A supervisor at the Department of Energy's Office of International Climate and Clean Energy told staff to stop using the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction" and "Paris agreement" in any official written communications, according to POLITICO's sources.
Senior officials apparently told DOE climate office staff that the climate-related words would cause a "visceral reaction" with Energy Sec. Rick Perry, his immediate staff and the department's White House advisers.
While a department spokeswoman denied any official language ban in the climate office or in the department as a whole, POLITICO's sources said that there is a general sense among DOE employees that such hot-button terms should be avoided in favor of words like "jobs" and "infrastructure" in light of the Trump administration's anti-environmental agenda.
Environmental groups have balked at POLITICO's report. The Sierra Club noted that the DOE only just emerged from a storm of controversy regarding climate change after its staff purge during the transition period.
"What exactly is this office supposed to call itself now? The international C****** office?" Sierra Club Climate policy director Liz Perera said. "Ignoring the climate crisis will not make it go away, will not create jobs in the booming clean energy economy, and will not make our country great."
"Rick Perry lied to Congress about climate science to get a job at an agency he wanted to eliminate, and he has started things off with a blatant dereliction of duty. The only place the climate is not changing is in the minds of those in the Trump administration," Perera added.
The former Texas governor told Congress during his confirmation hearing that "science tells us that the climate is changing, and that human activity, in some manner, impacts that change." In a 2011 presidential debate, Perry famously forgot the name of the agency he would abolish.