05 June 2007

OA vs. Political and Selective Use of Data

Here's a great - and sadly necessary - piece of analysis:

Throughout the first half of 2007, the White House has falsely claimed that the United States is doing better than Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This claim was officially made by the White House on February 7 and has been repeated in various forms by White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton, and Science Advisor to the President John Marburger, most recently on May 31, 2007.1 The White House is misusing science and data to make this claim, as the Pacific Institute first pointed out on March 8.2 The White House can only back up this claim by looking at a single greenhouse gas over a narrow timeline. Looking at the full range of gases over a longer period, the conclusion reverses completely: the European Union is curbing greenhouse gas emissions more aggressively and successfully than the United States.

And why can they say that? Because of open access to data: the antidote to the political and selective use of data is more data. It's no coincidence that the source of much of that data in the US, the EPA, is effectively being dismantled, and its hitherto open data made effectively inaccessible so that it can't be used in precisely this way. (Via Slashdot.)

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