The United States' Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) circumvented a more robust review process when it produced a key scientific document underpinning its decision to regulate climate-changing pollution, according to an internal government watchdog.
The EPA's Inpsector General (IG) has found that the scientific assessment behind the Agency's report that greenhouse gases are dangerous did not go through sufficient peer review for a document of its importance.
According to the IG's report, the EPA failed to follow the Office of Management and Budget's peer review procedures for a highly influential scientific assessment, which is defined as an assessment that could have an impact of more than $500 million in one year and is novel, controversial, or precedent setting.
Nothing in the report challenges the overwhelming scientific consensus around the causes of global warming. Environmentalists and climate scientists today said that the IG had missed the point completely; that the technical support document was not a new scientific assessment with new findings deserving of extra layers of review but a summary of the established scientific findings that have already been thoroughly vetted.
The key difference here was that they didn't create new science, said Francesca Grifo, a scientist who heads the Scientific Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.