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We need to turn up heat on climate-change deniers

We need to turn up heat on climate-change deniers

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From the department of reality evasion: The state most endangered by global warming has decided that climate change, like Lord Voldemort, is something that cannot be named.

Remember that kid in third grade who blocked out anything he didn't want to hear by sticking his fingers in his ears and saying, "la-la-la-I-can't-hear-you"?

Well, apparently, he grew up to be governor of Florida.

The Florida Center for Investigative Reporting quoted a former employee of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection as saying she and a colleague were forbidden to use the terms "climate change" and "global warming" in 2011 after Rick Scott became governor.

In the new vernacular of climate change denial, sea-level rise — to which Florida is particularly vulnerable — became "nuisance flooding."

That's like calling Godzilla a "pesky reptile."

Though the U.S. Senate now has acknowledged that climate change is real, Scott used the "I'm not a scientist" response to questions about his stance on climate change before he was re-elected in 2014.

Maybe when the "nuisance flooding" reaches his kneecaps, Scott will decide he doesn't need a scientist to realize the state has a problem.

Of course, North Carolina was actually ahead of Florida in being backward.

As I wrote in 2013, action on climate change, which had been identified as a "fierce urgency" in the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources 2009-13 Strategic Plan, was not even listed under "Important Issues" on the DENR website by June 2013.

In fact, it was difficult to find references to climate change anywhere on the website.

Asked in July 2013 about progress on plans recommended in that report, spokesman Drew Elliot said that climate change was no longer a specific focus of the agency.

Just as in the Florida example, there was an unwritten rule against using the terms "climate change" and "global warming."

"Recurrent flooding," "climate disruption" and even "the weirding of the weather" were a few of the euphemisms created to talk about climate change by organizations that had no choice but to deal with the effects.

It's past time to face this problem head on, call it what it is, and do what we can to address it in policy and practice.

Assaults continue on local governments

It's like the movie "Groundhog Day" at the General Assembly. First came the Greensboro City Council, then the Wake County Board of Commissioners and now the Rockingham County Board of Education.

Bills to redistrict all three have been filed in Raleigh this session, and two already have cleared the Senate.

In the latest assault on local government, Reps. Bryan Holloway and Bert Jones, both Republicans, filed a bill in the N.C. House last week to reduce the Rockingham County school board from 11 to 7 member. New districts would be drawn, and some at-large members would be eliminated.

Third verse, same as the first. It's right out of the playbook of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-funded lobbying group, which has widespread influence on state legislatures and now has set it sights on local government.

The battle to defeat Senate Bill 36, Sen. Trudy Wade's bill to gut the Greensboro City Council, now moves to the N.C. House.

Call, write, post on social media, and email Guilford County representatives and those in other districts and tell them Greensboro voters oppose SB 36.

You can see a full list by district on www.ncleg.net/under the section called "Who represents me?

Greensboro residents can help ensure that residents statewide know what is at stake, not just for us, but for them. With three bills already filed, it's clear that the Republican Party is launching a campaign to gerrymander local government elections, just as it did with statewide elections.

It's time to push back.

Susan Ladd's column publishes Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can read her blog, Around Town, at news-record.com. Contact her at 313-1006 or susan.ladd@news-record.com and follow her at www.facebook.com/susankladd and @susanladdNR on Twitter.

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