The Associated Press drops the ugly climate term “denier” in their AP stylebook


From the AP Blog: (h/t to Thomas Hogg)

An addition to AP Stylebook entry on global warming

Sept. 22, 2015, by Paul Colford

The AP Stylebook editors today informed AP staff about a change to the entry on global warming. In addition, they described what goes into keeping the Stylebook up-to-date, including their outreach to experts.

AP science writer Seth Borenstein was among those who provided guidance during the discussion that resulted in today’s change, which adds two sentences to the global warming entry.

Here is the staff memo from Stylebook editors Sally Jacobsen, Dave Minthorn and Paula Froke:

We have reviewed our entry on global warming as part of our efforts to continually update the Stylebook to reflect language usage and accuracy.

We are adding a brief description of those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces:

Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.

Some background on the change: Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” That group prefers the phrase “climate change deniers” for those who reject accepted global warming data and theory. But those who reject climate science say the phrase denier has the pejorative ring of Holocaust denier so The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science.

To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.

Read more:

Statement from Anthony Watts:

Kudos to the Associated Press.
This is a positive and long overdue change. As reported back in 2007, the ugly term “global warming denier” gained traction after a widely syndicated op-ed from Boston Globe Columnist Ellen Goodman, who wrote this:
I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let’s just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future. – Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe, February 9, 2007 “No change in political climate” (non-paywalled here)
Since it has now become convention in the AP stylebook to drop the term, which is used by both AP and non-AP journalists worldwide, WUWT will also follow the convention for all of it’s stories and will no longer use the term “deniers” in any context, be it in comments, or in a turnabout is fair play situation, such as this article by Dr. Tim Ball a couple of weeks ago.
WUWT will use terms such as climate change doubters or climate change proponents to describe the polarization of opinion in the climate change debate in all stories.
Commenters are advised to adopt terms other than “denier” in any context. Let’s all hope other blogs will follow. Skeptical Science might want to revisit my modest proposal again.

329 thoughts on “The Associated Press drops the ugly climate term “denier” in their AP stylebook

  1. Hi Anthony Watts, can we shorten climate change proponents to ccp? and no more “A” or “W” words?
    I’m okay with taking the high road, it just seems odd when compared with the calls for legal action by the other side.

      • I am certain that young people today have little idea of what it was like to live through the cold war, or what it was like to live behind the iron curtain during the days of society control.
        Who would believe store shelve that were literally empty across the largest country on Earth? People hoarding toilet paper, worth it weight in gold?
        It is unimaginable. It was then even.
        Now, I think few are even informed that it occurred.

      • Mark, most college students weren’t even born when the Berlin Wall fell. With the Cold War more or less ending in 1991, a person would need to be over 30 to have much of a memory of the old CCCP.

        On a related note, I like Jerry Pournelle’s comment about the Cold War being the final phase of the 70 Year War.

      • menicholas Back in the early 1970s one of our relations from Poland managed to immigrate here (US)
        This is what he had to say, “you never know when there will be a knock on your door in the middle of the night and that will be the last anyone will see or hear of you”.
        That was real and justified fear.

      • Erik,

        The global war started in 1914 (earlier in the Balkans) is arguably still going on.

        The boundaries drawn in 1919 are still creating problems today. Russia and Turkey are trying to put their empires back together.

      • CCCP: Union of Socialist Soviet Republics. With the AGW doctrine being a neo-marxist ideology it seems appropriate enough.

      • Young folks nowdays are too busy trying to glimpse at and adjust the future to worry about the past, or what it might teach them.

      • I thought it was Committee of Concerned Climate Physicists.

        Are there still any concerned climate physicists or are all climate scientists actually statistical mathematicians.

        Well I know Dr. Roy is a Physicist, and presume that John Christy is too.

        I’m a Physicist, but not a climate scientist, nor a skeptic, or denier, or doubter.

        I’m quite convinced that some of them have some of the Physics of their models a bit screwed up.

        Such as Kevin Trenberth’s model of earth’s energy, which models the earth as a flat isothermal plane illuminated 24/7/365.25 by a sun that is straight overhead at a distance of 186 million miles.

        how do you get any climate on an isothermal planet ??

