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

By Oliver Milman

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.

A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.

The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the term “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”. Meanwhile, “sequester carbon” is ruled out and replaced by “build soil organic matter”.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Spot on, eejit, the wheel has turned and now the US has political ideology driving its science while the Russians and Chinese are (presumably) letting their scientists get on with it and innovate.

  2. @OP – A missive from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health, lists terms that should be avoided by staff and those that should replace them. “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”.

    Ideological Trumpies, continue with America’s lead in the race to the bottom, in a technical and scientific world!
    We all knew they didn’t know “climate” from “weather”, but with Trump’s 10 minute attention span, lack of focus on the longer term is hardly surprising!

    This sciency stuff is just too confusing for the Trumpist Republican mind!
    Those old industries MUST be revived.
    Nobody has made Clovis tools or weapons for absolutely ages! 🙂

  3. Thanks Mad Englishman. I should perhaps have added: This mask is on the side of hiding the truth, but I’d had a few last night and was not at my sharpest.

  4. Multi upticks for #1 eejit.

    and Mad Englishman. Too many Americans focus on China as an ideological (Marxist) dictatorship. No. Rather it is a wholly pragmatic technocracy, delivering sustained, stunning progress for its people and now with a clear realisation that internal sustainability is the next staging post for investment. No wonder it now figures big time in Elon Musk’s plans.

  5. @OP – 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.

    Clearly what is needed, is for the reputable press and media, to have a translation-list / dictionary of words, so that regardless of what pseudo-science political input goes into U.S. government science reports, Trump-speak can be translated into real English scientific language, in the reports in journals, the reputable press, and the reputable media channels for public consumption!

  6. Meanwhile back where governments face reality:-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-40941994

    The green light has been given for what will be Scotland’s largest solar farm.

    Moray Council has granted Elgin Energy planning permission for a 20MW project near Urquhart, which could see about 80,000 solar panels installed.

    The farm will be constructed on the 47-hectare Speyslaw site – the equivalent of about 40 football pitches.

    The largest Scottish solar farm is currently a 13MW project at Errol Estate in Perthshire, which went live in May last year.

    Bristol-based Elgin Energy also developed that scheme, which includes 55,000 solar panels capable of generating power for more than 3,500 homes,.

    A date for the start of the project has yet to be set.

    The project will include a substation, 20 inverter stations and a CCTV camera system.

    All cabling at the site – spread over three fields at the Innes Estate – will be underground, allowing sheep to graze around the panels.

  7. @OP – The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted,
    with the term “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of
    “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”.
    Meanwhile, “sequester carbon” is ruled out
    and replaced by “build soil organic matter”.

    Of course there is somewhat of a problem with imposed semantic ignorance being substituted for science!

    “Building organic matter” in poorly drained and poorly aerated soils, generates methane! – especially in seasonal warming conditions!

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