Bush climate change programs fuel dispute


The White House says it will turn over a 50-page budget-related report on climate change to Congress, but only after House Democrats demanded a full accounting.

Rep. George Miller of California and 35 other Democrats had told White House budget director Mitch Daniels he must turn over any budget and planning documents related to the Bush administration’s policies on global warming.

Bush spokesman Scott McLellan said the Office of Management and Budget would “in the very near future” honor that obligation.

“OMB is already in the final stages of pulling together all the information and it will be on its way to Congress in short order,” he said late Wednesday.

Democrats had sent a letter earlier Wednesday to Daniels saying that as part of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act, President George W. Bush’s budget-writing staff is obliged to provide a “detailed account of all federal agency obligations and expenditures for climate change programs and activities,” along with plans for programs that might mean changes in the budget.

Their effort is similar to the pressure being brought to bear on Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force by congressional investigators and Democrats who also want those records.

President Bush’s decision not to regulate carbon dioxide pollution and his rejection of a 1997 climate treaty has thrust onto center stage the issue of climate change and human factors such as the burning of fossil fuels that many scientists agree contributes to global warming.

Cheney also sits on a separate climate change group that Bush assembled to review the science behind the phenomenon and to issue a set of recommendations for which there is no public timetable.

The Cabinet-level review came in March, about two weeks after Bush reversed his campaign promise to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.

The National Academy of Sciences reported to the White House this month, concluding the Earth’s temperature is rising, mainly because of human activities, and saying dire climate changes could occur this century.

While Cheney has called for public debate about the intermingled energy and climate issues, congressional Democrats complained they are being kept in the dark. They said the Bush administration’s budget related report is “overdue and should have been submitted” with its budget proposal.