White House blocked climate change testimony warning
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White House blocked climate change testimony warning

The Washington Post reported on Saturday that White House officials had barred a senior analyst at the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research from submitting written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee last week. Rod Schoonover was at a climate change hearing on Wednesday to testify on behalf of the bureau and although he was allowed to speak in person, his office's written statement was blocked by White House officials. Officials from the White House’s Office of Legislative Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, and National Security Council all objected to parts of the testimony by Schoonover, who works in the Office of the Geographer and Global Issues. The officials targeted the document’s scientific citations, which refer to work carried out by federal agencies including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Absent extensive mitigating factors or events, we see few plausible future scenarios where significant — possibly catastrophic — harm does not arise from the compounded effects of climate change,” reads part of the document. The move comes as the Trump administration is seeking to challenge the fact that burning fossil fuels is the cause of global warming and one feasible solution is to make deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade. Several senior administration officials, who all spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Trump officials sought to cut several pages of the document because their contents did not mesh with the administration’s official stance. Critics of the testimony included William Happer, who is a National Security Council senior director that has praised the benefits of carbon dioxide. He has also sought to establish a federal task force to throw into question the scientific consensus that human activity is the leading cause of the planet’s rising temperatures. Meanwhile, Francesco Femia, chief executive of the Council on Strategic Risks and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security, said, “This is an intentional failure of the White House to perform a core duty: inform the American public of the threats we face. It’s dangerous and unacceptable.” “Any attempt to suppress information on the security risks of climate change threatens to leave the American public vulnerable and unsafe.” In 2017, Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the landmark 2015 Paris climate change agreement. The Climate Action Center is backed by a group called "We Are Still In" that wants to maintain the Paris climate deal's aim of keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

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