See No Climate Change, Hear No Climate Change, Speak No Climate Change

We already knew that Republicans like to live in their own alternate version of reality, sanitized of any inconvenient truths that might interfere with their ideology. But Florida (as usual) is pushing even the GOP’s incredible willful suspension of disbelief:

The state of Florida is the region most susceptible to the effects of global warming in this country, according to scientists. Sea-level rise alone threatens 30 percent of the state’s beaches over the next 85 years.

But you would not know that by talking to officials at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, the state agency on the front lines of studying and planning for these changes.

DEP officials have been ordered not to use the term “climate change” or “global warming” in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
The policy goes beyond semantics and has affected reports, educational efforts and public policy in a department that has about 3,200 employees and $1.4 billion budget.

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

The creepy Orwellianism on display is exacerbated by the fact that of all places in the U.S., ignoring climate change is particularly suicidal for Florida, a state that will be almost entirely inundated as sea levels rise.

For state officials in Florida to ban the words “climate change” from even being uttered for ideological reasons verges perilously on death cult territory. And for what? So that a few rich extraction-based millionaires can stay just a little richer, just a while longer? So that the people who still buy into objectivist ideas about the economy can live in their delusional bubble for a few more years before drowning in the oncoming tide?

On a smaller scale, this kind of behavior would indicate a need for a social services intervention. At this scale it’s basically a human rights issue, and merits some sort of federal intervention. And possibly some form of libertarian cult deprogramming.

David Atkins

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.