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Interior Officials Cited Coal Executives And Crank Bloggers To Defend Climate Denial
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10 Mar 2018 05:36 AM EST

Top officials at the Department of the Interior cited former coal executives and crank bloggers to challenge the overwhelming evidence of the threat posed by man-made climate change, according to department emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request by former Interior scientist Joel Clement. On Sept. 26, Indur Goklany, a science and technology policy analyst at the Interior Department, cited a study briefing from a group called CO2Science, highlighting a selective finding that some plankton communities may benefit from increased levels of carbon dioxide, which causes the oceans to acidify. CO2Science is the shortened nickname for the Arizona-based Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, an oil-funded think tank run by former Peabody Energy executive Craig Idso. He has also quoted a “very good article” from “Watts Up With That,” a blog run by former television meteorologist Anthony Watts that promotes doubt over the existence and causes of climate change. The emails are by no means surprising from an agency that, despite overseeing research on huge swaths of the nation’s wilderness and federal lands, has served as the speartip of the Trump administration’s efforts to politicize science and shape regulations to favor fossil fuel companies. But they demonstrate the extent to which once-fringe commentators now wield significant influence at the highest reaches of government.

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