        And yes, I DO believe that CO2 absorbs some long wave IR radiant energy, in the 13.5 to 16.5 or thereabouts wavelength range. Also at some other shorter wavelengths, where it acts in reverse, to attenuate solar energy that otherwise would reach the surface to get converted to heat.


    • Honestly, what has it come to when a liberty-loving community starts discussing what words it should censor? To not use the word-that-must-not-be-spoken in ANY CONTEXT? This is appallingly Leftist behaviour (although of course completely within Anthony’s rights as the private blog owner). Please remember, context is everything. And we all know too well that it will simply lead to people substituting asterisks in place of a few letters, e.g. “F****ng D****r!” Has the history of language censorship taught us nothing? Really? I do hope Anthony will review this stance and apply some logic and reason instead of blind censorship.

      • The AP is off the rails, as is any other CAGW-loving organization, including Obama and his ilk, that demand control of the lexicon. Fortunately, they’re making abject fools of themselves.

      • I’m against any absolutes on prohibitions on the use of the term, ‘denier.’ It’s part of this debate, and far too late to cleanse it away, now. And of course the most fervent alarmists won’t heed the AP style sheet guidance. That said, of course we need to use precise and exact language, and avoid adding shortcuts and imprecision. We need to follow the rules of informal logic not to assume malice when honest mistakes can explain errors. But those heuristics don’t apply to this term.

        The term ‘denier’ is an awesome cultic indicator. That’s why I’m all for alarmists continuing to use the term. It so readily identifies them as totalitarian-inclined believers of the power of the word to preempt further debate. It shows their lack of awareness of the power of the word as a thought-stopper in their own minds. To me, it’s use defines the user of the word far more thoroughly (and more pejoratively) than it defines the intended target.

        ‘Denier’ will make a dandy search term in the future (assuming CAGW fails to materialize, as I do) and future sociologists seek to document how a large part of the world adopted its false ideas so quickly and completely.

      • It seems many, even here, are not only willing but eager to be the first to fall in line with this transparent ploy to control the conversation.

      • insisting the AP curb their use of the word “denier” is like insisting they provide a more balanced view on AGW related news – not an act of censorship – that would entail something like employing the RICO Act

      • It’s as if I wake up each day in Oceania, I swear. When the very minds that are capable of truly critical thought and reflective intellectual honesty, begin bargaining for which words we’ll agree to throw down a memory hole, the twilight of humankind is probably at hand.

        I understand the impetus, the rationalization and how people can find themselves here. Yet the very act of agreeing to ban a word from use, or to scrub them from our history even when pejorative, is an attempt to eliminate individual thought. We become the madness we despise….

      • I’m in agreement with David here.. The AP style book is for AP writers, not us. Besides, most of us are the targets of the word, not the users. Enforcing the non use of ‘denier’ keeps us from seeing who is off the rails and who isn’t. I really hate political correctness and the enforcers thereof. Please don’t join them Anthony. As others have mentioned, I don’t know anyone who denies that climate changes, and anyone who uses the term is automatically known to be lying. Let them show themselves. Forcing wolves to dress as sheep, isn’t much help to real sheep.

      • Anthony: I don’t know what your internal calculation was that led you to so quickly and completely sign on to this change in terminology. My guess is that A) you rightly view it as a slight improvement over “den eye er” and B) a change in the AP style manual has far reaching consequences and you know the value of positive reinforcement.

        But IMHO a blogger such as yourself (who seems honestly dedicated to maintaining lines of communication with the sane portions of the opposition, and trying to keep science at the forefront of the discussion) who has influence in the public sphere, should praise the AP for their tiny improvement, but not accept the term Climate Change Doubter. Think about that phrase. Does it describe you accurately in any way? The opposition’s scary predictions aren’t of climate change. They predict runaway Global Warming that is caused by humans, that is avoidable by human action, and that will be catastrophic. You are skeptical of that position.

        CAGW Skeptic.

        Insist on it. It is fair and accurate.

