While our PM has been full of emissions talk this week, President Bush has announced a new climate change strategy and — given that it’s one of engagement rather than foot dragging — this is nothing to sniff at.

Bush said he wants to convene a series of meetings of the 15 major Greenhouse-gas-emitting countries to hammer out “global emissions goals”. The shift may only be rhetorical, but at least the ruler of the free world is starting to send the right signals.

That’s not to say that people should abandon their cynicism when it comes to this administration’s record on climate change. Allow us to jog your memory.

In March this year, the Committee on Oversight & Government Reform was examining “political interference in climate science.”

The hearing “examined evidence and allegations of political interference with the work of government climate-change scientists under the current administration.”

One of the witnesses was Philip Cooney, former Chief of Staff, White House Council on Environmental Quality. He’s the guy who got creative with drafts of several reports on climate change in 2002 and 2003. 

As The New York Times reported back in 2005, in handwritten notes, Cooney removed or adjusted descriptions of climate research that government scientists and their supervisors, including some senior Bush administration officials, had already approved. In many cases, the changes appeared in the final reports.

Before going to the White House in 2001, Cooney was a lobbyist at the American Petroleum Institute. A lawyer with a bachelor’s degree in economics, “he has no scientific training,” reported The Times.

Note his penmanship here:

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