Officials at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are telling employees at the agency to use terms such as “weather extremes” when referring to “climate change,” The Guardian reported Monday.
Bianca Moebius-Clune, a director of foil health at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), told employees at the USDA to replace terms referring to global warming with more vanilla terms such as “weather extremes,” according to a series of emails the outlet obtained. Moebius-Clune gave her advice given shortly after President Donald Trump took the oath of office.
Other terms relating to climate change are also on the list of terms to be avoided. She suggests in a Feb. 16 email for employees to scrape the term “reduce greenhouse gases” from their lexicon and use the alternative, “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency.”
Moebius-Clune said the suggested language was passed down from higher-ups. The changes will not affect the agency’s modeling or research methods, she said. She added that it will only impact “how we talk about it (climate change).” Some of the emails indicate the agency was gearing up for a few changes following the 2016 presidential election.
Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, for instance, informed staff members in a Jan. 24 email that the incoming Trump administration had substantially different views on climate change than the previous administration.
“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,” he wrote at the time. “Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch.”
The NRCS meanwhile pushed back against The Guardian’s report. Kaveh Sadeghzadeh, the communications director for the NRCS, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that the USDA has never given the agency direction on what type of communication to use when addressing “climate or any other topic.”
“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,” Sadeghzadeh added.
Activists and Democrats have scrutinized Trump’s climate agenda since he became president in January. They have especially raised concerns that he would begin deleting vast amounts of climate data on various government websites.
Trump directed the agency to scrub its global warming webpage in January, less than a week after the former real estate tycoon assumed office. The page contained links to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) data on carbon dioxide as well as other greenhouse gas emissions. It also listed effects activists believe global warming causes.
The Trump administration asked the EPA to stop handing out grants for projects and research, air quality monitoring, and education, during Trump’s first full month in the White House. EPA also instructed employees not to discuss the spending freeze outside the agency, according to anonymous leaks to multiple media outlets.
Activists spent the first 100 days of Trump’s term worried the administration would censor scientists or delete government data about global warming. They even tried to create back-ups of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature data to prevent the president’s predicted incursions.
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