US Government department tells staff to not use term climate change


US Government department tells staff to not use term climate change

US Government department tells staff to not use term climate change:- GOVERNMENT employees in the US have been given a dictionary of accepted words to use — and “climate change” isn’t one of them.

In a directive reminiscent of George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, where people were only allowed to communicate in an ever diminishing language called “newspeak”, employees of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been told to ditch the word “climate change”.

They should use “weather extreme” instead.

The clampdown comes as President Donald Trump further distances the US from global moves to limit global warming. Last week, the US formally announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change.

In a series of emails received by the Guardian, the director of the USDA’s soil health department, Bianca Moebius-Clune, listed terms that should be avoided and the alternatives to be used instead.

As well as giving climate change the flick, staff were told to avoid the term “climate change adaptation” and instead opt for “resilience to weather extremes”.

When talking about the cause of climate change, sorry “weather extremes”, saying people should “reduce greenhouse gases” is a big no-no. Rather, staff should talk in favour of “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”.

The email was dated 16 February but has only just come to light.

However, far from being a politically motivated reaction against the science of climate change, the instructions to staff may instead be a way for the Government department to continue its work without ruffling feathers in a White House averse to discussing global warming.

In the missive, Ms Moebius-Clune said that, “we won’t change the modelling, just how we talk about it — there are a lot of benefits to putting carbon back in the soil, climate mitigation is just one of them”.

The Guardian report added that public relations staff from the USDA had advised departments should “tamp down on discretionary messaging right now”.

The USDA denied it was limited discussion of climate change.

In a statement, the department said, “this guidance, similar to procedures issued by previous administrations, was misinterpreted by some to cover data and scientific publications.
“This was never the case and USDA interim procedures will allow complete, objective information for the new policy staff reviewing policy decisions.”

While Australian public sector staff have not been told what to say, they have been warned what they’re allowed to like or say on social media.

On Monday, it emerged that public servants who criticised the government on Facebook or Twitter could face disciplinary action.

If they “like” or share a Facebook post critical of the government, they could find themselves in hot water — even if they select the “angry face” reaction.

Government employees could also be in breach of the public service code of conduct for material they send in a private email, or for failing to remove “nasty comments” posted by other people to their social media pages.

The new social media guidelines, published on Monday by the Australian Public Service Commission, reinforce that while APS employees “have the right to participate in public and political debate”, it is “not an unlimited right”.

“If you ‘like’ something on a social media platform, it will generally be taken to be an endorsement of that material as though you’d created that material yourself,” the guidelines read.

Nadine Flood, national secretary of the Community and Public Sector Union, described the new policy as “overreach”, saying it “clearly does not strike the right balance between giving our community faith in the Commonwealth public service and allowing people who work in public services to undertake normal, everyday activity in a democracy”.