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August 08, 2017

Report: Federal employees told to stop using the term 'climate change'

U.S. Department of Agriculture employees are told to use other terms instead

Federal officials have instructed their employees to avoid referring to climate change in their work.

Instead, staff members at the U.S. Department of Agriculture are told to use the term "weather extremes," according to a recent report by The Guardian.

The newspaper obtained a series of emails between staff at the department's Natural Resources Conservation Service.

A message from Soil Health Director Bianca Moebius-Clune lists terms that her staff should avoid, such as "climate change and climate change adaption." Instead, her staff should respectively use "weather extremes" and "resilience to weather extremes," according to the report.

The phrase "reduce greenhouse gases" – referring to heat-trapping compounds in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – is now "build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency."

A separate email sent days after President Donald Trump's inauguration in January tells senior employees at the NRCS that former President Barack Obama's administration had a different stance on climate change than that of Trump's, the report stated.

"Please visit with your staff and make them aware of this shift in perspective within the executive branch," it reads.

A July 5 email from a staff member reportedly stated that "we would prefer to keep the language as is" and stressed the need to maintain the "scientific integrity of the work."

Trump has questioned the relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. 

On June 1, the president announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement, and the Trump Administration has officially told the United Nations the U.S. plans to get out of the agreement.

On Tuesday, a draft of a government report obtained and released by The New York Times found that climate change effects are already impacting the U.S.