Scientists Denounce Global Warming Report 'Edits'

Public health experts say White House censors science with "edited" CDC report.

ByABC News
October 25, 2007, 12:19 PM

Oct. 25, 2007 — -- Environmental and public health experts overwhelmingly denounced editing by the White House of a federal health agency head's testimony to Congress Tuesday. Significant deletions were made from the testimony, concerning global warming and the potential impact on human health.

The original, unedited testimony presented to Congress by Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and obtained by ABC News was 14 pages long, but the White House Office of Management and Budget edited the final version down to a mere six pages.

Scientists and public health organizations called the move "frustrating," "terrible" and "appalling." The edits essentially deleted all sections that referred to climate change as a public health concern -- including the risks of increased food-borne and waterborne diseases, worsening extreme weather events, worsening air pollution and the effect of heat stress on humans.

"Dr. Gerberding is the lead of the premiere public health agency in the U.S.," said Kim Knowlton, a science fellow on global warming and health at the National Resources Defense Council in New York. "It's shocking that she was not allowed to say in a public discussion some of these vital details.

"One has to wonder why was this is so threatening to the White House."

In response to the controversy that followed, White House press secretary Dana Perino stated that the White House Office of Management and Budget redacted the majority of the information on the basis that the science in the testimony did not match the science reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

However, a review of the latest report on climate change issued by the IPCC -- the organization that shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore two weeks ago for efforts to educate the public about climate change -- shows that it contains an entire chapter about the human health impacts.

The IPCC report describes in detail how climate change would lead to effects such as heat waves, cold spells, extreme weather events and weather disasters, air pollution, increased infectious diseases, and increased waterborne and vector-borne infectious diseases.