It sounds like the energy inside the White House has been tense ever since Donald Trump took office. And part of that tension, no doubt, has to do with the fact that the president of the United States appears to be a climate change denier, while most of the rest of the world accepts climate change as known and proven fact. And now, POLITICO reports that some in the White House have climate change terms they don't use for fear of earning the wrong side of the president's attention.
POLITICO reports that staff in the Department of Energy's climate office were advised against using the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction" or "Paris Agreement" in written communication. And while a DOE spokesperson denies that any words have been banned in the office, the news outlet cites other anonymous sources at DOE and the State Department who feel otherwise. One told POLITICO, "People are taking their own initiatives to not use certain words based on hints from transition people. Everyone is encouraged to finding different ways of talking about things."
With a climate-change denier influencing how the country's highest governing body talks about climate change, the potential of shifting the national discourse into an anti-environmental and anti-science one is huge. There are certain words and phrases that we can't just let fall to the wayside. Here are just some to remember to keep on the tip of your tongue.
President Obama spends so much time speaking of the so-called Carbon footprint, and yet he flies all the way to Hawaii on a massive old 747.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2015
Carbon pollution: there's just no way to make that sound good. But it's how we got here in the first place, and that's why we should keep talking abut it. Regulations on carbon pollution and emissions are some of our best defenses against the type of extreme weather and other negative effects caused by climate disruption. And as recent news shows, curbing carbon pollution doesn't stop economic growth.
In three years people won’t be building wind turbines anymore - they are obsolete & totally destroy the environment in which they sit.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2013
A January DOE report shows that solar energy alone employs more than double the number of people than oil, coal, and gas combined. And despite Trump's above prediction, turbine use is still growing. "Clean" and "energy" both evoke their own sort of power; together, they're impossible to spin. If anything we should be calling fossil fuels "dirt energy". Feel free to also use "renewable energy."
The man made "climate change" that our "great" president should be focused on is of the NUCLEAR variety brought upon us because of weakness!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 8, 2014
For some reason in the U.S., it needs to be said over and over again that there is a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and it is definitely caused by human activity. With that in mind, just never, ever stop talking about it.
NBC News just called it the great freeze - coldest weather in years. Is our country still spending money on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2014
People who deny that climate change is real or caused by human activity are just that: deniers. They are not "skeptics." Bill Nye is a skeptic. Acknowledging the denial: for some it's the first step in grieving for the planet. Hopefully then they can move on to climate-change acceptance and response.
"@AnnCoulter: "I believe in science" Dem code for "we're shutting down coal mines, steel plants and any other remaining manufacturing""— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2016
What we know about climate change is backed by science. Don't let that be forgotten. See "Clean Energy" for those for whom the economics are more important.
Actually Putin doesn't want Alaska because the Environmental Protection Agency will make it impossible for him to drill for oil!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2014
Our natural resources are precious. Using "conserve" when speaking about the environment, instead of terms like "capitalize," "reap," or "utilize," in regards to fossil fuels emphasizes just how precarious of a position the earth is in right now.
NobamaCare won't work, never will work and can't work - it is a total waste of time and energy except that it is hurting people (& economy!)— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 17, 2014
Trump has talked about wastes of time and money in the past, so we know that waste is a concept he can understand. Can we use that to our advantage? Keep talking about waste in terms of energy and natural resources to really drive the point home.
They only changed the term to CLIMATE CHANGE when the words GLOBAL WARMING didn't work anymore. Come on people, get smart!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 14, 2014
Global warming and climate change are different. But the above still stands. There is a scientific consensus that global warming is happening and it is definitely caused by human activity.
Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 2, 2014
-- Albert Einstein
If there's one thing I'm sure Trump hates it's admitting vulnerability. But doing so actually shows a lot of strength. The fact is the earth's climate is changing, humans caused it, and humans are vulnerable to it. Ignoring our earth's and our own vulnerabilities haven't served us in the past. Time to make "vulnerability" a main part of your climate change vocabulary.
The list of words we need to preserve during the Trump administration goes on and on, but here are some to keep in mind as the debate over our response to climate change continues. And though the tone and rhetoric of that debate may change over time, it should be informed by facts rather than, as Trump might say, "weak."