Monday, December 24, 2007

From the editorial in this week's Science

Donald Kennedy editorializes in this week's Science:
But on the breakdown side, continual denial by the Bush Administration added to its long history of failing to mitigate the emission of greenhouse gases.

A specimen case of the Administration's reluctance to acknowledge climate change was added just recently when Julie Gerberding, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was asked to present congressional testimony on the potential impacts of climate change on public health. It is surely no secret that heat spells are a health hazard, or that drought and excess rainfall can influence human susceptibility to pathogen-borne disease--just the kind of thing Congress wanted to know. Gerberding's testimony was reviewed at the White House and soon made to disappear: Virtually all of what she said about climate change--six pages of it--was blacked out of the document filed with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (see
). There's an odd behind-the-scenes story here, involving two offices that report to the president. The Office of Science and Technology Policy raised questions about particular statements and made suggestions, but then the Office of Management and Budget, apparently unwilling to work on the suggestions, simply eliminated every section about which questions had been raised. It's worth a look just to understand what these people don't want you to know.

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