Court Rebukes Bush Administation on Global Warming

Administration failed to meet deadlines on critical climate research reports.

ByABC News
August 21, 2007, 8:34 PM

Aug. 21, 2007 — -- A federal court today issued a harsh rebuke of the Bush administration for its failure to issue long-delayed reports assessing the impacts and consequences of global warming in the United States.

The judge in the case set a spring deadline for administration officials to comply.

Plaintiffs in the case say the Bush administration has been suppressing two reports intended to serve as a unifying guide for Congress and federal agencies on global warming threats and scientific research priorities.

"The reports are supposed to be the premiere summary on the science of global warming in this country and used by all federal agencies," said Kassie Siegel of the Center for Biological Diversity, a San Francisco-based conservation group and the main plaintiff in the case. "It's a very critical component of government decision making. The Bush administration essentially deep-sixed these reports."

Defendants in the case include Dr. William Brennan, acting director of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and John Marburger III, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Their offices are partially responsible for issuing two separate climate change assessment reports periodically required by the Global Change Research Act. The law was passed by Congress and signed by President George H.W. Bush in November 1990.

U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of U.S. District Court in Oakland, Calif., said the current Bush administration had argued that the Global Change Research Act granted wide discretion in the timing of the production and release of the reports.

"The defendants are wrong," the judge wrote in her 38-page ruling. "Congress has conferred no discretion upon the defendants as to when they will issue [the reports]."

White House Office of Science and Technology Policy spokesperson Kristin Scuderi said that officials were still reviewing the court order and could not comment on specifics.

The administration's Climate Change Science Program has said it plans to issue 21 climate reports instead of a single comprehensive guide, as has been done in the past.