The warming of the planet is the overriding environmental issue of our time , with former vice-president Al Gore playing a crucial role in raising public awareness. Although the appetite for decisive action is growing – except at the White House – the U.S. is still a long way from a comprehensive response to the challenge. Several Democratic hopefuls in this year’s presidential campaign are stepping up to the plate, but most Republicans are still dithering.
“The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming.”
For a while now, major corporations have been pushing for mandatory greenhouse gas emission caps from the US government.
Big business understands the inevitability of having to deal with the global warming issue and the sooner they can see a strong economic signal from government, the sooner they can get on with tackling the issue on a level playing field.
A United Nations report, native leaders, wildlife officials and the David Suzuki Foundation have all taken issue with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s maneuver last weekend blocking agreement on binding greenhouse emissions targets. Pressure is mounting for Harper to atone when negotiations on a successor to Kyoto convene next month in Bali.
A key question is, how can we best champion nature and the environment when both are changing due to global warming, and when we lack—or, worse, when our government denies us—adequate information about the nature of those changes and how to cope with them?
How do we prepare ourselves for a changing climate, community by community, region by region? How should San Diegans get ready for global warming, and how does that differ from how Floridians or Kansans should respond?
These were not minor edits the White House PR spin machine would like us to believe. The word-count on the CDC Director's Senate testimony went from 3,107 to 1,500 after the White House got through with it.
Whole sections on health related effects to extreme weather, air pollution-related health effect, allergic diseases, water and food-borne infectious diseases, food and water scarcity and the long term impacts of chronic diseases and other health effects were completely wiped out of the testimony.
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.”
Today, scientists are publicly denouncing the White House for the “censoring of science,” after it was uncovered earlier this week that significant edits were made to testimony prepared for a Senate hearing on the impact of climate change on health.
“Dr. Gerberding is the lead of the premiere public health agency in the U.S.,” said Kim Knowlton, a science fellow on global warming and health at the National Resources Defense Council in New York. “It's shocking that she was not allowed to say in a public discussion some of these vital details.
“One has to wonder why was this is so threatening to the White House.”
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.