A disturbing new report reveals that the staff at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have officially been instructed to begin censoring information on climate data. In fact, they are no longer even supposed to use the words “climate change” at all.
According to emails between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), the staff has been told to use the term “weather extremes” instead.
The Guardian reports the following regarding an email dated February 16:
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”.
Moebius-Clune explained 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.” She claims a colleague from the USDA’s public affairs team advised them to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now.”
Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS told senior employees that Trump was behind the decision to begin censoring important climate change data.
“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 wrote on January 24.
The USDA issued a statement on January 23 that said, “interim operating procedures outlining procedures to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review policy-related statements, legislation, budgets, and regulations prior to issuance.”
“This guidance, similar to procedures issued by previous administrations, was misinterpreted by some to cover data and scientific publications. This was never the case and USDA interim procedures will allow complete, objective information for the new policy staff reviewing policy decisions,” the statement added.
And it isn’t just the USDA. Since Trump took office, all mention of climate change has been scrubbed from the websites for both the White House and the Department of the Interior. The EPA has also removed its sections on climate change while they are “updating language to reflect the approach of new leadership.”
This is troubling, to say the least.
“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.”
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