It seems that the Energy Department, led by former Texas governor Rick Perry, is going full on anti-climate change. This time, however, instead of fighting actual global climate change, the government is launching a war on the truth that climate change exists.
Energy Department staffers have to avoid even mentioning climate change so they don’t incur the wrath of the most anti-climate change administration America has ever seen.
President Donald Trump and the Republican party are known for burying their heads in the sand when it comes to global warming. Trump believes it’s a Chinese hoax to make U.S. industry unprofitable, while Republicans refuse to accept even the notion that humans are responsible for the earth warming up – or that the warming will have disastrous consequences for humans.
Now they’ve taken their denial one step further.
POLITICO reports that staff at the Energy Department’s international climate office were told this week to avoid using the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reductions” or “Paris agreement.” The message was passed along in official memos, briefings or other written forms of communication.
(“Paris agreement” refers to a groundbreaking international climate pact signed in 2016 by 194 countries, including the U.S.)
The staff at the DOE’s Office of International Climate and Clean energy learned of the ban on certain phrases on Tuesday, the same day that Trump signed his Executive Order rolling back Obama’s environmental legacy.
Senior officials informed staff that even simply using those phrases would cause a “visceral reaction” by Energy Secretary Rick Perry, as well as White House advisers who are now at the top of the department.
The office is the only government department with “climate” in their name, and staff are concerned that, given the new President’s stance on the environment, their days are numbered since Trump is planning on reorganizing agencies. The office plays a key role in ensuring that the U.S. participates in international efforts to develop clean energy technology, a scheme set up by former President Obama.
DOE sources told POLITICO that different offices received different memos, and some received no formal instructions at all, but have taken it upon themselves to avoid using climate-related phrases, replacing them with a rhetorical emphasis on words like “jobs” and “infrastructure.”
A state Department official confirmed that there was a similar mood elsewhere in the government. They said:
People are doing a lot of reading into tea leaves. People are taking their own initiatives to not use certain words based on hints from transition people. Everyone is encouraged to finding different ways of talking about things. There’s a sense that you’d better find a way to delink [from the previous administration’s talking points.]
Liz Perera, the climate policy director at Sierra Club, issued a strongly-worded statement on the development:
What exactly is this office supposed to call itself now? The international C****** office? Ignoring the climate crisis will not make it go away, will not create jobs in the booming clean energy economy, and will not make our country great.
This episode belongs in a satirical drama, but sadly it’s real. We have now reached the point where Republicans are trying to make even the utterance of the words “climate change” a case of thought crime.
No matter how much Republicans try, climate change can’t just be wished away. It’s real. It’s here. It’s going to wreak havoc with humanity for the foreseeable future. Republicans need to get unstick their heads from their backsides and start doing something about it instead of playing childish games and micromanaging.