Ban on Basic Science Terms Poses Potential Public Danger

Statement by UCS President Ken Kimmell

Published Mar 12, 2015 Updated Aug 21, 2019

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2015) — Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists and former commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), in response to Florida agencies being banned from using the basic, scientific terms “climate change” and “global warming” in their state work.

“State agencies, like Florida’s DEP, have a moral and legal obligation to rise above politics and remain objective. Local residents and businesses rely on the expertise of quality scientists and engineers in these state agencies, which is why their primary focus must always be to safeguard our public health, safety and environment.

“That agency staff in Florida were ordered not to discuss one of our most pressing problems is deplorable and continuing to suppress the scientific facts about climate change may even prove dangerous. According to our report "Encroaching Tides" Florida contains 40 percent of the nation’s housing units and population at risk from sea level rise, which has worsened due to climate change.

“This attempt to edit away climate change cannot be tolerated. If I had been the commissioner, I would have resigned in protest rather than abide by this anti-science decree.”