By David Knowles, Bloomberg News (TNS)
Florida’s government may have figured out a way to beat climate change: ignore it.
A report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting published Sunday details the claims by employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, who say that they were ordered not to use the terms “climate change,” “global warming” and “sustainability” in official communications.
“That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel,” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the department from 2008 to 2013.
The unwritten policy went into effect shortly after Governor Rick Scott, a global warming skeptic, took office.
The Florida policy is reminiscent of a 2012 law passed by lawmakers in North Carolina that prohibits the state from basing coastal policies on scientific predictions regarding sea level rise. Scientists have warned that, like much of Florida’s coastline, North Carolina’s outer banks are at particular risk from climate change.
As January’s votes on amendments to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, and Senator James Inhofe’s tossing of a snowball on the Senate floor last week have shown, the semantic aspects of the debate over global warming often show the level of mistrust between the opposing sides of the issue.
Florida’s DEP is, in part, charged with planning for how to try and combat what could be the catastrophic sea level rise due to the very thing that its employees say they are not supposed to mention by name.
Photo: Governor Rick Scott visits with FWC staff and Commissioners Yablonski and Roberts on November 17, 2014 at the Bryant Building in Tallahassee. (Tim Donovan, Florida Fish & Wildlife/Flickr)