Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

First Florida, Now Wisconsin, Bans the Words 'Climate Change'

Climate
First Florida, Now Wisconsin, Bans the Words 'Climate Change'

The idea that you can make climate change go away by not talking about it is spreading.

One month ago, we heard how officials and staff at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection were ordered not to use the terms "climate change" or "global warming" even when they were discussing the all-too-obvious impacts to their vulnerable state.

The new plan is if no one ever says "climate change," it will just go away.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Now it's Wisconsin's turn. The staff of its Board of Commissioners of Public Lands (BCPL) has been told they can't even discuss climate change, no matter what they call it. Staff members aren't even permitted to respond to emails on the subject, following a vote this week by the three-member panel overseeing the agency. It includes two Republicans and one Democrat and the vote was 2-1.

“It’s not a part of our sole mission, which is to make money for our beneficiaries,” State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, a Republican member of the panel, told BloombergBusiness. “That’s what I want our employees working on. That’s it. Managing our trust funds.”

He suggested any emails relating to climate change be forwarded to the oversight board.

The Wisconsin BCPL oversees income-producing land to help fund schools and communities. The lands include some that receive income from the timber industry, which can be affected by such climate change impacts as droughts, wildfires and harmful insects.

The BCPL's own website explains that, as part of their benefit to citizens, "We contribute to Wisconsin’s sustainable timber economy, combat forest fragmentation, protect unique natural areas and secure public access to large blocks of northern forests."

Adamczyk complained at the meeting this week that BCPL executive director Tia Nelson had devoted work time to global warming. She had, in fact, done so—in 2007-2008 when she was appointed co-chair of a global warming task force by a previous governor.

"It honestly never occurred to me that being asked by a sitting governor to serve on a citizen task force would be objectionable,” she told BloombergBusiness.

Wisconsin Secretary of State Doug La Follette, who chairs the oversight panel and voted against the measure, said afterward, "Having been on this board for close to 30 years, I’ve never seen such nonsense. We’ve reached the point now where we’re going to try to gag employees from talking about issues, in this case, climate change."

Adamczyk called Nelson's participation in the task force seven-eight years ago "a waste of time." According to the meeting minutes, "[La Follette] thought it bordered on the 'edge of an irresponsible witch hunt,' which he did not want to be a part of."

NextGen Climate, which announced its "Hot Seat" campaign earlier this week to hold Republican presidential candidates accountable for their statements and positions on climate change, jumped on the incident to call out Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, considered by some observers to be a promising candidate.

"This surely comes as good news to Koch-funded Governor Scott Walker who has signaled he wants to be the candidate for the Climate Change Denial Caucus," said NextGen Climate. "Walker has signed a Koch-backed anti-climate pledge, raised money for the Heartland Institute, an organization that spreads climate misinformation, and even dislikes recycling. You can bet NextGen Climate will be putting Governor Walker on the 'Hot Seat.' NextGen Climate urges Scott Walker to lift the misguided restrictions on government workers. It is our hope that Republicans seeking the nomination for president won’t remain silent on this critical issue and will denounce these severe restrictions."

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Florida Officials Banned From Using the Terms ‘Climate Change’ and 'Sustainability'

Watch Jon Stewart's Hilarious Critique of Florida's Ban on the Words Climate Change

Hilarious Video: Florida Administrator Refuses to Say the Words Climate Change

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

This image of the Santa Monica Mountains in California shows how a north-facing slope (left) can be covered in white-blooming hoaryleaf ceanothus (Ceanothus crassifolius), while the south-facing slope (right) is much less sparsely covered in a completely different plant. Noah Elhardt / Wikimedia Commons / CC by 2.5

By Mark Mancini

If weather is your mood, climate is your personality. That's an analogy some scientists use to help explain the difference between two words people often get mixed up.

Read More Show Less
Flames from the Lake Fire burn on a hillside near a fire truck and other vehicles on Aug. 12, 2020 in Lake Hughes, California. Mario Tama / Getty Images

An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.

Read More Show Less
Although heat waves rarely get the attention that hurricanes do, they kill far more people per year in the U.S. and abroad. greenaperture / Getty Images

By Jeff Berardelli

Note: This story was originally published on August 6, 2020

If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

Read More Show Less

A film by Felix Nuhr.

Thailand has a total population of 5,000 elephants. But of that number, 3,000 live in captivity, carrying tourists on their backs and offering photo opportunities made for social media.

Read More Show Less
Scientists have found a way to use bricks as batteries, meaning that buildings may one day be used to store and generate power. Public Domain Pictures

One of the challenges of renewable power is how to store clean energy from the sun, wind and geothermal sources. Now, a new study and advances in nanotechnology have found a method that may relieve the burden on supercapacitor storage. This method turns bricks into batteries, meaning that buildings themselves may one day be used to store and generate power, Science Times reported.

Bricks are a preferred building tool for their durability and resilience against heat and frost since they do not shrink, expand or warp in a way that compromises infrastructure. They are also reusable. What was unknown, until now, is that they can be altered to store electrical energy, according to a new study published in Nature Communications.

The scientists behind the study figured out a way to modify bricks in order to use their iconic red hue, which comes from hematite, an iron oxide, to store enough electricity to power devices, Gizmodo reported. To do that, the researchers filled bricks' pores with a nanofiber made from a conducting plastic that can store an electrical charge.

The first bricks they modified stored enough of a charge to power a small light. They can be charged in just 13 minutes and hold 10,000 charges, but the challenge is getting them to hold a much larger charge, making the technology a distant proposition.

If the capacity can be increased, researchers believe bricks can be used as a cheap alternative to lithium ion batteries — the same batteries used in laptops, phones and tablets.

The first power bricks are only one percent of a lithium-ion battery, but storage capacity can be increased tenfold by adding materials like metal oxides, Julio D'Arcy, a researcher at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who contributed to the paper and was part of the research team, told The Guardian. But only when the storage capacity is scaled up would bricks become commercially viable.

"A solar cell on the roof of your house has to store electricity somewhere and typically we use batteries," D'Arcy told The Guardian. "What we have done is provide a new 'food-for-thought' option, but we're not there yet.

"If [that can happen], this technology is way cheaper than lithium ion batteries," D'Arcy added. "It would be a different world and you would not hear the words 'lithium ion battery' again."

Aerial view of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Gamboa, Panama, where a new soil study was held, on Sept. 11, 2019. LUIS ACOSTA / AFP via Getty Images

One of the concerns about a warming planet is the feedback loop that will emerge. That is, as the planet warms, it will melt permafrost, which will release trapped carbon and lead to more warming and more melting. Now, a new study has shown that the feedback loop won't only happen in the nether regions of the north and south, but in the tropics as well, according to a new paper in Nature.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods speaks during a press conference after a shooting at Forest High School on April 20, 2018 in Ocala, Florida. Gerardo Mora / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

A sheriff in Florida is under fire for deciding Tuesday to ban his deputies from wearing face masks while on the job—ignoring the advice of public health experts about the safety measures that everyone should take during the coronavirus pandemic as well as the rising Covid-19 death toll in his county and state.

Read More Show Less