The US Department of Agriculture has been advised to censor references to climate change in their work, emails between staff have revealed.
The emails, obtained by the Guardian, are further evidence of efforts by the Trump administration to avoid any mention of the issue in government publications.
One communication, from Bianca Moebius-Clune, director of soil health at Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), provided staff with a list of terms to be avoided, including “climate change”, “reduce greenhouse gases”, and “sequester carbon”.
They were to be replaced, respectively, by “weather extremes”, “build soil organic material, increase nutrient use efficiency”, and “build soil organic matter”.
Top of the list of terms was the word “avoid”, which was to be replaced by “use instead”.
Moebius-Clune explained in the email that “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”.
She added that a USDA public affairs rep had advised to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now”.
A mandate to silence
Similarly worrying instances of state mandated censorship of climate change have been reported in recent months.
On 24 May, the Centre for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed a lawsuit against four US federal agencies over “censorship” of climate change information.
That same week, the Washington Post reported that the Department of Interior deleted a line from a news release about a study that discussed the role climate change played in raising Earth’s oceans.
The line in question was “Global climate change drives sea-level rise, increasing the frequency of coastal flooding.”
And, in February, Megan Darby reported that mentions of international climate cooperation had been removed from the EPA’s website.
This trend has evidently alarmed the scientific community but is likely to continue as the new administration continues to ramp ups its efforts to dismantle the past administration’s climate policies.