Just a quick one from me. This note follows Mark’s Upping the Ante from last year, in which he documented the Guardian style change that turned “climate change” into “climate crisis” or “climate emergency.”

Sometimes when looking for a particular datum you accidentally find something else interesting in its own right. The datum I was looking for will eventually contribute to a rant in these pages, so I won’t tell you what that was right now. Suffice to say that I came across a link to “climate crisis” in Wikipedia, and clicked on it. Why? Well, just to confirm that it would redirect me to “climate change”. It didn’t. There really is such a page on Wiki, where – rather than describing the collapse of the sky – the term’s history and usage is discussed.

My position on the ludicrous term “climate crisis” has been a simple one for quite a while now. It’s this: If you use the term “climate crisis” in a non-ironic way, I will not take anything else you say seriously.

Of course, users of this term do not care what I think of them. They don’t know who I am, and if they did, they would probably see my haughty judgement as a badge of honour. But what did I find when I clicked on “climate crisis”?

Well, the first thing was this:

[I didn’t follow the link to “climate apocalypse”, nor to the link lower down to “climate endgame.”]

Wiki describes what is meant by the term “climate crisis”, its “scientific basis” and its history. Then it goes on at length about the effectiveness of the term’s use, including psychological and neuroscience studies, and there is even criticism of it. Then we reach the section “Related Terminology.” Here we find the lexicon of doom itself. Below is Wiki’s list, together with coiners or notable users:

Climate catastrophe (NYT, ABC Australia, Guardian) (2019)

Threats that impact the earth (WWF) (2012-)

Climate breakdown (Peter Kalmus) (2018)

Climate chaos (NYT, US Democratic candidates, Ad Age marketers) (2019)

Climate ruin (US Democratic candidates) (2019)

Global heating (Richard Betts) (2018)

Climate emergency (The infamous “letter” in BioScience, Guardian) (2019)

Ecological breakdown, ecological crisis and ecological emergency (Greta) (2019)

Global meltdown, scorched Earth, the great collapse, Earthshattering [sic] (Ad Age marketers) (2019)

Climate disaster (Guardian) (2019)

Climate calamity (LAT) (2022)

Climate havoc (NYT) (2022)

Climate pollution, carbon pollution (Grist) (2022)


I have also caught Wikipedia using the term “climate crisis” not just in the page trying hard to discuss the term neutrally, but also, unironically, in another article. How do you think I fell through this particular trapdoor? Yes. A lazy Wiki editor linked to the “climate crisis” page, thinking that it would tell me all about just what a “crisis” we are in – rather than fairly dispassionately discuss the term itself.

Wiki is very good on some things. If you want to know what banners rode out at the battle of Grunwald 600 years ago, you’ll get a reliable answer there. And although you can’t trust it on climate change, I must thank it for providing me with the above list of juvenile attempts at raising the rhetorical temperature, together with a partial list of outlets and people that I no longer need to take seriously.

One day, when I have run out of paint to watch dry on the wall, I will begin to compile a list of my own: the list of shame of all those who have spoken about the “climate crisis” as if it is a real phenomenon. In so doing they wantonly disseminate disinformation, a sin they simultaneously and casually accuse their opponents of.


  1. Well said, Jit. Though I should add that I put you in the same bracket as Tony Thomas. You both have the capacity to impress and depress in equal measure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jit, thanks for mentioning Upping the Ante, though in fairness you were way ahead of me on all this. In Upping the Ante I really should have mentioned chapter 9 of Denierland, especially pp199 et seq.


  3. IPCC AR6 WG1 contains not a single reference to a “climate crisis” by any of the contributing authors or climate scientists.

    However, this document (Section Media coverage of climate change) shows that the phrase “climate crisis” is a media fabrication.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It seems that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has – predictably – entered its negative phase so for the next thirty years or so are going to be characterised by cooling:

    If the coincident Solar Cycle 25 behaves as some have predicted:

    Then we really will have a climate crisis, but the opposite to the ones the AGW hoaxers have predicted.

    A degree or so of warming at this point can only be beneficial, a similar decrease will be utterly catastrophic.


  5. Very helpful Jit, thanks. Interesting that you have found something good in Wikipedia just as John finds fault with Pinker for his apparent reliance on the vast encyclo-thingie. I think you both have a point, with my Good Cheer question mark hat on. And that also reminds me of Bret Weinstein’s chat with Norman Fenton and their deep dive into the good and evil of their own pages. Anyway, I entirely agree about the resultant hall of shame. And patheticness.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here’s an Ngram of various climate phrases. There wasn’t room for ‘climate crisis. and ‘climate justice’, both of which have been much more popular than the included phrases in the last two decades.


    Some of the earlier uses of some of the included phrases were used by sceptics/deniers/whatevers when objecting to alarmism. For example, Pat Michaels used both ‘climate apocalypse’ and ‘climate catastrophe’ in a book published in 1992.

    Other earlier uses weren’t actually about climate change caused by fossil fuels etc. Some, for example, were about nuclear winter or natural climate change.

    I haven’t looked at ‘global warming apocalypse’, ‘climate change catastrophe’, ‘greenhouse baking eschaton’, etc.

    So – what does the Ngram show?

    Nothing much. I just like Ngrams.

