Bush Climate Team Still Impacting The Debate, Report Finds

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As the next round of UN climate change negotiations begin in Copenhagen, a new report describes how 22 Bush-era officials are still influencing the climate debate, many of them as registered lobbyists for industry.

Among the former officials listed in the report from watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington are the following:* Philip Cooney, chief of staff for Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality from 2001 to 2005, joined Exxon-Mobil in 2005. Cooney has come full circle — from working for industry as a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, then to the Bush Administration, now back working for industry. He resigned as chief of staff at the CEQ after reports surfaced that he had watered down several climate change reports. An investigation by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee found that the “Bush Administration [had] engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.”

* Khary Cauthen, who succeeded Cooney as chief of staff for the CEQ, is now a registered lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute.

* James L. Connaughton served as President Bush’s chief environmental adviser as chair of the CEQ from 2001 to 2009. Since then, he has been vice president for corporate affairs and environmental policy at Constellation Energy.

“These alumni of the Bush climate team continue to shape and confuse the debate over global warming,” said Melanie Sloan, CREW’s executive director. “They may have changed their uniforms, but they’re still playing for the same team.”

The full report can be read here.

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