Fred Grimm

Fred Grimm: None of this climate change stuff. Just happy talk.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks to reporters outside Hialeah’s Casa Maiz restaurant Monday.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks to reporters outside Hialeah’s Casa Maiz restaurant Monday. MIAMI HERALD STAFF

Unfair! It’s so unfair how our governor has been disparaged across social media.

As if Rick Scott was some kind of anti-science, Koch brothers sock puppet, just because his administration forbade state workers from employing — let’s face it — some pretty depressing terminology.

“Climate change” and “global warming” are not terms apt to help Floridians kick their Xanax addiction.

Just two measly terms, mind you. When it comes to state censorship, Scott’s administration is a piker compared to the Chinese Politburo, which has forbidden hundreds of search terms on the Chinese Internet including “Dalai Lama” and “sea cucumber Holothuria,” something Scott ought to consider adding to his own blacklist. What with rising sea levels, folks wading through the flooded streets of Miami Beach don’t want to be thinking about fat, black, squishy invertebrates underfoot.

Oops. Didn’t mean to type “rising sea levels.” Sorry, Gov. Slip of the keyboard.

Florida’s Great Leader might point out that in North Korea, workers aren’t allowed to indulge in any language deemed negative, which tends to keep carping about “global warming” there to a happy minimum.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting started this latest criticism of Scott reverberating through the Internet on Sunday, reporting that employees of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection had been barred from using “climate change” or “global warming” in emails, reports or official communications. For two days running, this has been a top trending story on the Miami Herald website, nearly as world-shaking (as opposed to world drenching) as the Dolphins’ acquisition of Ndamukong Suh.

In a state particularly vulnerable to the vagaries of climate, especially sea level changes, failing to account for global warming might make the Department of Environmental Protection seem like an oxymoron. But Rick “I am not a scientist” Scott clearly needed a new strategy. With 2014 going down as the hottest year on record, after 14 of the last 15 years registered as the hottest ever, denial began to seem moronic, without the oxy.

Scott couldn’t just tell his constituents, “Who cares? I’ll be out of office before things turn really nasty. Then I’ll just take my millions and move to balmy Canada.”

Obviously, censorship’s more expedient than that honesty stuff.

Besides, other government entities have done a dandy job of suppressing unwelcome information. And not just dictators in Uzbekistan and Cuba.

Since 1996, the Centers for Disease Control has been banned (through Congress at the behest of the National Rifle Association) from conducting research on gun violence. Because, sometimes, for politicians, it’s better not to know.

The Texas Board of Education demanded textbooks that deemphasize unwanted stuff about evolution and climate change. North Carolina passed a bill in 2012 that banned ban state agencies from basing coastal policies on the latest scientific predictions about sea level.

Last year, Adm. Samuel Locklear — America's top military officer in charge of monitoring dangerous situations in North Korea and China — called climate change the biggest long-term security threat in the Pacific region. “You have the real potential here in the not-too-distant future of nations displaced by rising sea level.”

Congressional deniers responded with the same forward thinking demonstrated by Gov. Scott. An amendment was attached to the National Defense Authorization Act that barred the military from using funds related to “the U.S. Global Change Research Program National Climate Assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, the United Nations’ Agenda 21 sustainable development plan, or the May 2013 Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis.”

Yet Rick Scott catches all this heat for censoring two little terms. Obviously, in a rush to judgment, the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting didn’t consider another possible explanation when the governor’s administration forbade DEP workers from uttering “climate change” or “global warming” aloud.

Scott, fun-loving guy that he is, just might be a big fan of charades.

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