Language, George Orwell noted, is a powerful tool—one with the ability to obfuscate and confuse, to disguise plain actions with fogs of syllables and participles and suffixes. In the hands of an unscrupulous politician, it can do much in the service of nefarious goals. "The worst thing one can do with words," Orwell cautioned in "Politics and the English Language," "is surrender to them."
The government of Florida appears to be engaged in a remarkable field test of that principle. Can a staunch enough refusal to acknowledge certain words erase facts? If so, the Sunshine State will find a way. According to a report from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, officials at the state Department of Environmental Protection "have been ordered not to use the term 'climate change' or 'global warming' in any official communications, emails, or reports, according to former DEP employees, consultants, volunteers and records obtained by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting."
The state denied any such policy, but a large number of former staffers assured FCIR it was real and circulated verbally. Documents since the policy was allegedly introduced, in 2011, use phrases like "climate drivers" and "climate-driven changes." Since the policy is in dispute, there's no direct explanation for it, but the cause would seem to be Governor Rick Scott's insistence that climate change is not real.