USDA tells staff not to use the term "climate change"

Marie Harrington
August 9, 2017

Staff in the United States government have been told to avoid using the term climate change, with "weather extremes" preferred, as part of Donald Trump's war on science.

She then went on to create a list of words to avoid and offered substitutes instead, including replacing "climate change" with "weather extremes", according to reports.

"Climate change adaptation" has been replaced with "resilience to weather extremes". The director of soil health, Bianca Moebius-Clune, also wrote in the February correspondence that "build soil organic matter" should replace "reduce greenhouse gases" and "sequester carbon". She also wrote that she thought references to economic growth, new business opportunities, and agro-tourism were positive developments that staff should appreciate or at least tolerate. Moebius-Clune noted that a colleague from the USDA's public affairs office suggested employees "tamp down on discretionary messaging right now", The Guardian reported.

Needless to say, the Trump administration is against the scientific consensus on human-driven climate change. As the cost of firefighting skyrockets and flooding devastates harvests in the northeast, the government's crackdown on coherent policies based on proven science continues apace, and extends, unfortunately, far beyond the already disintegrating Environmental Protection Agency. Namely, that priority is climate change.

Last week, Trump's administration officially told the United Nations that the USA intends to pull out of the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Pruitt, one of the most controversial figures in the Trump administration, has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change - one of the main points of contention in his narrow confirmation by the Senate.

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"We would prefer to keep the language as is", said one of the emails adding the need to keep "scientific integrity of the work".

"The agency continuously evaluates its messaging to America's farmers, ranchers and foresters as they work to implement voluntary conservation on their operations to improve the health of our soil, air, water and habitat."
"Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch".

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.

President Trump's top pick to take over the position of chief scientist at the USDA is Sam Clovis.

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".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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