Interview with Michael Sununu: "I'm not claiming to be a climate scientist"

In an interview with DeSmog, Michael Sununu says his report published by the Bartlett Center was written to raise questions about the New Hampshire Coastal Risk and Hazard Commission’s (NHCRHC) work, which outlines threats to the state’s coastal communities from climate change-related sea level rise, storm surge, and extreme precipitation.

My aim was to provide decision makers with all relevant data so that they are better informed as they make decisions based upon the NHCRHC’s report,” he told DeSmog’s Itai Vardi

What follows are highlights from this interview. DeSmog’s questions are in bold and Sununu’s answers follow in quotes.

Have you talked to your brother, Governor Chris Sununu, about your report? What do you expect him to do with it?

I haven’t specifically talked to Chris about the report, but heard from his staff that they are reviewing it. The report was not aimed directly at any one particular person or called for any specific action, but was mainly aimed at putting the NHCRHC report into proper context.”

Do you have any training or other background in climate science?

I’m not claiming to be a climate scientist, but I have studied and written about the topic of climate change for the past 15 years. Throughout the years, I’ve written several op-eds published in local New Hampshire newspapers. I also gave a talk on climate change to the state’s Business and Industry Association.” 

Did the Bartlett Center solicit or fund your report?

No, it was completely my initiative. I wrote the report after the NHCRHC’s report came out, and approached the Bartlett Center to interest them in publishing it. They did not pay me anything for it.”

Doesn’t the Bartlett Center’s previous funding from Koch related entities point to possible biases?

I am unaware that the Center received any Koch money and I believe that in the past the Center denied ever receiving money from the Kochs.”

And what about your own representation of clients in the energy and utility sectors?

None of my clients have any interests in the findings of my report. The entities that I represent are not influenced by it.”

Read more about Michael Sununu, his report, and his unique position as a climate science denier with a brother, Chris Sununu, now governor of New Hampshire.

Interview with Michael Sununu: "I'm not claiming to be a climate scientist"
Ashley is Senior Editor of DeSmog. She is also a freelance science and environmental journalist, and a contributing science writer for Natural History Magazine. Her work has appeared in publications such as The Atlantic, Slate, Science, Scientific American, Discover Magazine, Hakai Magazine, and Medium.