San Francisco Environmentalists sued the Bush administration Tuesday for failing to produce a report on global warming's impact on the country's environment, economy and public health.
The plaintiffs claim the government must complete such a report every four years under the Global Change Research Act of 1990. The plaintiffs say the last report was due in November 2004.
The lawsuit seeks to compel the U.S. Climate Change Science Program to issue the national assessment, which should contain the most recent scientific data on global warming and projections for its future impacts.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, which was named in the lawsuit, had not received the complaint Tuesday and could not comment on it, said spokesman Ben Fallon.
But Fallon defended the administration's record on combating global warming, pointing to increased funding for alternative energy research, for example.
Officials at the Climate Change Science Program, also named in the complaint, did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment.
The lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco by the Center for Biological Diversity, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.
The assessment is the "first step in crafting solutions to the devastating consequences of climate change if we don't act now," said Julie Teel, an attorney for the plaintiffs.
Environmentalists have accused the administration of trying to suppress dissemination of the previous assessment, issued in 2000, which predicted a dramatic rise in catastrophic storms, floods, droughts and heat-related deaths.