US Department of Agriculture has told staff to censor use of the term ‘climate change’ and replace it with ‘weather extremes’

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
By Paul Martin

The USDA’s public affairs team issued new guidelines after Trump’s election
It advises how staff word their discussions of topics involving climate change
The edict was leaked in emails from staff at a federal conservation department
Employees were instructed on terms to avoid and those to use in their place
Critics may view this as interference from President Trump’s administration
Trump has been an outspoken sceptic of man-made climate change

8 August 2017

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has advised its staff to censor their language around climate change, it has emerged.

In a series of emails, a senior member of staff at the federal department outlined a list of terms to be avoided and others to be used in their place.

Top of the list was the phrase ‘climate change’ itself, which employees were instructed to replace with ‘weather extremes.’

They were also advised to alter various phrases that suggest the role of human activity on the environment.
Critics will likely view this as evidence of President Trump’s scepticism on the topic directly affecting the way government departments conduct their work.

In an in-depth report for The Guardian, reporter Oliver Milman outlined the findings, obtained from communications between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

The NRCS is a department of the USDA that provides technical expertise and conservation planning for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners wanting to make conservation improvements to their land.

In an email dated February 16 Dr Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health at the NRCS, stated that the USDA’s public affairs team had issued new guidelines for how staff should word their discussions of topics involving climate change.

Other blacklisted phrases include ‘reduce greenhouse gases’, which should be replaced with ‘build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency’.

Employees were also advised to substitute the terms ‘sequester carbon’ in favour of ‘build soil organic matter’ and ‘climate change adaptation’ should become ‘resilience to weather extremes’.

References to economic growth, business opportunities in rural states, agro-tourism and ‘improved aesthetics’ should be ‘tolerated if not appreciated by all’, the Guardian reported.

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