The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative has this screenshot taken between 5 April 2017 and 30 May 2017 of the Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay website. Numerous mentions of “climate change,” “greenhouse gasses” and other phrases related to global warming have been found to be altered or deleted. Graphic: EDGI / EPA

By Dino Grandoni
22 September 2017

(The Washington Post) – Numerous mentions of “climate change,” “greenhouse gasses” and other phrases related to global warming have been found to be altered or deleted from another portion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s website, according to a new environmental watchdog report.

At the beginning of President Trump's term, the EPA’s SmartWay program, designed to help businesses looking to lower their impact on the environment find ways of doing so when shipping goods, told visitors that “many companies monitor their carbon emissions and establish inventories or overall 'carbon footprint' to help decision makers identify the best strategies for reducing climate impacts."

But by May, those descriptions had been replaced by more generalized terms. Instead of tracking carbon emissions, firms could monitor “fuel consumption.” Instead of shrinking their carbon footprint, companies could address their "environmental footprint." Instead of reducing climate impacts, they were told they could “improve sustainability.”

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative has the above screenshot taken between April 5 and May 30.

Elsewhere on SmartWay’s website, other phrases used in climate science were deleted without replacement, with “climate change” and “greenhouse gas emissions” being dropped from a paragraph describing the environmental effects of freight transport. In one instance, the sentence “The science is clear — greenhouse gas emissions from all sources must decrease” was struck entirely from the website.

The changes were detailed in a report released Friday by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a group of nonprofits and academics who among other activities have monitored changes to federal government websites during the Trump administration.

According to EDGI, the alterations occurred sometime between late March and early May. In April, the EPA announced an overhaul of the agency’s website that included a review of “content related to climate and regulation.”

The EPA did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but in April the agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, J.P. Freire, addressed the website overhaul in a statement: “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.” [more]

The Energy 202: Climate change terms altered in another corner of EPA’s website


  1. Dennis Mitchell said...

    "News speak" at its finest.


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