Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Republican War on Science Continues

The White House severely edited congressional testimony given Tuesday by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the impact of climate change on health, removing specific scientific references to potential health risks, according to two sources familiar with the documents.

Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Atlanta-based CDC, the government's premier disease monitoring agency, told a Senate hearing that climate change "is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans."

But her prepared testimony was devoted almost entirely to the CDC's preparation, with few details on what effects climate change could have on the spread of disease. Only during questioning did she describe some specific diseases that likely would be affected, again without elaboration.

Her testimony before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee had much less information on health risks than a much longer draft version Gerberding submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review in advance of her appearance.

"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.
This is just the latest in a string of situations in which the Bush administration has edited scientific reports or put pressure on scientists about global warming. Of course, this kind of censorship just leans more credence to the idea behind global warming and the vast effects of climate change are much more certain than the administration wants people to believe.


Xanthippas said...

If the evidence against global warming were strong enough, they wouldn't need to do this. As you say, editing the data only makes it clearer that global warming is in fact a real phenomenon that we are contributing to.

Anonymous said...

Whoa, boys. Gerberding herself says the WH did not force her to change her statements. And, let's face it, she is a physician, not a climatologist. Her opinion assumes that the popular but unproven notion that global climate change is a reality. Those who are making a big deal of the edits are delivering a big load on all of us.

Xanthippas said...

It's irrelevant that Geberding said what she intended to say, or that she's a physician. The White House changed the advance document in an effort to avoid having the subject of global warming's effect on specific diseases brought up in the first place.

Also, the fact that she's a physician does not impugn her testimony, as she's being asked to assume that global warming exists.

The reason this is a story, and the reason it's on this blog, is that once again the White House has demonstrated a willingness to edit or control matters of scientific fact or possibility that do not suit their ideological agenda. They do this in regards to all science that is inconvenient, and global warming is only one example.

Nat-Wu said...

"The popular but unproven notion that global climate change is a reality."

There are people who are going to be using phrases like that until the ocean is lapping at their door in Cincinnati. You don't have to believe it, but when the only real dissent is from people with a political agenda, I think I'll take the scientists over the politicians.

Xanthippas said...

...when the only real dissent is from people with a political agenda, I think I'll take the scientists over the politicians.

Hear hear.