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'Climate Change' Has Been Scrubbed From More Government Documents

The Department of the Treasury removed mentions of "climate change" from an unpublished sustainability report it prepared for 2017, E&E News reports. Meanwhile, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health—which researches risks to workers' health—has removed "climate change" from certain webpages, according to work from the Environmental Governance and Data Initiative, an advocacy group that tracks government websites.

These two alterations, both publicly revealed on Monday, are just the latest example of government agencies scrubbing "climate change" from their websites and reports.

These disappearances seem to track with the Trump administration's skepticism of the reality and importance of global warming. But the NIOSH case offers an especially interesting example: Outside experts the Washington Post interviewed regarding the website changes argued that the substance of NIOSH's pages wasn't significantly changed; staffers simply appeared to remove buzzwords that that might draw ire from the administration.

But does it matter if an agency talks about "climate conditions," "climate variations," or "climate change"?

In January, Pacific Standard spoke with an Environmental Governance and Data Initiative volunteer, Eric Nost, who argued that it does: Close observers and Beltway insiders might understand that "climate conditions" means "climate change," but everyday Americans might not. Nost, a doctoral student in geography at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, noted that a name change "definitely changes how the public and policymakers understand what the issue is, what's at stake, and what it's related to."