      • Anthony, while it may be true that many non-AP writers use that style book, there is no requirement that you use it. You are free to use those portions that help make writing coherent and readable without the unreasonable constraints the AP puts on their speech. While I agree taking the word ‘d e n i e r’ off their list of what is acceptable is a good thing, what they have replaced it with has some serious problems of different kinds. The phrase ‘mainstream science’ is a euphemism for consensus science which is not science at all. Their definition implies that doubters of mainstream science are kooks way out in the left field of a basketball court which surprisingly does not have fields. There is still a lot of work to be done. I would like to know who is who on the climate battlefield, and that bad word is a good identifier. Could you at least make an exception for when we quote others who use it on us? Not everyone follows the style book all the time and we will need to push back when that happens.

    • Climate change doubters still sound like a flat earth believer. I don’t know a skeptic (a term we should wear with pride) who denies that the climate changes over time. My doubt is that model projections should be called science.

  2. Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.

    Better would be “climate change contrarians,” because 1) it’s alliterative, so it has more zing; 2) we contrarians don’t just doubt, we disbelieve. (“Disbelievers” would have been a more accurate term.)

    Some background on the change: Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.”

    The “usurpation” of the word “skeptic” occurred with card-carrying, capital-S Skeptics like CSI members, because they aren’t skeptics, but scoffers disguising themselves as skeptics, as disillusioned CSI co-founder Marcello Truzzi charged long ago. I call them “scoftics.”

    • Marian, Marian, quite contrarian,
      How does the climate go.
      With data tweaks, and modelling geeks,
      and hockeysticks all in a row.

    • I am not doubting or in the least bit skeptical that the climate system of the Earth changes.
      I think this terminology is itself misdirection and I reject it outright.
      Climate change doubter sounds like someone who thinks the climate cannot, has not, or will not change.
      I do not even doubt that there has been warming.
      It is the reasons, the degree, and the danger that are in doubt, IMO.

      • The criminals running the Global Warming Scam usurped the term ‘Climate Change’ so all their bases are covered no matter how cold it gets. This is part of their criminal operation. We are quite happy for them to keep the words ‘Global Warming’ till the glaciers freeze over but they know they are wrong so they changed the name, stealing OUR description of the weather which is ‘It changes all the time’.

      • Exactly what I am thinking. Careful wording is a condition for proper understanding. Who of us is doubting that the climate changes?

      • menicholas:

        I am not doubting or in the least bit skeptical that the climate system of the Earth changes. I think this terminology is itself misdirection and I reject it outright.

        Climate change doubter sounds like someone who thinks the climate cannot, has not, or will not change. I do not even doubt that there has been warming.

        It is the reasons, the degree, and the danger that are in doubt, IMO.

        That’s it exactly. The totally vague, nebulous, meaningless term “climate change” is even worse than “denier”. What does it mean? It can mean anything.

        The whole debate has devolved into Orwell-speak. The side pushing the climate scare cannot use precise terms, because if they did they would promptly lose the argument. So they obfuscate with “climate change”.

      • dbstealey,

        ” … this terminology is itself misdirection … ”

        That’s the “smoking gun” so to speak, of a massive intentional fraud, which extends far beyond just climate science, to my mind. There’s no possible way that I can imagine otherwise very intelligent people in all sorts of scientific/academic disciplines, professions and institutions didn’t realize terms like “climate denier”, “climate skeptic”, “climate change” etc. etc., were/are essentially gibberish.

        Therefor I am a “mainstream science skeptic”, to say the very least.

    • “Skeptic” is a perfectly good word to describe an honest scientist in any discipline; it shouldn’t be tossed but “Denier” should definitely be.

    • Yes and “those who reject mainstream climate science” are far and few between. That
      would be like rejecting physics because you reject the notion the universe will end in ice. What I reject is the hypothesis embedded in the computer climate science models projecting strong or dangerous global warming from man made CO2 for the good reason that the real world data don’t agree with the projections. In other words I reject CAGW not climate science.

      • I simply reject the obvious overstatement of the effect which CO2 has on temperature, and the attempt to inflate it further to monger fear and sell less-than-practical energy collection devices.

