Perhaps people thought it was “fake news.”
Two years ago, an article appeared in the Miami Herald about Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials being barred from using the terms “climate change” or “global warming” in official communications, emails, and reports.
Right away, those familiar with British author George Orwell’s iconic dystopian novel 1984 began drawing parallels between the blatant censorship characterizing the fictional country of Oceania, where citizens speak only a pre-approved vocabulary devoid of controversial terms, and present-day United States of America.
Then this past April, a piece appeared in Politico about a supervisor at the Energy Department’s international climate office ordering staff to refrain from using the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reduction” or “Paris Agreement” in written memos, briefings, or other written communication the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order at Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters to undo most of President Obama’s climate regulatory initiatives.
Now the EPA has followed the Energy Department’s lead and canceled environmental researchers’ presentations at upcoming conferences, most recently last month’s Narragansett Bay Estuary Program Conference, “designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England and a key to the region’s tourism and fishing industries.”
Of EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and other top White House officials, John King, professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, said:
“They don’t believe in climate change, so I think what they’re trying to do is stifle discussions of the impacts of climate change.”
Calling the EPA’s move an “abuse of power,” Boston University ecosystems ecologist, Robinson Fulweiler, said:
“The silencing of government scientists is a scary step toward silencing anyone who disagrees. The choice by our government leaders to ignore the abundant and overwhelming data regarding climate change does not stop it from being true or prevent the negative consequences that are already occurring and those that are on the horizon.”
Lisa Friedman of the New York Times reports the three scientists prohibited from speaking, key contributors to a new report released to coincide with the conference, planned to discuss the present and future impacts of anthropogenic climate change.
Scheduled to speak was Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.
About the cancellation, he commented:
“Muzzling our leading scientists benefits no one.”
Scott Pruitt’s EPA has also issued a four-year “strategy” document that conveniently omits the word “climate.”
Let’s see how long the Pruitt/Trump charade can continue after Friday’s release of the fourth National Climate Assessment, which confirms what scientists have been warning us about for decades: human activity is the primary cause of global warming, and dire consequences like sea level rise of eight feet by century’s end and more catastrophic weather are guaranteed if we fail to act accordingly.
Despite President Donald Trump’s opinion that climate change is a “Chinese hoax,” and Scott Pruitt’s insidious reversals of the previous administration’s progressive climate policies, the White House did not attempt to circumvent the report’s legally mandated release.
Hopefully this revelation will be the impetus the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue needs to reverse his inhumane stance on the most existential threat humanity faces today.
Image credit: ecoRI News