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Florida bans use of 'climate change' by state agency: report

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Florida bans use of 'climate change' by state agency: report

By Barbara Liston

March 9, 2015 5:38 PM

ORLANDO, Fla. (Reuters) - Climate change activists blasted Florida Governor Rick Scott on Monday for leading an "Orwellian" campaign to ban employees of the state's lead environmental agency from using such terms as “global warming” and “climate change.”

Despite coastal Florida's vulnerability to storm surges and rising sea levels, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection was directed in 2011 not to use the phrases in official communications, according to a report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.

“This is embarrassing, but worse than that, it’s very worrying,” said David Hastings, a marine science professor from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, on Florida's west coast.

“To have this authoritarian word control is very Orwellian, a page right out of 'Nineteen Eighty-Four,'” he said, referring to George Orwell's dystopian novel about widespread government surveillance.

The governor's office and the Department of Environmental Protection denied there was a policy banning the terms. "There is no policy and it simply is not true," said Scott's deputy communications director, John Tupps.

Former employees of the department detailed the unwritten policy in interviews with the non-profit news agency, which reported the ban on Sunday.

Employees were told not to use the phrases ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming,’ 'sea level rise,' or ‘sustainability,’ attorney Christopher Byrd, who worked with the department's Office of General Counsel from 2008 to 2013, confirmed to Reuters.

"Nobody questioned it. There was just a lot of snickers and internal chuckling," Byrd said.

The euphemism suggested to employees for “sea level rise” was “coastal resiliency,” he said.

The prohibition began after the election of Scott, who had disputed the human impact on climate change during his 2010 campaign, according to the report.

Concerns about climate change are widely voiced by research scientists, but questioned by conservative Republicans who oppose controls on carbon emissions blamed for causing environmental damage.

Hastings was one of five climate scientists who were granted a half-hour meeting with Scott in August 2014 in which they warned him of the threat posed by a steadily rising ocean.

Harvey Ruvin, who chaired a sea level rise task force in Miami that delivered its findings last year, told Reuters it was important for Florida, with about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of coastline, to put politics aside on the climate change issue.

“It would be very nice if we could resolve problems simply by eliminating their titles from the dictionary,” he said.

(Additional reporting by David Adams and Zachary Fagenson in Miami; Writing by Letitia Stein; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Bernadette Baum and Mohammad Zargham)

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Can't wait til that disgraced governor is flushed

No one here likes him except for maybe ppl over 60. He won last election cuz the democratic opponent was kinda seen as a turn coat and young dems/ libs just sat out of the whole election

Honestly florida will always be a retirement state but it gets younger every year. Average age in Miami, Orlando, and tampa is like 35. and nothing makes me hopeful more than old red necks slowly passing on and making room for actual people with functioning ears and brains populating this mammoth state

Everyone knows florida is in huge environmental trouble except the idiotic republicans in Tallahassee and retired rednecks ruining this state. Everyone knows rick Scott is banning the word global warming cuz he is fucking psychotic too. Bye bitch, see your ugly ass in hell

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What on earth is in the water in Florida ? :lmao: How can anyone ban the use of the terms Climate Change and Global Warming. Terms used all over the World by not only scientists but the general public. Plus what about freedom of speech.

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What on earth is in the water in Florida ? :lmao: How can anyone ban the use of the terms Climate Change and Global Warming. Terms used all over the World by not only scientists but the general public. Plus what about freedom of speech.

This time the crazy can't be blamed on FL- it's the governor. Widely known to be crazy. Widely hated by most people (but somehow won twice)

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Having just watched the brilliant first episode of the new season of Vice on HBO in which they want to Antarctica and saw for themselves the continent actually melting away, and the scientists themselves basically saying we are 60 years past the worse case scenario and that we are all basically fucked (no joke whatsoever).... to see this kind of bullshit on the part of Repubs and 'deniers' is enough to make my blood boil. The complete and utter STUPIDITY of these people, especially the politicians, is mind-blowing.

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Having just watched the brilliant first episode of the new season of Vice on HBO in which they want to Antarctica and saw for themselves the continent actually melting away, and the scientists themselves basically saying we are 60 years past the worse case scenario and that we are all basically fucked (no joke whatsoever).... to see this kind of bullshit on the part of Repubs and 'deniers' is enough to make my blood boil. The complete and utter STUPIDITY of these people, especially the politicians, is mind-blowing.

Yes, agree with you. We have the same kind of people here - all right wing - who are always denying that Global Warming exists at all.

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