    • Oh! now I can call that site “scoftical science”.
      (hmm… it won’t let me add that word to the dictionary.)

  3. These guys still can’t get over their tendency to bite on the straw man fallacy. I know of very few of the “skeptics” (now “doubters” I guess) who contest the theory of global warming. All the doubts or criticisms relate to the application of it. Of course adding CO2 raises temperature. Of course CO2 levels are rising due to man’s activity, and therefore mankind is “contributing” to climate change. So what? Qualitative statements like this are utterly useless. Absent reliable quantification of the amount of warming, all conjecture about the consequences is just that – conjecture.

  4. Does anyone know of a person who doubts that the climate changes, aside from the Mann- and Marcott-following nitwits ?

    Also, I was following a story that Seth Goebbelstein wrote on aol last week. The title kept changing, but had the word “sizzle” in it. I commented at least 50 times for a laugh, including cut and paste duplicates. I’m guessing that 48 of them were censored. The thread, last I looked, had about 1,300 comments but, following it closely, I reckon that besides mine another 50,000 comments were deleted. Deleting comments must keep Seth pretty busy these days.

    On the plus side though, AP seems to be moving in the right direction.

    • Wrong. In more enlightened times you would be sent for reeducation. Here is the received wisdom: Climate only changes by the force of evil human malintent. If not for human evil, we would all be living in paradise. Humans screwed everything up in a couple of ways.

      1) We ate the apple of good and evil, and:
      2) We burned something we dug up from under the ground, i.e. closer to HELL!

      We can return to a state of grace by returning to a pre-metal existence. Global temperatures will return to a stable paradise, as they were before we hubristically started to advance evil technology. Since then, all climate change has departed from the Mannian ideal.

      We have been bad and must be punished.

      • We were sceptical of the IPCC temperature projections and we were right. They can pick whatever label they like, all that matters is who is right.

        Consensus: saturated fats are bad for your heart.

        Before attacking this abstract look at where the funding came from. It was widely reported including by the BBC.

        Annals of Internal Medicine – 18 March, 2014
        Dr. Rajiv Chowdhury et al
        Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids With Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis
        Conclusion: Current evidence does not clearly support cardiovascular guidelines that encourage high consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids and low consumption of total saturated fats.

        Primary Funding Source: British Heart Foundation, Medical Research Council, Cambridge National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre, and Gates Cambridge.

        How could this be?

        Wall Street Journal – 2 May, 2014
        The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease
        Are butter, cheese and steak really bad for you? The dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade
        “Saturated fat does not cause heart disease”—or so concluded a big study published in March in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. How could this be? The very cornerstone of dietary advice for generations has been that the saturated fats in butter, cheese and red meat should be avoided because they clog our arteries……..

        Our distrust of saturated fat can be traced back to the 1950s, to a man named Ancel Benjamin Keys, a scientist at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Keys was formidably persuasive and, through sheer force of will, rose to the top of the nutrition world—even gracing the cover of Time magazine—for relentlessly championing the idea that saturated fats raise cholesterol and, as a result, cause heart attacks.

        This idea fell on receptive ears because, at the time, Americans faced a fast-growing epidemic. Heart disease, a rarity only three decades earlier, had quickly become the nation’s No. 1 killer. Even President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in 1955. Researchers were desperate for answers……

        Critics have pointed out that Dr. Keys violated several basic scientific norms in his study…..

      • Ouch!

        Saturated Fat and Skepticism
        …..The moral of this story is not to ignore science, but to stay skeptical. The scientific method remains the best way yet devised to ascertain truth. But the scientific establishment is hardly immune to politics, fads, bias, and self-interest. Bad science is endemic. As The Economist noted in October, “half of all published research cannot be replicated . . . and that may be optimistic.”

        Our experience with nutrition science over the past half-century should arm us with doubt about climate science too. The point is not to ignore scientific data but to treat all studies, models, and predictions with a degree of skepticism. Don’t accept the argument from authority: That the entire medical establishment endorsed the war on saturated fat did not make it true.

