Wisconsin Puts The Kibosh On State Officials Mentioning Climate Change
Following in the footsteps of Florida, the state of Wisconsin will no longer allow state officials for at least one agency to discuss climate change, say the words “climate change” or even respond to emails mentioning the words “climate change,” “global warming,” etc.
A vote on Tuesday by Wisconsin’s Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, a three-member panel overseeing an agency that benefits schools and communities in the state, enacted the staff ban on climate change. “It’s not a part of our sole mission, which is to make money for our beneficiaries,” said State Treasurer Matt Adamczyk, a Republican who sits on the board. “That’s what I want our employees working on. That’s it. Managing our trust funds.”
Adamczyk raised his concern at a public meeting on Tuesday that the board’s executive director, Tia Nelson, had spent on-the-job time working on global warming. Nelson did indeed work on climate change a bit in 2007 and ’08—at the request of the governor. Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle, who stepped down in 2011, appointed Nelson as co-chair of a global warming task force (PDF). “It honestly never occurred to me that being asked by a sitting governor to serve on a citizen task force would be objectionable,” she said.
Given that the BOCPL does business with the timber industry, climate change is actually pretty relevant to what they do. However, Nelson–whose father was the inventor of Earth Day–says she hasn’t even done any significant work on climate change in years.
When Nelson asked what it was that she was supposed to do when someone emailed her something regarding climate change, Adamczyk said that she was to forward the email to the board. Which seems like a pretty big waste of time.
It’s highly doubtful that this actually has anything to do with requiring people working for a state board to only focus on one particular thing. It seems to me that Adamczyk’s reasoning for focusing on this issue likely has more to do with the fact that he doesn’t like the idea of people talking about climate change, as a rule.
This strange trend of dealing with climate change by not talking about it ever is truly ridiculous. I really wish they could just say, instead of pretending that it doesn’t exist, or making rules about people mentioning it out loud, that they don’t care whether or not it exists. Because by the time things get really hard, they figure they’ll be dead anyway and they won’t care, and that what they do care about is lining their pockets in the present. That is the conversation we need to be having. Not this, “I closed my eyes and now I’m INVISIBLE” shit that’s going on.
Frankly, I would respect someone a lot more for saying that than I would someone saying “Oh! The only reason I’m so cool with destroying the planet is because I don’t believe in climate change! Not because I’m a bad person or I don’t care what happens to the planet!” It would at least be refreshing. [Bloomberg]