Over the past several decades, environmental issues have become a steadily more significant part of political discourse in the United States and around the world. Since the 1990s, politicians, journalists, and the public have focused increasingly on global climate change, the possibility that human activities are creating significant increases in planetary temperatures. Throughout these debates, the comments of technical experts have played an important part. However, the debate has had an important political dimension, with policymakers either seeking out scientific voices in support of their policies or discounting scientific opinion that failed to support them.

The Obama administration has taken global climate change as a given and has enlisted scientific expertise in developing its policies to combat global warming, a sharp contrast from Republican efforts during the George W. Bush presidency to undermine prevailing theories of climate change (Broder, 2009; Broder & Wald, 2009; Clayton, 2007;...

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