The Face of Courage

Rick Piltz, the man who blew the whistle on the George W. Bush administration’s vicious assault on climate science, has passed away.

From Climate Science Watch:

From 1995-2005 he held senior positions in the Coordination Office of the U.S. Global Change Research Program. In the spring of 2005, Rick resigned from his position to protest the Bush Administration’s political interference with climate change communication. His whistleblower documentation of politically motivated White House editing and censorship of climate science program reports intended for the public and Congress received front-page coverage in the New York Times and was widely reported in the media. Rick testified before both the House of Representatives and the Senate at hearings on political interference with federal climate scientists.

Piltz was, of course, brutalized by the climate-change denial industry for his bold decision to reveal the full extent of the Bush administration’s malevolence on this issue: the late wingnut columnist Robert Novak was particularly savage in his attacks.

Piltz refused to bow down to the forces of denial. After leaving the Bush White House, he continued to speak and write and fight for strong action to reduce carbon pollution, and demanded that members of both parties be held accountable for failing to take all appropriate and necessary action to limit dangerous emissions.

Rick Piltz may be gone, but his fight continues. We will fight in his name, and we will make sure that his name is remembered as a hero in the fight for climate justice.

In June 2012, my Progressive Radio Network colleague Betsy Rosenberg and I were honored to interview Piltz; she previously interviewed him in January 2007.

Below, a 2013 interview with Piltz, and a 2005 Piltz appearance on Air America Radio’s The Al Franken Show. More interviews with Piltz can be found here.

UPDATE: From 2005, Brad Friedman interviews Rick Piltz. Part 1 and Part 2.

SECOND UPDATE: Rick Piltz speaks at 350.org’s October 10, 2010 Global Work Party in Washington, DC. He is introduced by Roger Shamel of the Global Warming Education Network.

THIRD UPDATE: More thoughts on the passing of Rick Piltz. Plus, more from Climate Science Watch.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.