    It does help you find interesting articles, though. Here is a 1989 article called ‘Soviet climatologist predicts greenhouse “paradise”‘:


    Fred Pearce and his co-author quoted Mikhail Budyko (who was one of the first to predict global warming) thus: ‘Global warming is a good thing . It will increase harvests everywhere.’

    Climate denier! Shoot him!

    Wiki says that towards the end of his life Budyko backtracked a bit and reckoned that ‘it is very difficult to conclude with higher accuracy whether the projected global warming would be globally beneficial to human society or not’.

    That’s still climate denial, though. Shoot him again!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s another one for the lexicon – doom loop:

    “World risks descending into a climate ‘doom loop’, warn thinktanks”


    The world is at risk of descending into a climate “doom loop”, a thinktank report has warned….

    …Avoiding a doom loop required a more honest acceptance by politicians of the great risks posed by the climate crisis, the researchers said, including the looming prospect of tipping points and of the huge scale of the economic and societal transformation required to end global heating. This should be combined with narratives that focused on the great benefits climate action brought and ensuring policies were fairly implemented.

    “We’ve entered, sadly, a new chapter in the climate and ecological crisis,” said Laurie Laybourn, an associate fellow at IPPR. “The phoney war is coming to an end and the real consequences now present us with difficult decisions. We absolutely can drive towards a more sustainable, more equitable world. But our ability to navigate through the shocks while staying focused on steering out the storm is key.”

    The report said: “This is a doom loop: the consequences of the [climate] crisis draw focus and resources from tackling its causes, leading to higher temperatures and ecological loss, which then create more severe consequences, diverting even more attention and resources, and so on.”..

    I was highly dubious about the reference in the headline to thinktanks (plural), which turns out to be a single organisation, the IPPR, but I suppose getting Bob Ward to say yes, that’s right, just about justifies the plural reference (!):

    …Bob Ward, of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change at the London School of Economics, said: “This report rightly highlights the critical point we have reached, namely the increasing likelihood that global temperature will rise by more than 1.5C. This does not mean that we should abandon the target.

    “Our main aim should still be radical emissions cuts to try to avoid breaching 1.5C, but we should now also be considering what happens if we continue to fail.

    “This will mean bringing temperatures back down [and] we will have to invest in geoengineering options such as carbon dioxide removal and even solar radiation management. But it also means we will have to spend far more on dealing with [climate] damage, which will make it more difficult to make the transition to a sustainable, inclusive and resilient world.”


  8. Mark, that screed half-fills an alarmist climate terms bingo card. Absolutely no sense of the real world there.

    Vinny, I like the way that the frequency of the term “climate alarmism” seems to show that the sensible folk in Denierland have barely got a word in sideways.

    Dougie, I had read that, and assumed that by “infrared wallpaper” they mean “warm wallpaper”. This would be no more efficient than a three-bar heater (I remain to be disabused of this notion).

    Joe, I am sorry – I should have mentioned your very pertinent comment in Mark’s original thread. It certainly proves a point.


  9. Just to remind everyone how the IPCC has been long aware of the importance of the choice of language when inculcating the desired perception of risk within the public. Note this nugget, to be found in the IPCC’s AR5, as their social scientists discuss how to increase popular support for climate policy:

    “One of the major determinants of popular support for climate policy is whether people have an underlying belief that climate change is dangerous. This concern can be influenced by both cultural factors and the methods of communication (Smith, 2005; Pidgeon and Fischhoff, 2011)…The use of language used to describe climate change—such as the distinction between ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’— play a role in influencing perceptions of risk, as well as considerations of immediate and local impacts.”

    It’s all part of their concept of the ‘social amplification of risk’. The IPCC may not say anything regarding crisis and catastrophe in their scientific analyses, but there is plenty in their strategy documents to suggest that they would actively encourage the use of such terminology when communicating with the public.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. John: I’m not sure that nugget is enough to cause, or to explain, let alone to justify, the widespread terminological diarrhea that is the subject of this post. I think Joe Public is pointing to something of importance in the silence of the IPCC. And he’s not the only one. This is the major shtick of physicist Steve Koonin (there talking to Jordan Peterson a month ago). There’s no basis to be found for this overwrought language anywhere in the IPCC. We should hammer that point home

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Where do the joe public get the “climate crisis” message from.
    the MSM with sound bits from “experts” to reinforce the message.


  12. Richard,

    You’re quite right. It doesn’t explain the diarrhoea but it does explain the silence.


  13. Here’s another article with a few phrases to add to the lexicon:

    “Australia faces unprecedented grassfires next summer ‘supercharged’ by global heating
    Fuel loads that increased after heavy rain are now drying out and creating ‘powder keg’ conditions for future fires, report finds”


    Australia should prepare for grassfires on a scale not experienced before, with new analysis warning spring and summer 2023-24 could see widespread fire risk “supercharged” by the climate crisis.


    Fire authorities have said back-to-back La Niñas in eastern Australia have led to prolific vegetation growth.

    The Climate Council’s report noted fuel loads in some inland areas had a normal range of between 0.5 and 1.5 tonnes a hectare but were now between 4.5 and 6 tonnes a hectare as a result of heavy rains.

    Heatwaves and dry conditions were now turning those areas yellow and brown, creating what the report described as “powder keg” conditions for future fires.

    Liked by 1 person

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