    • “On the plus side though, AP seems to be moving in the right direction.” I agree. Now if we could just get the AP and the rest of the main stream media (MSM) to add catastrophic or dangerous in front of climate change doubters, we would really be getting somewhere. It should be pointed out to the MSM, by people with some authority on global warming, that to claim that the climate does not change naturally is the really crazy, stupid position to take.

      • Yes. Climate Change Doubter is just as inaccurate and insulting. Catastrophic Climate Change Skeptic (or Doubter or Denier) would be fair and accurate. Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change Skeptic would be even better.

  5. This is good news, bad news today.

    Those of us who know from the scientific evidence that the alarminsts are dead wrong on the CAGW issue are Skeptics. I am a skeptic. I dispute the idea that we should not be called skeptics because we are “anti-science”. This is another form of the ongoing ad-hom.

    On the other hand, it is very good that they have ruled against the very ugly term “denier”.

    • The AP has announced this, as has our host. I am certain that the warmists who regularly call me, and every else who doubts CAGW, a denier are about to stop because Seth Borenstein said he will not use it anymore.
      How about we see how many of the warmistas stop calling everyone who questions them, a denier? My guess at this point is that the term is entrenched and will remain in widespread usage…unfortunately.

    • We are NOT ‘skeptics’ we are REALISTS.

      Seriously, look at how the scam artists have twisted this entire debate!!!

      • Doesn’t matter what ANYONE thinks, or what we call what we think either. The earth’s gonna do what the earth’s gonna do. As of now there are no signs that it intends to overheat due to CO2. For which I am grateful. The rest is just noise, like geese hissing.

      • @ goldrider, as some one that many years ago had to try and get rid of geese on a golf course I can attest the “hissing” of geese, frankly it can be terrifying and it is not just noise. You are right about the other thing you said though,
        ” The Earth is gonna do what the Earth is gonna do”.

  6. The terminology is still biased. Practically no-one who posts here doubts that climate change is constantly happening, so the term. “Climate Change doubter”, implies an unscientific rejection of a generally accepted proposition based on faith alone. If we accept this terminology, we are letting those who insist that Man is causing dangerous changes in climate take the high ground of scientific virtue when nothing could be further from the truth. I suggest that the search for neutral terminology to describe either side of the great divide is far from over.

    • Agreed. I think it would be a bad mistake for WUWT to buy into this reframing. Over at Bishop Hill I just made the point that I support climate science. I happen to disagree with the conclusions of what possibly might be the “mainstream”, and do tend to the view that they are being unscientific.

      If I had to characterise my position on the science it would be to say that I’m sceptical of the weight that others put on AGW and that I put greater weight on natural forces. But where the real difference comes is in the consequences for the assessment of the risks from climate change and the best policy prescriptions to manage those risks. That’s got nothing to do with climate science, it has to do with a whole range of other scientific and professional disciplines.

      But perhaps the debate stills starts with how well the climate science is done so we need names for the protagonists.

      Given that I’d suggest that we could perhaps be characterised as “respecters of nature” or perhaps somewhat simpler “environmentalists”.

      • Agree: This is very important and most all don’t get the implication of the change by AP, including Anthony. Remember when they changed from Global Warming to Climate Change – it was done for a reason. Changing to ‘doubter’ = most people will now view people that doubt climate change as looney (as climate always changes). You are falling into their rather insidious and intelligent trap.

        I’ve even seen on this blog where some use Climate Change and they have become used in in context of the general definition as separate from the Global Warming CO2 issue.

        Suggest: Global Warming Doubter (excise the ‘Climate Change’).

        Many of you are extremely proficient or even brilliant in science but rather dull when it comes to understanding words/phrases and how they affect the human population as a whole.

      • I agree with you and kokoda as well. It is a trap baited with “denier”. We need to push back against doubter, as they are loading the term with an anti-science implication right from the start.
        Also we need to push back against Climate Change as a replacement for AGW. Whenever we hear the phrase, remind one and all that they really mean Global Warming.

