Yesterday we wrote about Environmental Protection Agency economist Al Carlin, the author of a report that casts doubt on climate change. Carlin’s study wasn’t taken as seriously by the agency as he’d been hoping — perhaps because he’s not a scientist, and because his bosses never asked him to produce it.
But his cause has become a favorite of right-wingers, who suddenly believe science to be sacred, and are charging that the Obama administration is “suppressing” a report whose conclusions it dislikes. The anti-regulatory Competitive Enterprise Institute first publicized Carlin’s report last week. Since then, Carlin has discussed his “findings” with Glenn Beck on Fox News, and on Monday, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) called for a criminal investigation into the issue.
Now, Rep. Joe Barton is taking the outrage to a new level. This morning on America’s Newsroom, the industry-friendly Texas Republican accused the EPA of suppressing the report, and declared that “just as Nixon had Watergate, Obama now has Carbongate to deal with.”
(Note that Barton called Carlin “a scientist at the EPA.” In fact, Carlin has worked for the agency since months after its founding in 1971, but he does not hold an advanced degree in any natural science, and he has always worked as an economist.)
So just to compare: Watergate involved the cover-up of a criminal enterprise directed from the Oval Office. “Carbongate” involves the EPA ignoring a scientific study by a non-scientist that it never commissioned and which hasn’t been published in any scientific journal. There may be better comparisons.