In the wide world of bullcrap, there’s one thing that rises to the top: Changing official documents. Add climate change to that, and you’ve got a potential poo-storm on your hands. Officials in Texas have apparently censored a report – that they commissioned – on Galveston Bay, South of Houston. “They just simply went through and summarily struck out any reference to climate change, any reference to sea level rise, any reference to human influence – it was edited or eliminated,” says John Anderson, an oceanographer at Rice University in Houston. Anderson asserts that the changes reflect a air of denial about the environmental impacts within the State.
Three scientists attached to the report have asked that their names be removed after hearing about the edits, according to the Houston Chronicle. Jim Lester, editor of the report, says “We feel it would impact our credibility as scientists on something where the data on sea-level rise has been censored.” Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) claims that the edits were not censorship, and that they feel “It would be irresponsible to take whatever is sent to us and publish it.”
The problem lies not with the fact that it was edited, but in what the edits were. One sentence deleted from the report stated that water levels in Galveston Bay have been rising at five times the long-term average. TCEQ head Bryan Shaw was appointed by Presidential hopeful Rick Perry, and many have accused him of playing politics instead of scientist. As Anderson says “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. It’s not about the science. It’s all politics.”
In a time where communications are lightning fast, and moral outrages grab headlines faster than ever, it’s not a good idea to go against the scientifically proven facts just to make you look better. The release of the report has been delayed due to the outrage from scientists over editing.