By Chris Martz | June 1, 2019Follow @ChrisMartzWX
It’s been nearly three weeks since The Guardian, a news organization, published an articledetailing their overhaul of environmental stories and the “language” used in them. In their articles on climate change, they are ‘advancing’ their climate change terminology. Instead of “climate change” and “global warming,” the company is now going to use “climate crisis” and “global heating” (Figure 1).
According to Damian Carrington, the author of the piece, The Guardian has updated it’s style guide with terms that “more accurately describe environmental crises facing the world. Instead of ‘climate change’ the preferred terms are ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and ‘global heating’ is favoured over ‘global warming’, although the original terms are not banned.” The editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner stated that she wants the articles published to be more “scientifically precise.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure no serious scientist (hence the word serious) is calling climate change a crisis, breakdown, or emergency. It should also be noted that all three of those terms don’t really sound very scientific to me; they sound more like something from a pre-schooler.
According to the May 17th article, these changes in terminology are in light of the notion that carbon emissions need to be cut by 2030 in order to avoid the dangers of droughts, flooding, and extreme heat, not to mention accelerating the extinction of animal species. (I’m not a biologist here, I’m actually an aspiring meteorologist, but I think the only thing that’s becoming extinct is common sense and brain usage.)
The Guardian‘s new vocabulary was also inspired by Greta Thunberg, a Swedish teenager who has invoked controversy, as she has caused who ‘knows how many’ students to skip school and protest against climate change. In a statement this past May, Thunberg said “It’s 2019. Can we all now call it what it is: climate breakdown, climate crisis, climate emergency, ecological breakdown, ecological crisis, and ecological emergency?”
No, Greta, we aren’t going to call it a climate crisis because there is simply no evidence to suggest that there is one. As meteorologist Joe Bastardi has been saying for a while, climate (weather) related deaths have been plummeting for nearly 100 years, while life expectancy has gone up (of which both are due to various reasons, including the less extreme weather we’ve seen since the Dust Bowl era).
Despite The Guardian‘s ‘powerful’ use of language (sarcasm), this aspiring meteorologist is somehow still not convinced we’re in impending climate doom!
Carrington, Damian. “Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment.” May 17, 2019. Accessed June 1, 2019. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/may/17/why-the-guardian-is-changing-the-language-it-uses-about-the-environment.