Scientists Respond to CDC Climate Summit Cancellation

An agency-sponsored meeting, which is now postponed indefinitely, was intended to highlight the ways in which global warming poses threats to public health.

By Joshua A. Krisch | January 25, 2017

CDC GLOBALThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has canceled a climate change summit that had been planned for February 2017, E&E News reported this week (January 23). The conference would have focused on the well-established connection between climate change and public health, providing attendees with strategies on how to mitigate its effects.  

Scientists immediately expressed worry about the decision. “I’m concerned this is an act of self-sabotage on the part of the CDC,” Ed Maibach, director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication, told E&E News. “The larger specter is that it will set the tone for self-silencing from the people at the top.”

The CDC confirmed the decision to cancel the summit, the Associated Press reported, but offered no explanation. In a statement sent to those registered for the conference and obtained by the AP, the agency noted that the event may be rescheduled.

Some scientists wondered whether the CDC had much choice in the matter. “They ran it up the flagpole and realized that it was so close to the inauguration, the chances of it being canceled were pretty real with the administration that was coming in,” Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, who was scheduled to speak at the summit, told The Washington Post. (President Donald Trump has previously called climate change “a hoax.”)

For scientists concerned about the incoming administration’s position on climate science, the CDC’s abrupt cancellation of its highly anticipated summit was a red flag. This is “what self-censorship looks like,” tweeted neurosurgeon and writer Atul Gawande. “And the sad truth is [government] scientists now must pick their battles to discuss data.”

Brian William Jones, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah, agreed. “Science in America is already on the defensive,” he tweeted.

While Maibach told The Washington Post that he understands why the CDC may have felt the need to cancel, he maintains that the act could set a dangerous precedent of bowing to political pressure. “As the nation’s public health agency, we need CDC to be fully engaged in protecting our health from climate change,” Maibach told The Verge. “Politics is politics, but protecting the health of our citizens is one of our government's most important obligations to us.”

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Avatar of: James V. Kohl

James V. Kohl

Posts: 525

January 26, 2017

If the climate "scientists" had linked energy-dependent thermodynamic cycles of protein biosynthesis and degradation from the potential of hydrogen (pH) to all biophysically constrained biodiversity via the physiology of reproduction, they might still have a case to be made.

Instead, the failure to link natural selection for energy-dependent codon optimaility to endogenous RNA interferance and cell type stability has left a gap between the National Microbiome Initiative and the Precision Medicine Initiative. Filling that gap with experimental evidence of biologically-based cause and effect will no doubt come first. The CDC will be tasked with preventing the viral apocalypse (much worse the 1918 Spanish flu.)

After the neo-Darwinian nonsense about mutation-driven evolution is eliminated, climate change can be discussed in the context of ecological variation and energy-dependent ecological adaptation to virus-driven energy theft, which appears to be the cause of all pathology.

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