DOE Staff Told to Avoid References to “Climate Change”

In March 2017, Politico reported that a supervisor in the Department of Energy (DOE)’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy had told his staff not to use the terms “climate change,” “emissions reduction,” or “Paris Agreement” in writing memos, briefings, or other communications.

A DOE spokeswoman indicated that the directive to avoid these terms had not come from leadership, stating “[n]o words or phrases have been banned for this office or anyone in the department.” Other DOE officials characterized it as an act of “self-censorship” with one noting that “people are doing a lot of reading into tea leaves. People are taking their own initiatives to not use certain words based on hints from transition people. Everyone is encouraged to find different ways of talking about things. There’s a sense that you’d better find a way to delink” from the previous administration’s talking points.