From the New York Times (reg.req.):
White House Cuts to Climate Testimony Raise Questions
An example of one of the changes made to Julie L. Gerberding’s testimony. Source: NYT.
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: October 25, 2007
The White House made deep cuts in written testimony given to a Senate committee this week by the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on health risks posed by global warming, but she agreed today with administration officials who said that the cuts were part of a normal review process and not aimed at minimizing the issue.
The director, Julie L. Gerberding, said in a telephone interview that news reports and comments about the changes had made “a mountain out of a molehill.”
“I said everything I needed to say,” she said.
Dr. Gerberding, who addressed the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee on Tuesday, said she has freely spoken for more than a year about the implications for public health should warming from the buildup of greenhouse gases proceed as scientists project. Still, cuts made to her written testimony included the only statements casting the health risks from climate change as a problem, describing it variously as posing “difficult challenges” and as “a serious public health concern.”
The testimony that remained said: “Climate change is anticipated to have a broad range of impacts on the health of Americans and the nation’s public health infrastructure.” But a line saying “the public health effects of climate change remain largely unaddressed” was gone and the testimony focused on many ways that health agencies were already prepared to tackle any problems.
The changes were first reported on Tuesday by the Associated Press and the draft testimony, the authenticity of which was not challenged by Bush administration, was disseminated to reporters and posted online Wednesday by several private groups, including climatesciencewatch.org.
This shift in tone prompted criticisms of the administration by some Democratic elected officials, including Senator Barbara Boxer, the chairwoman of the committee and the organizer of the hearing.
The cuts, done by the Office of Management and Budget last week, halved the 12-page draft testimony submitted by Dr. Gerberding prior to her testimony before the committee.
I’ve been involved in interagency reviews. Reductions in length of 50% strike me as anomalous. And in this context, emblematic.
So I stand corrected. I had remarked back in January that knowledge-based policymaking (and along the way scientific expertise) might be gaining greater prominence. Clearly, I was wrong.
Instead, this graphic appears to accurately depict the method of decisionmaking currently employed.
Technorati Tags: href=”http://www.technorati.com/tags/science”>science, href=”http://www.technorati.com/tags/global+climate+change”>global climate change,
Office of Management and Budget, Centers for Disease Control.