Staffers at President Trump’s Department of Agriculture have been instructed to stop using the term “climate change” in their research and use language like “weather extremes” instead, according to a series of newly leaked emails obtained by the Guardian between staff at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), a USDA unit that oversees farmers’ land conservation
According to the emails, the incoming Trump administration officials told staffers in the USDA’s NRCS to change the way they discuss climate change in their work, telling staffers that climate change would now become “weather extremes.”
The Guardian reports:
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”.
In her email to staff, dated 16 February this year, Moebius-Clune writes, “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”, and that a colleague from USDA’s public affairs team gave advice to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now”.
“It has become clear one of the previous administration’s priorities is not consistent with that of the incoming administration,” Jimmy Bramblett, the NRCS’s deputy chief for programs, wrote in a Jan. 24 email to certain officials. “Namely, that priority is climate change.”
President Trump last month nominated Sam Clovis to be the USDA’s chief scientist.
Clovis does not hold a science degree and has said he is “extremely skeptical” of climate change, claiming “a lot of the science is junk science.”
Trump, who has started the process of withdrawing the US from the Paris climate agreement, has repeatedly questioned the veracity of climate change research, infamously suggesting that it is part of an elaborate Chinese hoax.
Ice storm rolls from Texas to Tennessee – I'm in Los Angeles and it's freezing. Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2013
As of July 2017, Trump has tweeted about his climate change skepticism at least 115 times, according to Vox.com.
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012