Florida Bans the Term “Climate Change”; or, Orwell Visits Miami

orwell big brotherFlorida has banned the phrase “climate change,” at least as far as the staff of the state’s environmental agency are concerned. Also “global warming.” And “sustainability” is verboten, too, according to an investigative report in the Miami Herald

This policy seems to have started in 2011, when Florida Governor Rick Scott—who has repeatedly insisted that he is unconvinced that climate change is caused by human activity— appointed Herschel Vinyard Jr. as director of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Thereafter, DEP employees were warned “to beware of the words global warming, climate change and sea-level rise”—“these words were to be prohibited for use from official DEP policy-making with our clients.”

The department denies that there is any such policy in place, but the Herald reported that “former DEP employees from offices around the state say the order was well known and distributed verbally statewide.”

Does it seem silly to think that employees at the Florida DEP worried about being turned in for seditious thinking to Governor Scott, who hovers over them scrutinizing their faces for hints of thoughtcrime? One former DEP employee told the Herald that “using the terms in reports would would bring unwanted attention to their projects.”

florida from space

Such restrictions on the free flow of scientific discussion are neither new nor confined to Florida: 

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Steve Newton is a former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.

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