Posted by: JohnnyRook | July 10, 2008

Censoring science: a few not-so-random quotes

On April 9, 2008 Howard Frumkin of the Center for Disease Control submitted the uncensored testimony to Congress of CDC Director Dr. Jule Gerberding on the consequences for human health of continued global warming. Dr. Gerberding’s original testimony was censored by the Bush Administration when she originally tried to give it in October 2007.

Yesterday, on his blog, Climate Progress, Joe Romm reprinted in full an excellent report by the Center for American Progress Action Fund detailing the relationship between the censorship of Dr. Gerberding and the White House’s refusal to accept the EPA email on regulating greenhouse gases. The common element: Dick Cheney and opposition to the Clean Air Act. I highly recommend you check out his post.

For this diary let’s focus on what the White House and other more objective sources have told us recently about the censorship of science, particularly science relating to Climaticide.

Regarding the censoring of Dr. Julie Gerberding.

[All emphases are mine]

Dana Perino said:

…there are public health benefits to climate change…

MS. PERINO: Sure. In some cases, there are — look, this is an issue where I’m sure lots of people would love to ridicule me when I say this, but it is true that many people die from cold-related deaths every winter. And there are studies that say that climate change in certain areas of the world would help those individuals. There are also concerns that it would increase tropical diseases and that’s — again, I’m not an expert in that, I’m going to let Julie Gerberding testify in regards to that, but there are many studies about this that you can look into.

New Scientist said:

The increase in extremely hot summers predicted by climate change models will lead to a higher death toll that will not be offset by fewer deaths during warmer winters, say researchers.

“The increase in mortality when you have one extra cold snap is 1.59%, but the increase in mortality for an additional heatwave is 5.74%,” explains Mercedes Medina-Ramón of Harvard University’s School of Public Health in Massachusetts, US.

The Center for Disease Control said:

It was eviscerated,” said a CDC official, familiar with both versions [of Dr. Gerberding’s report], 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.

[You can see PDF’s of Dr. Gerberding’s testimony before and after censorship here.]

Dana Perino said:

CDC’s specific responsibility is on public health, and [Dr. Gerberding] testified about that yesterday. And one of the things that she told us this morning, late morning, is that she, at the Atlanta Press Club, is going to reiterate that she in no way felt inhibited or hindered by what she was going to say. But when you take a very complicated issue, like climate change science, and you have the International Panel on Climate Change, which reported last spring — this is a study that the United States largely funded, and that we embraced in its conclusions — as I understand it, in the draft there was broad characterizations about climate change science that didn’t align with the IPCC.

Former EPA Deputy Associate Administrator, Jason Burnett(PDF) said:

In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), former EPA deputy associate administrator Jason K. Burnett said an official from Cheney’s office ordered last October that six pages be edited out of the testimony of Julie L. Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gerberding had planned to say that the “CDC considers climate change a serious public health concern.”

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Office of the Vice President (OVP) were seeking deletions to the CDC testimony,” Burnett, 31, a Stanford-trained economist and a Democrat, wrote in response to an inquiry from Boxer’s committee. “CEQ requested that I work with CDC to remove from the testimony any discussion of the human health consequences of climate change.”

I have recently resigned from my position at EPA having reached the conclusion that no more constructive work responding to the Supreme Court could be accomplished under this administration.

Senator Barbara Boxer said:

At the news conference, Mrs. Boxer strongly chided Dana M. Perino, the White House press secretary, for asserting last year that the changes in testimony were justified because the statements did not comport with the influential review of climate risks by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “This was a lie,” Mrs. Boxer said.

[For a powerful statement from Senator Boxer on the relationship between the stonewalling of the EPA email and the censorship of Dr. Gerberding’s testimony click here.]

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Office said:

A new report presented to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project shows 435 instances in which the Bush administration interfered into the global warming work of government scientists over the past five years.

[Crossposted at Daily Kos]



  1. Well researched post. I think everyone is aware the EPA has been remodeled and handed over to the people from whom it’s supposed to protect the environment; it’s frightening to think the CDC is now undergoing the same censorship and retooling.

  2. It’s all part of the Bush administration’s efforts to keep from enforcing the Clean Air Act for as long as possible. As we all know, if they don’t like a law, be it on torture, domestic spying, or the environment, they just ignore it. This country will not be a nation of laws until they are out of power.

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