Monday, August 07, 2017

USDA has begun censoring use of the term 'climate change', emails reveal

I have been calling it "climate disruption". The way things are going, "climate disaster" feels more accurate. It is hard to fathom the evilness of these people.

Oliver Milman in New York @olliemilman
Monday 7 August 2017 11.43 EDT

Staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to avoid using the term climate change in their work, with the officials instructed to reference “weather extremes” instead.

A series of emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation, show that the incoming Trump administration has had a stark impact on the language used by some federal employees around climate change.

USDA's advice to staff on climate change language

Avoid → use instead
Climate change → weather extremes
Climate change adaptation → resilience to weather extremes/intense weather events: drought, heavy rain, spring ponding
Reduce greenhouse gases → build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency
Sequester carbon → build soil organic matter


In her email to staff, dated 16 February this year, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and suggests it be passed on. She writes that “we won’t change the modeling, just how we talk about it – there are a lot of benefits to putting carbon back in the sail [sic], climate mitigation is just one of them”, and that a colleague from public affairs gave advice to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now”.

In contrast to these newly contentious climate terms, Moebius-Clune wrote that references to economic growth, emerging business opportunities in the rural US, agro-tourism and “improved aesthetics” should be “tolerated if not appreciated by all”.
Trump is deleting climate change, one site at a time
Read more

In a separate email to senior employees on 24 January, just days after Trump’s inauguration, Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, said: “It has become clear one of the previous administration’s priority is not consistent with that of the incoming administration. Namely, that priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch.”

Bramblett added that “prudence” should be used when discussing greenhouse gases and said the agency’s work on air quality regarding these gases could be discontinued.


The nomenclature of the federal government has also shifted as these new priorities have taken hold. Mentions of the dangers of climate change have been removed from the websites of the White House and the Department of the Interior, while the EPA scrapped its entire online climate section in April pending a review that will be “updating language to reflect the approach of new leadership”.


“These records reveal Trump’s active censorship of science in the name of his political agenda,” said Meg Townsend, open government attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity.

“To think that federal agency staff who report about the air, water and soil that sustains the health of our nation must conform their reporting with the Trump administration’s anti-science rhetoric is appalling and dangerous for America and the greater global community.”


While some of the changes to government websites may have occurred anyway, the emails from within the USDA are the clearest indication yet that staff have been instructed to steer clear of acknowledging climate change or its myriad consequences.

US agriculture is a major source of heat-trapping gases, with 15% of the country’s emissions deriving from farming practices. A USDA plan to address the “far reaching” impacts of climate change is still online.

However, Sam Clovis, Trump’s nomination to be the USDA’s chief scientist, has labeled climate research “junk science”.

Last week it was revealed that Clovis, who is not a scientist, once ran a blog where he called progressives “race traders and race ‘traitors’” and likened Barack Obama to a “communist”.
These people are traitors to our species, and to life.

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