A government watchdog group, Protect the Public’s Trust (PPT), lodged an ethics complaint against John Kerry, the Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, alleging that he disseminated false information about climate change.
PPT claims that Kerry violated the federal scientific integrity policy, which mandates officials to accurately communicate scientific information based on the best available evidence.
The complaint was submitted to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the State Department’s Office of Inspector General, urging a federal investigation into Kerry’s statements.
During a speech at the Department of Agriculture’s AIM for Climate Summit in May, Kerry claimed that 15 million people worldwide die annually due to greenhouse gas emissions.
He further added that an additional 10 million people die each year due to extreme heat. However, PPT argues that Kerry’s figures significantly overstate the death toll linked to greenhouse gas emissions. Citing data from Lancet Countdown, Climate Vulnerable Forum, and a study by Harvard University, the complaint asserts that the estimated number of deaths related to climate change is considerably lower.
PPT contends that Kerry failed to provide any scientific evidence to support his claim and highlights that no existing research supports the assertion that 15 million people die each year due to greenhouse gas emissions.
The complaint asserts that such a blatant misstatement of scientific information poses a threat to public trust and good governance, particularly when it is used to support policy changes that have significant economic and societal implications.
The watchdog group argues that Kerry’s conduct undermines public trust in scientific and governing institutions, reducing science to a political tool.
The complaint refers to President Biden’s memo on scientific trust, the OSTP’s Framework for Federal Scientific Integrity Policy, and the State Department’s scientific integrity policy as mandates that require officials like Kerry to accurately communicate scientific information to the public.
These policies emphasize evidence-based decision-making, scientific accuracy in communication, and adherence to well-established scientific processes.
The ethics complaint filed by PPT raises concerns about the veracity of Kerry’s claims regarding climate change deaths and calls for an investigation to ensure accurate and responsible communication of scientific information to the public.