According to a report from the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI), several references to climate change have been removed from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website.
They report that the term has been replaced by the single word "climate" in five instances, with the edits taking place between June 28 and July 6 of this year.
Page titles and subheadings were the focus of the changes. “No other language changes were made and the term ‘climate change’ continues to be used in the body text of the page,” EDGI reported.
This isn't the first time these kinds of changes have been made to official government documentation. All references to climate change were removed from the White House website shortly after the inauguration of President Trump, and as of this month, they haven't been reinstated.
The edits may seem minor, but the terms "climate change" and "climate" are not interchangeable. While "climate change" refers to the recent shift in global climate patterns largely attributed to human activity, the word "climate" alone simply refers to longterm weather statistics without addressing any variation.
Those reading the revised NIH website will not have the same understanding of the issue as those who visited it before the changes were made.
At this point in time, the legitimacy of climate change isn't up for debate. A recent NASA report indicated that July 2017 tied July and August 2016 as the hottest month on record. In the past 30 years, not a single month has been cooler than its equivalent average temperature from between 1951 and 1980.
The entirety of the U.S. government isn't oblivious to the reality of the situation. Earlier this month, a report drafted by scientists from 13 different federal institutions stated that climate change is real and is caused by humans — but the group responsible for turning this research into any sort of policy was just disbanded.
The effect of the current administration turning a blind eye to the dangers of climate change could prove disastrous for our planet, and the removal of the term "climate change" from government websites will not do anything to change the reality of the situation.