Former Vice President Al Gore and public health experts will hold a climate change and health meeting in mid-February as a replacement for a similar conference recently canceled by the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDC event was scrapped after President Donald Trump’s election in an apparent act of self-censorship. The Trump administration has moved quickly to scrub climate-related content from federal websites and limit communications between scientific agencies and the public.
Health experts have joined in the chorus of those alarmed by Trump’s early actions.
“Climate change is already affecting our health,” Georges Benjamin, executive director of American Public Health Association (AHPA), said in a press release about the reinstated health conference. “This meeting fills an important void and will strengthen the public health response to this growing threat.”
The APHA is one of the organizers of the new conference, which will take place at the Carter Center in Atlanta on Feb. 16. The event will be shorter than the original three-day summit. Other organizers include Gore, the Climate Reality Project (an advocacy group founded by Gore), the Harvard Global Health Institute, the University of Washington Center for Health and the Global Environment and Howard Frumkin, who directed the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health from 2005-10.
Frumkin told InsideClimate News on Monday that the CDC summit was “very significant.” It was scheduled to bring together experts from disparate fields, including hospital representatives, emergency responders, state, local and federal officials, to discuss climate-related health threats such as more frequent heat waves and the spread of infectious diseases like Zika.