CDC Axes Long-Awaited Climate Change and Health Summit

CDC Axes Long-Awaited Climate Change and Health Summit
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Just days before President Trump’s inauguration, the CDC axed a major climate change conference that had been scheduled for next month in Atlanta. [1]

The long-awaited Climate and Health Summit was intended to give public health officials around the country more information about the risks to human health posed by climate change. But on January 9, the summit was abruptly canceled by CDC officials, who sent a brusque e-mail to the summit’s scheduled speakers, offering no explanation for the decision. The CDC said it was looking into whether it could reschedule the event later this year.

A CDC employee said the climate conference agenda might be included in a second summit hosted by the American Public Health Association, another CDC partner on the canceled event, in November.

Bernadette Burden, a CDC spokeswoman, said in a statement:

“We are exploring options to reschedule the meeting while considering budget priorities for fiscal year 2017, including the current continuing resolution, and potential overlap with an APHA conference on the same topic also being held later in 2017.” [2]

Former CDC directors were not surprised by the decision, however, saying the agency has a history of shying away from contentious political issues. Howard Frumkin, former director of the CDC Center for Environmental Health and a professor at environmental health at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health, said:

“Climate change has been that issue historically.”

President Trump has called climate change a “hoax” invented by China to make U.S. manufacturing less competitive. His chief of staff, Reince Preibus, says the President still believes the science behind global warming is “a bunch of bunk.”

Source: ABC 6 Philadelphia

Trump’s environmental nominees have not called climate change a hoax, and have all acknowledged that the climate is changing and that man plays a role. However, they say there is still debate over how much humans play a role in climate change, and on how to stop it. [3]

Hours after being sworn in on January 20, the White House website pulled the Obama administration’s promises to battle climate change and in a 361-word statement, vowed to dismantle “harmful and unnecessary” environmental policies.

The executive director of the American Public Health Association, George Benjamin, said:

“I’m very much concerned about the precedent and very concerned about how (the Trump administration will) handle climate change going forward.

The truth of the matter is we can pretend like climate change is not here, but … it’s a big issue. So we can put a name to it and try to fix it, or we cannot put a name to it, but we’re going to have to fix it anyway. The truth of the matter is we can pretend like climate change is not here, but … it’s a big issue. So we can put a name to it and try to fix it, or we cannot put a name to it, but we’re going to have to fix it anyway.”

Sources:

[1] The Washington Post

[2] The Huffington Post

[3] CNN

ABC 6 Philadelphia