Memo to Next EPA Press Sec'y: Read Up

by kespeland on December 19, 2008

There’s no debate, it’s been over for quite some time. Global warming is happening, we’re causing it, and it’s getting worse, fast. So, I hope you’ll study up on the copious amount of science out there on the problem. And I hope your new boss recognizes the responsibility, the urgency, to act.

Your predecessor, Jonathan Shradar, doesn’t seem too certain about the issue. A blogger at The Wonk Room picked up on a memo from your outgoing boss, EPA chief Stephen Johnson, who was taking pride in a job well done as he leaves office. In it, he claimed that the nation’s air is cleaner than it was a generation ago. The blogger decided to press Shradar on that assertion (and run this flickr.com photo of him with it):

Jonathan Shradar“The Wonk Room contacted EPA press secretary Jonathan Shradar to ask whether the ‘air is cleaner’ claim applies to greenhouse gas pollution. Shradar pleaded ignorance:
‘I don’t know the science there. I don’t think there’s a significant change in greenhouse gas pollutants. . . If you look at air quality in the United States, it is better. Climate change may still be affected.’
When it was pointed out to him that the U.S. Energy Information Administration has reported that U.S. global warming pollution has increased by 17 percent since 1990 and five percent since 2001, Shradar replied:
‘I haven’t seen that.’
When pressed further, he demurred, ‘I’m just the press secretary for the EPA.'”

It’s worth noting that the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Mass. v. EPA earlier this year that carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas—is a pollutant the EPA should regulate under the Clean Air Act. The EPA has so far not fulfilled its court-mandated duty to do that.

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