush Administration appears to be another attempt to focus attention on scientific uncertainties instead of taking action on the basis of science that already exists, according to World Wildlife Fund.

"If we continue to delay action while the Administration reinvents climate science we will miss the window of opportunity to reduce future impacts on communities and wildlife," said Katherine Silverthorne, director of WWF's US Climate Change Program.

"It is important to continue to build our knowledge of climate science, but the existing body of scientific literature on climate change makes clear that we must take steps to reduce emissions of heat-trapping emissions simultaneously while broadening our understanding," said Silverthorne. "Existing reports by top experts--the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a White House commissioned report by the National Research Council, and a 2002 report by the US Department of State--project an array of potential harm if action is not taken to reduce emissions of the heat-trapping gases that cause climate change."

In its review of an earlier version of the proposal, the National Academies highlighted that the proposal itself recognized that "uncertainty is inherent in science and decision making and therefore not in itself a basis for inaction," discounting the argument for delaying action based on scientific uncertainty.

"The Administration's irresponsible approach to global warming is putting us all at risk," said Silverthorne. "The planet has been diagnosed with a life-threatening disease and rather than working on a cure, the Administration is looking around for a second opinion it likes."

This proposal comes close on the heels of the release of an US Environmental Protection Agency report where Administration officials censored references to well accepted climate science, as reported by the New York Times.