Florida environmental officials were told not to use the words "climate change" or "global warming" in any official reports or emails, according to the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting. The unwritten rule for employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) came into effect after Republican Gov. Rick Scott took office in 2011, according to the report, which was first published by the Miami Herald. Scott said that he was not convinced climate change was real while campaigning in 2010. The governor's office told NBC News that the report was "not true" and that it has "no policy" forbidding the use of terms like climate change. That contradicts several documents and interviews with multiple former DEP employees, including Christopher Byrd, a former attorney with the agency's Office of General Counsel, gathered by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
"My thoughts upon hearing this directive was that it was clear Rick Scott’s administration did not support environmental protection and that if we, as public servants, were going to accomplish anything on behalf of the people of the State of Florida, it would not be easy," Byrd told NBC News in an email. "We were scared for our jobs as this directive came in the midst of mass layoffs and specific firings of senior scientists." The DEP told MSNBC that the report was "simply not true."
- Climate Change Will Continue to Pick Up Through the Century: Study
- Global Warming Helped Spur Syrian War, Study Says
- In Florida, Officials Ban Term ‘Climate Change’ (Florida Center for Investigative Reporting)