United States government workers have been instructed to modify the terminology they use when talking about climate change, now that Donald Trump’s at the helm. In emails obtained by The Guardian, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) staff were told to eschew the term ‘climate change’ in favor of ‘weather extremes.’ Center for Biological Diversity attorney Meg Townsend said the news uncovers the president’s “active censorship of science in the name of his political agenda.”
US agriculture generates around 15 percent of the country’s emissions, according to The Guardian. So it would make sense for an agency overseeing farming to address climate change – but emails from after Trump’s inauguration reveal staffers have been told to shift their language on the phenomenon.
Related: Rex Tillerson advises diplomats to sidestep questions about the Paris climate deal
A February 16 email from Director Bianca Moebius-Clune at USDA unit Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), detailed terms staff should avoid and ones they should use instead. Under the Trump administration, ‘climate change adaption’ becomes ‘resilience to weather extremes.’ ‘Reduce greenhouse gases’ becomes ‘build organic soil matter, increase nutrient use efficiency.’ And ‘sequester carbon’ is to be avoided in favor of ‘build organic soil matter.’ Moebius-Clune said in the email they “won’t change the modeling, just how we talk about it.”
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