Earlier this week, reports surfaced that employees of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection had been forbidden to use the phrases “climate change” and “global warming” in official communications. But as ThinkProgress reported, the Sunshine State isn’t the only one to have censored those terms.
A former employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) said that she had been “explicitly ordered” to remove all references to climate change from the DCNR’s website. She said the orders came from then-Gov. Tom Corbett’s administration.
The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) removed links and documents regarding climate change from its website as well. DENR told ThinkProgress that “the state lacked ‘clear regulatory responsibility’ to deal with global warming.”
The common thread among the censoring of “climate change” in Florida, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina is that all three states were/are headed up by governors who deny the scientific consensus that climate change is real and caused by human activity.
During his tenure as governor, Corbett “eliminated programs to research climate change impacts to [Pennsylvania], appointed a climate science denier to head his Environmental Protection Agency, and gutted efforts to encourage renewable energy.”
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) also refuses to clearly state that he believes climate change is caused by greenhouse gases, saying in an interview last year that he feels “there has always been climate change.” He was among the nine governors who asked President Obama to “delay proposed rules to reduce carbon pollution, and supports opening up North Carolina’s coastline to drilling.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is in the “I’m not a scientist” camp of the GOP. Even after meeting with the state’s top environmental scientists, Scott still refused to admit that climate change poses a real and severe threat to Florida. The scientists in the meeting said he seemed uninterested in what they had to say and felt that he still wasn’t “climate literate.”
Given the danger that global warming poses — especially to coastal states, these revelations of censorship by Republican administrations are embarrassing. Simply erasing a phrase from a few documents doesn’t make it actually go away. It just makes the administrations look stupid.