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Gov. Rick Scott Allegedly Censored The Term Climate Change

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Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Earlier this week, Florida once again caught the nation’s collectively rolling eyes when it came to light that Governor Rick Scott had allegedly forbidden state staffers from invoking the terms that hinted at the scientific reality of climate change, according to a report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting that was published in the Miami Herald.

“We were told not to use the terms ‘climate change,’ ‘global warming’ or ‘sustainability,’” said Christopher Byrd, an attorney with the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of General Counsel in Tallahassee from 2008 to 2013, according to the report. “That message was communicated to me and my colleagues by our superiors in the Office of General Counsel.”

Others from the department corroborated the report, as Scott and his team assumed damage control and attempted to negate the allegations repeatedly. But in a time when there is legitimate talk of Miami sinking within this century and Florida’s ecosystem in clear peril all around, the denials – both administrative and philosophical – ring incredibly false, even if Scott reportedly uttered the term “sea-level rise” in a February presser.

On March 10, the Washington Post found that the problem went even deeper, trickling the state’s semantic silencing into the Florida Department of Health. A 27-page epidemiology study came back with strike-troughs on “climate change.” “Climate variability” was the edited verbiage. Addressing science through the haze of politics does no one any favors. A sinking state is a sinking state, no matter what you want to call it. And denial gets us nowhere.



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