      • Ditto – Only the term skeptic or realist is accurate and precisely correct. Don’t let the AGW convinced dictate the terms. GK

      • This could be be an old (late 1950s) Chinese communist trick. Mao pretended to be softening his stance by asking for ideas for improvements to their communist system. He got many suggestions. Those people who made suggestions were rounded up for re education and executions.

      • Absolutely correct. I don’t surrender the use of any word, in any language, which will help to better define the discussion. Boringstein and company seek to capture the high ground and remove the possibility of skeptics scoring points in the debate. AP, provide immediate physiological cover to your style, lest the sun damage it.

    • Agreed. The terminology is still biased.

      And it will remain biased in favor of the proponents of AGW or CAGW until such time that entities such as the AP, UP, WUWT, etc., stipulate that anytime the terms “climate change” or ”global warming” is used to denote a specific claim or context that they be preceded by either the descriptor word “interglacial” or ”anthropogenic”.

      Such as, to wit: …. interglacial climate change (ICC), … interglacial global warming (IGW), …. anthropogenic climate change (ACC), … anthropogenic global warming (AGW), …. CO2 causing anthropogenic climate change (CACC), … or CO2 causing anthropogenic global warming (CAGW),

      And if the above verbiage is stipulated …… then the descriptor words such as skeptic, denier, doubter, disbeliever, etc. ….. still mean what they mean ….. and everyone know what is meant.

      But it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, to convince the proponents of “anthropogenic causes” to use, employ or adhere to …. the above suggested verbiage “rules”.

      • As one who is named Thomas, I believe doubting Thomas was correct to doubt, it is silly to believe things without evidence, once shown evidence Thomas believed. Show me convincing evidence of dangerous manmade global warming and I’ll believe it.
        But I agree “doubter” it is not meant as a neutral term. Realist is the term I prefer.

      • So proponents of interglacial climate change are PICCs
        and the proponents of anthropogenic are PACCs
        Anthony, can we adopt this as a standard?

    • I also am against this term’s acceptance. In no way am I a climate change doubter. In my M.S. thesis decades ago I graphed proxies from 15,000bp to present on a locale – and in no way do I doubt climate changes. This is another trap utilizing obfuscating terms.

  7. I have no doubt that climate changes but am a weather data denier.
    The misuse of data by folding, mutilating, in-filling, torture until it confesses statistics is what I cannot believe, amply demonstrated by the rebuttals placed on this site.

  8. Equivocation fallacy/misnomers are big in pseudo sciences. They are big in climastrology, too. Obviously, very few people deny/doubt climate changes… unless of course they deny that climate changes without human influences, but they do not mean those, that is very acceptable :)

  9. Darwinist. natural selection, natural change. call us what we are
    everything changes, the seas, land, the planets the sun.
    No one here rejects main stream science, merely one small theory, which has mutated into a social issue driven more by emotion rather than intellect.

  10. Maybe some of the true believers are beginning to have doubts. If CAWG were written in stone, there wouldn’t be a need to change the phraseology.

    • It is worse: the global warmists want to cool down the planet to where it was during the Little Ice Age! Seriously. They claim that the warm weather of say, the 1930s was evil. They want it colder and note how they screwed around with the data making the 1930s much colder.

      These criminals are insane. And like previous insane rulers of our fate, think nothing of killing of millions and millions of people for really stupid ideologies.

      • I read a book about Mao Zhehdong. He killed over 90 ( ninty) not a typo million people. Pol Pot in Cambodia killed 12 million. The only ideology I can see was to murder people. They did it by using cute slogan and somebody to blame for their problems. Do you have a little capitalist in your heart? If they make it illegal to question questionable science, the next question will be, do you have a little deiner in your heart? And you will be required to write your sins down, because we all know that you will be thinking of lighting a fire when it’s 20 below zero f. So if you die from the cold you will have saved the planet! Saved it from what?

  11. While completely accepting your stance on the issue I personally prefer the term ‘skeptic’ because that’s exactly what I am, as per the definition quoted above. As a professional scientist I absolutely reserve the right to be skeptical about any scientific issue whatsoever! And I don’t accept the claims of any organisation to demand exclusivity of a term any more than MacDonald’s has to enforce farcical trademark on a catchphrase.

