Today, Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on the “Human Impacts of Global Warming.” Gerberding told the committee that global warming “is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans,” but gave few specifics, instead focusing on CDC’s current preparation plans. From her statement:
An effective public health response to climate change can prevent injuries, illnesses, and death and enhance overall public health preparedness. Protecting Americans from adverse health effects of climate change directly correlates to CDC’s four overarching Health Protection Goals of Healthy People in Every Stage of Life, Healthy People in Healthy Places, People Prepared for Emerging Health Threats, and Healthy People in a Healthy World.
While we still need more focus and emphasis on public health preparedness for climate change, many of our existing programs and scientific expertise provide a solid foundation to move forward.
CDC officials are now revealing that the White House heavily edited Gerberding’s testimony, which originally was longer and had more “information on health risks“:
“It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the review process.
The official said that while it is customary for testimony to be changed in a White House review, these changes were particularly “heavy-handed,” with the document cut from its original 14 pages to four. It was six pages as presented to the Senate committee.
The White House’s deletions included “details on how many people might be adversely affected because of increased warming and the scientific basis for some of the CDC’s analysis on what kinds of diseases might be spread in a warmer climate and rising sea levels.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today put out a statement, stating, “The Administration should immediately release Dr. Gerberding’s full, uncut statement, because the public has a right to know all the facts about the serious threats posed by global warming.”
The Bush administration has not only repeatedly attempted to suppress global warming facts, but has also muzzled its officials from speaking out. A January report found 435 instances in which the Bush administration interfered into the global warming work of government scientists over the past five years. The administration also attempted to censor the government’s top global warming scientist, James Hansen, who has been outspoken about the dangers of climate change.