Britain's Guardian newspaper is officially changing its language concerning climate change, opting to call it instead “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown.”
Editor-in-chief Katharine Viner advised the staff in an email Friday that the phrase “climate change” should be avoided because it “sounds rather passive and gentle’ and doesn’t capture the real threat to humanity.
“We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise and rooted in facts, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue,” Viner wrote.
The new guidelines also state that a person skeptical about climate change should no longer be described as a “climate skeptic.” Instead, Viner writes, phrases such as “climate science denier” or “climate denier” should be applied.
“Increasingly, climate scientists and organizations from the UN to the Met Office are changing their terminology, and using stronger language to describe the situation we’re in,” she added in the email.
The newspaper stressed that none of the original phrases and terms are formally banned from being used in its reporting, “but do think twice before using them,” Viner wrote.
The Guardian appears to be the first publication to officially issue language guidance on climate change.
Other organizations, such as the United Nations, reportedly used different language to describe climate change. UN secretary general António Guterres spoke about “climate crisis” last year.
According to the Guardian, Prof. Richard Betts, who leads the Met Office’s climate research, said in December that “global heating” reflects better on reality than “global warming.” The Met Office is Britain's national weather service.
The Guardian’s editorial board also recently endorsed the Green New Deal, a proposal introduced by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey that seeks to transform the U.S. economy in an effort to tackle climate change.
“Humanity will run out of limited global resources long before the US runs out of dollars. Britain needs something like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal. And we need it now – before it is too late,” the newspaper wrote.