Say it While you Still Can: “Climate Change”. Science in the Age of Newspeak

May 23, 2017

When Florida’s governor Rick Scott banned state employees from using the phrase “climate change”, I reported it (above) months before the Miami Herald and Washington Post.

Now, under Trump, climate censors have been empowered, bigly.  Consider helping with a donation to Dark Snow Project here.

Washington Post:

On Thursday, a group of scientists, including three working for the U.S. Geological Survey, published a paper that highlighted the link between sea-level rise and global climate change, arguing that previously studies may have underestimated the risk flooding poses to coastal communities.

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However, three of the study’s authors say the Department of Interior, under which USGS is housed, deleted a line from the news release on the study that discussed the role climate change played in raising Earth’s oceans.

“While we were approving the news release, they had an issue with one or two of the lines,” said Sean Vitousek, a research assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “It had to do with climate change and sea-level rise.”

“We did end up removing a line,” he added.

Vitousek and five co-authors wrote the study, which was published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. Three of the authors worked for USGS and the other three worked for universities.

That deleted line, they said, read: “Global climate change drives sea-level rise, increasing the frequency of coastal flooding.”

Instead, the USGS news release leaves the cause unmentioned. It begins: “The frequency and severity of coastal flooding throughout the world will increase rapidly and eventually double in frequency over the coming decades even with only moderate amounts of sea level rise.”

“It’s a crime against the American people,” Neil Frazer, a geophysics professor at University of Hawaii at Manoa and one of the study’s co-authors, said of the line’s removal and of other efforts to limit scientific communication from federal agencies. “Because scientists have known for at least 50 years that anthropogenic climate change is a reality.”

He added: “The suppression of this information is a scandal.”

The paper’s authors acknowledge the deletion did not make the news release wrong. But, they say, it made it incomplete.

“It did not cause any direct inaccuracy, but it did eliminate an important connection to be made by the reader — that global warming is causing sea-level rise,” Chip Fletcher, a University of Hawaii professor and study co-author, said. “I disagree with the decision from the upper administration to delete it, not with the scientists who deleted it at the administration’s request.”

A.D. Wade, top press officer for USGS, said that the deleted line “didn’t add anything to the overall findings.” She explained that because climate change causes sea levels to rise is not a new finding, it did not warrant inclusion in the news release.

Wade also noted that the line appeared in the very top of the academic paper.

“It is business as usual for USGS science,” she said.

Normally, USGS has one political appointment, its director, though the White House has yet to fill that position. The decision to change the news release came from officials at the Interior Department itself.

Since President Trump, who has said he is not a “not a big believer in man-made climate change,” took office, the federal government has curtailed some of its communication on climate change to the public.

The Florida story is not going away.  Jeff Goodell of Rolling Stone guided me into one of climate change’s most tragic stories last year.

Meanwhile, scientists continue to sound the alarm on Trump Administration’s climate newspeak Agenda.

Washington Post:

Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department are overhauling a slew of outside advisory boards that inform how their agencies assess the science underpinning federal policies, the first step in a broader effort by Republicans to change the way the federal government evaluates the scientific basis for its regulations.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt decided to replace half of the members on one of its key scientific review boards, while Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is “reviewing the charter and charge” of more than 200 advisory boards, committees and other entities both within and outside his department. EPA and Interior officials began informing current members of the move Friday, and notifications continued over the weekend.

Pruitt’s move could significantly change the makeup of the 18-member Board of Scientific Counselors (BOSC), which advises EPA’s prime scientific arm on whether the research it does has sufficient rigor and integrity, and addresses important scientific questions. All of the people being dismissed were at the end of serving at least one three-year term, although these terms are often renewed instead of terminated.
“I was kind of shocked to receive this news,” Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and an associate professor in Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability, said in an interview Sunday.

Richardson, who on Saturday tweeted, “Today, I was Trumped,” said that he was at the end of an initial three-year term but that members traditionally have served two such stints. “I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms,” he said, adding that the dismissals gave him “great concern that objective science is being marginalized in this administration.”

Detroit News:

EPA spokesman J.P. Freire said Monday that advisory panels like the Board of Scientific Counselors play a “critical role” reviewing the agency’s work.

“EPA received hundreds of nominations to serve on the board, and we want to ensure fair consideration of all the nominees — including those nominated who may have previously served on the panel — and carry out a competitive nomination process,” Freire said in a statement.

Freire has also said the EPA might consider industry scientific experts for some board positions as long as the appointments do not pose a conflict of interest, and board members who would understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community.

Richardson said Freire’s statements refect a “fundamental misunderstanding” of the board, which advises a high-level office of EPA scientists who conduct scientific research to support the agency’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.

“It has no regulatory functions. We’ve never been asked to review regulations. The board has no authority for approving regulations,” Richardson said. “I only have to believe it’s a political move because the rationale is without merit.”

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “Say it While you Still Can: “Climate Change”. Science in the Age of Newspeak”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Sounds rather like the censorship of an autocratic state than the “land of freedom”.


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