Thank you. Mr. President, I come to the floor today to talk about the scientific truth. Once again the administration has kept all the facts from getting to the American people. On Tuesday, the director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Julie Gerberding testified before the Environment and Public Works Committee on the health impacts of global warming. The purpose of this hearing was to get all the facts about the health threats global warming poses to our communities and our families. I would like to thank Senator Boxer for her leadership on that committee, and for her leadership on climate change.
I am proud to be a member of the Environment and Public Works Committee and we're doing some very good work in the climate change area. We actually have some legislation that we are considering in the next few weeks that I believe is good. I went to Greenland this summer and saw firsthand the water coming off these humongous icebergs like spigots. And it is the canary in the coal mine for climate change. So there was a hearing this week, and, unfortunately, the director's initial testimony was not the testimony that was presented to the committee, because her initial testimony did present the facts. As the Center for Disease Control's director she appears, if you look at her initial testimony, to have taken seriously the Center for Disease Control's mission which pledges to, "base all public health decisions on the highest-quality scientific data openly and objectively derived." But the testimony she gave at the committee fell short of that pledge. Because, as has been reported in the press, the administration eliminated much of her testimony. And I have a copy of the testimony here, the redacted testimony. And I ask that it be entered into the report.
I will say for anyone who looks at it, it is about six or seven pages long. It is the latest incident in what has been the pattern of this administration in attempting to suppress science. Specifically, this administration deleted her testimony on the Center for Disease Control's views on several health impacts of global warming, including explanations and descriptions of the links to heat stroke, weather disasters, worsening air pollutions and allergies, food and water-borne infectious diseases, mosquito and tick-borne infectious diseases, food and water scarcity, mental health problems and even chronic disease.
The Center for Disease Control is an important agency that the American people trust to protect their health and safety and provide reliable health information. Mr. President, let me reiterate one of the central tenets of the Center for Disease Control's mission. To base all public health decisions on the highest-quality scientific data openly and objectively derived. Dr. Gerberding's original testimony included the following statement. It said "the United States is expected to see an increase in the severity, duration and frequency of extreme heat waves, this coupled with an aging population increases the likelihood of higher mortality as the elderly are more vulnerable to dying from exposure from excessive heat." The president's spokesperson claims that they edited the C.D.C. director's testimony because, "There were broad characterizations about climate change science that didn't align with the U.N. intergovernmental panel on climate change report." And what did the intergovernmental panel on climate change report state about the prospects of heat waves?
It is important to remember that the IPCC is a very cautious group of scientists with a very conservative process from meticulously reviewing the evidence and reaching their conclusions through consensus. The reports are produced by some 600 authors from 40 countries. Over 620 expert reviewers and a large number of government reviewers also participated. Well, the IPCC stated, and this is the IPCC talking, "severe heat waves will intensify in magnitude and duration over portions of the U.S. where they already occur" and, “local factors such as the proportion of elderly people are important in determining the underlying temperature mortality rate in a population." I ask you, Mr. President, how does this align? How does eliminating this from the nation's leading public health official benefit Americans?
Let me cite another example that was deleted from her testimony. Dr. Gerberding's original testimony stated, "The west coast of the United States is expected to experience significant strains on water supplies as regional precipitation declines and mountain snow packs are depleted. Forest fires are expected to increase in frequency, severity, distribution, and duration." So as the wildfires rage out west, the President, his administration, is censoring testimony in the east. Global warming does not cause these fires, but they certainly intensify the three main causes of wildfires: high temperatures, summer dryness, and long-term drought. Southern California has experienced all three and is now suffering the consequences. And we're going to go back to what the President's spokesperson said yesterday when asked about this. She said they had to look at this testimony and make sure that it was consistent with what the IPCC had said. And in fact that was the reason she gave for why they had censored it.
Let's see what the IPCC said about forest fires. They said: the IPCC in their fourth assessment report found warm spells and heat waves will very likely increase the danger of wildfire. So that's what they said, the IPCC, that it would increase the danger of wildfire. And then you have the head health official for our government of the Center for Disease Control and her original testimony saying it would increase the danger for forest fires. Pretty similar. And so as these fires are raging in southern California and as we're seeing all across the country record high temperatures, record summer dryness on long-term drought, the administration chose to redact, to delete portions of a testimony of their director of disease control which in fact predicted that this would happen.
We've not just seen large forest fires in California this year. We saw them in northern Minnesota. I was there shortly after these fryers in the Hamlick area in northern Minnesota devastated areas, burned down homes, went way up to Canada. I was meeting up there with resort owners, with residents and we were talking about disaster relief, whether they were going to get their phone lines, we were talking about the effects of their business up there. You know what some of them wanted to talk about in the midst of this disaster and burned trees? They wanted to talk about climate change. They had seen what was happening: 30% reduction in profit at ski resorts, forest fires raging. They knew something was wrong. Yet the administration is deleting the scientific predictions that is saying exactly this will happen.
This is not the time for this administration to be censoring information. It is the time instead to look seriously at the health and other impacts of global warming and to take the steps we need to address them. I'm proud to be part of a committee under Senator Boxer's leadership that is no longer talking about whether or not climate change exists but talking about how to solve it. We will continue to investigate the reasons that this was deleted. We'll continue to request and get to the bottom of the truth. But the main thing that I'd like to say today and to say to my colleagues is that the American people know that something is wrong here. They want us to solve it. You can't hide the facts anymore. You can't bury them as forest fires are raging and sea levels are rising, and temperatures are rising. You can't bury the facts. You just have to get to the solutions.
Thank you, Mr. President. And I yield the floor.