Rick Piltz

Rick Piltz was best known for blowing the whistle on the George W. Bush White House over political interference in federal climate change science programs. As a senior associate for the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) for ten years, in 2005 he sought whistleblower protection representation from Government Accountability Project and provided hard evidence to the New York Times of improper editing of federal climate science reports by a high-ranking White House official. Under direction from President Bush and Vice President Cheney, Philip Cooney – a former lobbyist with the American Petroleum Institute on the White House Council on Environmental Quality – was caught attempting to downplay the dangers of known climate change impacts in official scientific reports. Piltz resigned in protest and established a new watchdog operation within our organization, Climate Science Watch, with the mission of holding public officials accountable for using climate science with integrity in policy making. Until he passed away in late 2014 Piltz directed CSW, testified several times before Congress, and developed a strong media presence and public platform from which he underscored the critical importance of defending scientific integrity in the face of climate denial influences. His act of courageous whistleblowing is featured in the award-winning documentary film, Everything’s Cool. Piltz won the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling in 2006.