    A scientist by nature as well as by profession, I can annoy friends and colleagues if they try to use the authoritarian argument tack on any number of issues and I simply respond with, “Really? Show me.” or “Explain it to show your own understanding of the issue and the basis of your conviction.” Almost invariably they can’t. Proof to support an argument? Apparently it’s not required….
    All I’m asking for is a well-reasoned position based on real evidence if they’re so vehement about their cause. Surely that could be expected?

    Likewise on the issue of CAGW I’m very much yet to be convinced – therefore skeptical. Proudly and without reservation.

    My thoughts on climate science are still forming as there are so few people actually conducting any. Or publicly making it into the mainstream against the tide anyway…
    The agitprop is pretty transparent though and any ‘peer-reviewed paper’ that can be taken apart by independent scientists so swiftly within days of publication…well…hasn’t really been peer-reviewed has it? But most here already know that. ;-)

    Therefore I remain a SKEPTIC !

    On a related note, I very much look forward to Dr Chris Evans’ reworking of basic climate model. You can bet his work will be peer-reviewed in earnest…

  12. The Ellen Goodman quotation: “I would like to say we’re at a point where global warming is impossible to deny” reminds me of the confident assertions of the Malleus Maleficarum written in 1486.
    “These instances must serve, since indeed countless examples of this sort of mischief could be recounted. But very often men and beasts and storehouses are struck by lightning by the power of devils; and the cause of this seems to be more hidden and ambiguous, since it often appears to happen by Divine permission without the co-operation of any witch. However, it has been found that witches have freely confessed that they have done such things, and there are various instances of it, which could be mentioned, in addition to what has already been said. Therefore it is reasonable to conclude that, just as easily as they raise hailstorms, so can they cause lightning and storms at sea; AND SO NO DOUBT AT ALL REMAINS ON THESE POINTS.”
    (Capitalization, mine).
    Last time I looked up “eugenics” on wikipedia, it was introduced as, “the now discredited theory of eugenics”. Discredited perhaps, but is it wrong?
    Apparently, we now live in an age when scientific theories will be accepted or abandoned based on their likeability, popularity or usefulness for the furtherance of political agendas.
    For the post-modern relativist, objective reality is non-existent. Apparently, reality is constructed using words. Perhaps for the post modern scientist the real-world is now a construct only existing in computer models and in the deranged mind of Mike Mann.
    And if the UAH dataset disagrees, then ignore the dataset and lambast Christy.
    And if no CAT3+ smake landfall in ten years then, stop counting and attack Pielke Sr (and force Pielke Jr to stop talking about climate altogether).
    Hurrah, for the powers of the inquisition to suppress and silence their critics.
    Whether any of what I have just said is true or bears any resemblance to reality is uncertain.
    But, I do wish to idly claim that – NO DOUBT AT ALL REMAINS ON THESE POINTS.
    Disagreement will and must be discredited and silenced.

  13. You’re a Believer if you either haven’t seen the available climate data or have simply chosen to ignore it. These people believe in (C)AGW/climate change/climate disruption/carbon pollution or whatever else bad because they want or need to believe. The availability of more data disproving all of that bad human caused climate stuff will not remove their belief system. On the other hand if you have seen the climate data and accept it then you are a Disbeliever. Thus you can be either a Believer or a Disbeliever. I get accused of being a Disbeliever and am proud of it.

  14. Though the word has been used earlier in terms of a type of argumentation and David Suzuki was using the term in 2001, skeptic was the main term being used on forums until this little dialogue in Deltoid from 2004 which seems to have launched the d-word into the blogosphere as a label – Eli Rabett (#19) introducing it and William Connolley being first supporter, and within six months it had become the default alarmist term of abuse. Now look on Wikipedia and see who’s been promoting the term in the Talk sections…

  15. Well done Anthony. I believe you deserve a lot of credit. I think that the demise of name-calling in the AP style book may well have been a consequence of the great influence of wattsupwiththat and your civilised and unvindictive approach to debate throughout the years that you have run this blog.

