On February 16, federal employees at an arm of the US Department of Agriculture received an email from one of their bosses on how to talk about climate change under the new administration. The gist was clear: Don’t talk about it.
According to emails obtained by the Guardian, Bianca Moebius-Clune, the director of soil health, sent employees at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) a list of terms to avoid in the future. The NRCS is the federal office that oversees farmers’ land conservation.
|climate change||weather extremes|
|climate change adaptation||resilience to weather extremes, resilience to intense weather events: drought, heavy rain, spring ponding|
|reduce greenhouse gases||build soil organic matter and increase nutrient use efficiency|
|sequester carbon||build soil organic matter|
Moebius-Clune wrote that the agency “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 also wrote that a person in the public affairs office advised her to “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now.”
In another email obtained by the Guardian, Jimmy Bramblett, deputy chief for programs at the NRCS, wrote to employees about a priority shift under the Trump administration: “It has become clear one of the previous administration’s priority is not consistent with that of the incoming administration. Namely, that priority is climate change.”
Earlier this year, the US Environmental Protection Agency removed its pages on climate change. Scott Pruitt, the head of that agency, has also launched a federal program to formally challenge the scientific consensus on climate change.