US federal department is censoring use of term ‘climate change’, emails reveal – Trending Stuff

Firefighters battle a wildfire in California. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

In her email to staff, dated 16 February this year, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and indicates it be passed on. She writes that we wont 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 only one of them, and that a colleague from USDAs public affairs team gave advice to tamp down on discretionary messaging right now.

In contrast to these contentious climate conditions, Moebius-Clune wrote that references to economic development, emerging business opportunities in the rural US, agro-tourism and aesthetics should be tolerated if not valued by all.

In a separate email to senior employees on 24 January, only days after Trumps inauguration, Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, said: It is now clear one of the previous administrations priority is not consistent with that of the incoming government. That priority is climate change. Please visit with your staff and make them aware of the change in perspective within the executive branch.

Bramblett said the agencys work on air quality regarding these gases could be discontinued and added when talking greenhouse gases that prudence should be used.

Emails show the talks between staff unsure of what is forbidden. On 16 February, a staffer called Tim Hafner write to Bramblett: I would like to know correct conditions I need to use instead of climate fluctuations and anything related to carbon … I want to ensure to integrate correct terminology that the agency has approved to use.

On 5 April, Suzanne Baker, a New York-based NRCS employee, emailed a query as to whether staff are permitted to publish work from outside the USDA that use climate change. A colleague advises that the issue be determined in a telephone call.

Some staff werent enamored with one worker stating within an email on 5 July that we would rather keep the language as is and stressing the need to maintain the scientific integrity of their work.

In a statement, USDA said that on 23 January it had issued operating procedures outlining procedures to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review statements, laws, budgets and regulations .

The statement added: This guidance, similar to procedures issued by previous administrations, was misinterpreted by some to cover scientific publications and data. This was not the case and USDA interim procedures will allow complete information for the new policy staff reviewing policy decisions.

Kaveh Sadeghzadeh of the Natural Resources Conservation Service added that his organisation hasn’t received direction from USDA or the government to modify its communications on some other topic or climate change.

Trump has questioned the veracity of climate change research suggesting that it’s part of an elaborate Chinese hoax. The president has started the process of withdrawing the US in the Paris climate arrangement, has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to scrap or amend various regulations aimed at cutting greenhouse gases, and has transferred to open up more public land and waters to fossil fuel activity.

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 eliminated from the websites of the White House and the Department of the Interior, while the EPA scrapped its entire online climate division in April pending a review that will be upgrading language to reflect the approach of new leadership.

The series of emails. Before the emails were released some components were redacted. The Guardian has additional redacted phone numbers, and highlighted passages.

These records reveal Trumps active censorship of science in the title of his political agenda, said Meg Townsend, open government lawyer at the Center for Biological Diversity.

To think that agency staff who report about soil, water and the air that sustains the health of our state must conform their coverage with the Trump administrations anti-science rhetoric is appalling and dangerous to America and the larger international community.

The Center for Biological Diversity is currently suing several government agencies, including the EPA and state department, to induce them to release information.

Although a few of these changes to government websites may have occurred the emails from within the USDA are the clearest sign that staff have been instructed to steer clear of acknowledging climate change or its myriad impacts.

US agriculture is a major source of gases, with 15 percent of the countrys emissions. A USDA plan to deal with the far reaching impacts of climate change is still online.

However, Sam Clovis, Trumps nomination are the USDAs chief scientist, has labeled climate research junk science.

Last week it was revealed that Clovis, who’s not a scientist, once ran a blog where he called progressives race traders and race traitors and likened Barack Obama to a communist.

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