The White House is being accused anew this week of improperly interfering with the dissemination of information on climate change. Critics allege that officials at the White House Office of Management and Budget significantly edited the prepared testimony that CDC head Julie Gerberding gave to a congressional panel concerning the impacts of climate change on disease and public health. The length of Gerberding’s prepared testimony was cut in half and, post-edit, focused almost entirely on the CDC’s preparations for a warming world. Largely left out of the edited testimony, but present in the draft given to OMB, were details on climate change’s likely impact on the spread of disease, including details on increased air pollution in areas experiencing drought, the impacts of extreme weather, and the effect of heat waves on vulnerable populations. “The public health effects of climate change remain largely unaddressed. CDC considers climate change a serious public-health concern,” the draft said pre-editing. “Climate-change-driven ecological changes such as variations in rainfall and temperature could significantly alter the range, seasonality, and human incident of many zoonotic and vector-borne diseases.” The draft also declared that while developing nations would indeed be hit hardest, “many Americans will likely experience difficult challenges.” The White House denies it watered down the testimony.
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