Emails Show USDA Staff Told to 'Avoid' Term 'Climate Change' Under Trump

Euphemize this

Euphemize this

The United States Department of Agriculture has told employees to avoid using the phrase "climate change" in favor of the less politically charged "weather extremes", according to USDA emails obtained by the Guardian.

According to leaked documents, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been given a list of banned and preferred terminology, with phrases such "climate change adaption" banned in favour of "resilience to weather extremes".

Less than a month after Bramblett's email, NRCS staffer Tim Hafner sent him a report draft, and said: "I would like to know the correct terms I should use instead of Climate Changes and anything to do with Carbon...."

In her email to staff, dated February 16, Moebius-Clune said the new language was given to her staff and suggests it be passed on. In an email, Moebius-Clune explains that a colleague from USDA's public affairs team advised her to "tamp down on discretionary messaging right now".

A change in verbiage would follow suit with other moves made by government agencies during Trump's administration regarding climate change. As the cost of firefighting skyrockets and flooding devastates harvests in the northeast, the government's crackdown on coherent policies based on proven science continues apace, and extends, unfortunately, far beyond the already disintegrating Environmental Protection Agency.

In response to these changes, employees have said "we would prefer to keep the language as is" as they want to maintain the "scientific integrity of the work".

"It has become clear one of the previous administration's priority is not consistent with that of the incoming administration", he wrote. "At USDA, we rely on sound science and we remain firmly committed to digging ever deeper into research to develop better methods of agricultural production in that changing climate". And Trump pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement on combating climate change ― a move HuffPost's Alexander Kaufman called a "devastating setback to worldwide efforts to curb global warming".

Sadeghzadeh told HuffPost that they "continuously evaluate" their "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". "Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch".

Trump's nomination to be the USDA's chief scientist is Sam Clovis, who is not a scientist and is climate-change denier. The USDA website still points visitors to a Climate Change Program Office as well as a "climate change adaptation plan", among other climate change-related pages.

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