Officials in Florida's Department of Environmental Protection (DPE) are banned from using the terms “climate change,” “global warming,” or "sustainability" in any official communications, according to a Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR) story published in the Miami Herald.
“That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors,” Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the DEP’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013, told FCIR's Tristram Korten.
Kristina Trotta, another former DEP employee who worked in Miami, said a supervisor told her not to use the terms “climate change” and “global warming” in a 2014 staff meeting, Korten writes.
“We were told that we were not allowed to discuss anything that was not a true fact,” she said.
And two consultants who'd contracted to work with the state's Coral Reef Conservation Program were also told not to use the term "climate change," according to the story.
“The employees were so skittish they wouldn’t even talk about it,” said Jim Harper. His partner, Annie Reisewitz, confirmed Harper’s story, Korten says. “When we put climate change into the document, they told us they weren’t using the term climate change,” she said.
No state is more vulnerable than Florida when it comes to climate change: 75 percent of its population lives on coasts. There are 2120 square-miles of land lie less than 3 feet above the high tide line in Florida, comprising approximately $145 billion in property value.
The alleged ban on "climate change" came into place after Florida Gov. Rick Scott took office, Korten reports. Scott is on the record as not being convinced that human activity contributes to climate change.
Florida officials told Korten there is no official policy on using the terms.
Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.