[govinfo] GovInfo News 12-18-06

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "e-gov@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <e-gov@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 13:21:20 -0500

- Climate scientist says 'Kyoto' [was] barred
- Justice Scalia warns against 'bureaucrat' judges

Patrice McDermott, Director
202-332-OPEN (6736)


By Jim Erickson, Rocky Mountain News
December 11, 2006

A federal climate scientist in Boulder says his boss told him never to utter 
the word Kyoto and tried to bar him from using the phrase climate change at a 

The allegations come as federal investigators probe whether Bush administration 
officials tried to block government scientists from speaking freely about 
global warming and attempted to censor their research.
"We were under instructions not to use the word Kyoto, which of course is 
absurd," said Tans, who measures levels of carbon dioxide at NOAA's Global 
Monitoring Division. He has worked for the agency since 1990.

Tans said the order was issued verbally by his boss, David Hofmann, the 
division director. Another senior researcher at the Boulder laboratory, NOAA 
physicist James Elkins, said Hofmann told him the same thing.

Elkins studies greenhouse gases and has worked at NOAA for more than 20 years. 
He said he can't remember when the directive was issued, but it was "probably 
in 2000 or 2001."

"When I asked why we weren't supposed to use Kyoto, I was told that we're not 
supposed to use it in the policy context," Elkins said. "I'm not supposed to be 
talking about policy."

Hofmann, however, called the allegations "nonsense" and said there was no ban 
on using the word Kyoto.

"I never said it specifically in those words," Hofmann said. "I probably said 
that since the Kyoto Protocol is not ratified - is not part of the U.S. program 
- stay away from talking about Kyoto when you give a presentation."
"It has nothing to do with the science we're doing here," Hofmann said of Kyoto.

The Kyoto Protocol was negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997 and went 
into effect in February 2005, following ratification by Russia.

Elkins said the prohibition against using the word was lifted after Russia 
ratified the protocol.
"Once Russia signed Kyoto, it was a done deal," he said.

Last month, Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., announced that inspectors general 
from NASA and the Commerce Department - NOAA's parent agency - had launched 
"coordinated, sweeping investigations of the Bush administration's censorship 
and suppression" of federal research into global warming.

Auditors from the inspector general's office at Commerce have been interviewing 
NOAA employees, agency spokesman Jordan St. John said Thursday. At the same 
time the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, 
is conducting a separate review, St. John said.
In February, congressional leaders asked NASA to guarantee its scientific 
openness. They complained that an agency public affairs officer changed or 
filtered information about global warming and tried to limit reporters' access 
to James Hansen, a prominent NASA climate scientist.

The public affairs officer, George Deutsch, resigned.

Hansen said his NOAA colleagues were experiencing even more severe censorship.
"It seems more like Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union than the United States," 
he told a New School University audience in New York, according to The 
Washington Post.

In response, NOAA Administrator Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr. sent an agencywide 
e-mail to employees stating, in part, "I encourage our scientists to speak 
freely and openly."
In September, the journal Nature said that NOAA officials on the East Coast 
blocked the release of a fact sheet that discussed purported links between 
global warming and stronger hurricanes. NOAA denied the allegation.

That prompted New Jersey's Lautenberg and 13 other Democratic senators to 
request that the inspectors general from the Commerce Department and NASA take 
a look.

Hofmann said that he and other NOAA division directors were asked last month to 
provide the inspector general's office with information about the agency's news 
media policy, climate-related news releases, and the allegedly suppressed 
hurricane fact sheet.

"It was basically information related to NOAA's policies or procedures related 
to media issues, whether there were any difficulties with doing press releases 
on certain subjects," Hofmann said. "And quite a few requests for information 
on the hurricane fact sheet."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.


December 13, 2006

By David Perera

Low pay for federal judges threatens to undermine the U.S. judiciary system by 
letting it become the domain of provincially minded career judges, Supreme 
Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday.
The career climbers are "going to be beady-eyed, cause-y people, more willing 
to take the veil," Scalia said.
Scalia also said he favors televising Supreme Court proceedings, if for nothing 
else than to show the American people that most of the workload centers around 
"Internal Revenue code, the [Employee Retirement Income Security Act], the 
bankruptcy code -- really dull stuff."
Growing intensity around the confirmation of Supreme Court justices in the 
Senate is a sign that theories other than originalism are destructive, Scalia 
said. If the high court is central in affirming rights, such as the right to 
privacy, then politicians find that the most important qualification for a new 
judge "is that this guy write the kind of constitution I like."


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