Florida Environment Office Bans Officials from Using Term ‘Climate Change’
Jim Harper, a nature writer in Miami, was assigned the task to write fact sheets, suggesting measures for protection of the coral reefs of Miami, in the state of Florida. He must be surprised — as I’m surprised to write this and you will be surprised to read this — when he was told not to use the term “climate change.”
Harper was not the only one who came under this verbal ban. And climate change was not the only word which was prohibited. Almost all the officials at the department were told not to use certain words including “global warming,” and “sea-level rise.”
Whatsoever we may assume, it is a fact that officials at DEP were strictly abandoned from using these terms in any forms of official communications, reports the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting after gathering record of couple of former employees.
“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”
This policy by the department didn’t result merely in our surprises. It had serious implications on the overall objectivity of the DEP. It affected not only reports but educational efforts and public policies too.
DEP, which is one of the major departments of the state with over 3200 employees and $1.4 billion budget, has denied such policy. “DEP does not have a policy on this,” the department’s press secretary, Tiffany Cowie, wrote in an email to the news sources.
However, as per the source observes, the “unwritten policy” was implemented in the department, as some of the former employees have confirmed. This policy is being referred to the governorship of Rick Scott, who has been noted for having an unusual stance on the climate change issue. He has been expressing his disbelief in “man-made climate change.” He appointed Herschel Vinyard Jr. as the DEP’s director, after which the policy was put into practice.
Until this time, the governor and the resigned director haven’t commented on the story.