Photo credit: eutrophication&hypoxia; via Flickr/CC BY
John Anderson, a oceanographer from Texas, worked with a group of researchers on an in-depth study on Galveston Bay for 10 years. He then authored the report on the study, which he submitted to Texas's environmental agency. But when he was shown the version that was readied for official publication, he noticed it was missing some key information -- namely, anything having to do with the fact that climate change was impacting the bay.
A long-awaited report on Galveston Bay is being delayed by accusations that Texas' environmental agency deleted references from a scientific article to climate change, people's impact on the environment and sea-level rise. John Anderson ... accused the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality of basing its decision to delete certain references on politics rather than science.
"I don't think there is any question but that their motive is to tone this thing down as it relates to global [climate] change," Anderson said. "It's not about the science. It's all politics."
The article has several references to climate change but does not say it is caused by humans. However, other references to the impact people have had on the environment were deleted by TCEQ.
A conservative government body seeking to censor scientific findings that suggest human activity is causing the climate to change? Sorta reminds you of the good ol' days of the Bush administration and that infamous "unopened" email, doesn't it? And Bush ignoring his own EPA scientists and the mounting evidence that climate change was real and should be acted upon ...
This deja vu-strewn incident is admittedly more minor, but it does shed some light on the tension between conservative politics and, well, scientific reality that persists to this day. Again, the Chronicle:
Anderson wrote to TCEQ Commissioner Buddy Garcia Aug. 30 complaining about the censorship, including as an example the deletion of a section saying the ocean level in Galveston Bay is rising by 3 millimeters a year, compared with the long-term average of 0.5 millimeters.
"The sea level rates presented in this chapter are scientific fact, not speculation," he wrote to Garcia. "Preventing me from publishing this chapter in its current form is a clear case of censorship, which we academicians take very seriously. I would hope that you will intervene at this point and assure that publication of The State of the Bay is no longer delayed."
Anderson said he has not heard from Garcia ...
Shhhh. Don't tell the public there's local, incontrovertible evidence that sea levels are rising, and that humans are behind it. It might, after all, make them want to do something about it.