    • Except AP is still calling us names. They should drop the entire business and call everyone ‘scientists who disagree about various things’. Disagreeing about science is part of science. Nothing is written in stone even if many believe it is written in stone.

      Anyone looking at the history of science can see that it is this long, long, super long debate between various people about how nature and the universe operates.

    • @ Panda: You miss the point. The point is that Anthony is introducing censorship into what has until now been a great blog for open, adult discussion. Once one censors a word regardless of context one reduces the audience to the role of children who are told what words they’re allowed to utter. I will bet you anything that all that will happen is people will type “d****r” or “The D Word” instead. What the hell is the point in that?

  16. Unfortunately the so-called Center for Skeptical Inquiry morphed in the mainstream science lovers fanboy club, and in the process has ceased to take a skeptical approach to examining claims regards man’s influence on the climate and weather.
    That’s why these guys all got into a big funk when the CSI co-founder James Randi announced that he held a skeptical position regarding this topic.
    Here out of interest is James Randi’s essay. It is also easy to find the outraged reaction of the appalled self-styled skeptics in his group, who were deeply shocked by the skepticism of their master skeptic.
    Since they now deign that skepticism must have clear and precise limits.
    If anyone from CSI is reading this, then can we please have a list of what we are allowed to be skeptical about. How about modern psychology, pharmaceutical research, social sciences, nutritional science? Are these areas all “official established science”, which is infallible?
    How will we know what we are allowed to be skeptical about and what is in their opinion, establish FACT?
    So, a detailed list is needed, immediately.
    And then, are we to be skeptical of the contents of the list?
    Or, will the list also be infallible?
    I’m sorry to point this out, but defining skepticism as having only a small number of legitimate targets, is silly childish nonsense.
    Here’s the Randi essay that caused the big stir:

      • Same here. Once they jumped on the Amazing Randi for having a skeptical view on CAWG, and his subsequent backtracking, I lost all respect for all of them. And they lost what little $ I used to give to them for magazines, etc.

        I guess they’ll just have to scrape by on the $ they are getting from many of the same foundations hyping warming (and living with their hypocrisy).

      • Climate liars, and climate realists, may be a useful alternative to the now black listed terms.
        I have a comment in moderation for the past hour because I used the word being discussed.
        Many above have noted that this whole thing announced by the AP is another attempt to control the conversation, by controlling who can say what, and when.
        It makes me sad to think of how damaging it may be to honest dialogue to fall into this trap…here of all places.
        By the AP announcing this, they may have calculated that the rubes and dupes that they suppose us to be will fall in line, while most on the CAGW side will not.
        The net result will be a hobbling of our ability to communicate our thoughts and respond appropriately and effectively to those who lie and cheat for a living, and to those who are merely sadly mistaken and astoundingly unscientific.

  17. “WUWT will use terms such as climate change doubters or climate change proponents to describe the polarization of opinion in the climate change debate in all stories.”

    I’m sorry, Anthony, but I think that’s appalling.

    I’m proud to be a sceptic. Scepticism means that you base everything on evidence, data and proof. Scepticism is the opposite of gullibility. The very basis of science is scepticism. The ancient motto of the Royal Society is “take no one’s word”.

    We should be proud to use the word “sceptic”.

    • I fully agree. Skepticism is a state of a healthy mind and a noble one at that. I’m sceptic as long as I’m not convinced. I’m not sceptic about climate change, I’m sceptic about any kind alarmism and I deny any exaggerated conclusion drawn from uncertain data.
      Speech control will be followed by thought control, thought control will lead to RICO legislation. I don’t agree with Anthony, all the more because apologists will not feel compelled to adhere to it, in the contrary they will continue to use the word “denier” BECAUSE sceptics want to ban it.

  18. I can see the objection to calling us just “sceptics”. It does imply that those who are scared of AGW are both gullible and not sceptical, e.g. not real scientists.
    That’s also partisan.

    So a better name would be “Climate Change Impact Sceptics”. That’s true and descriptive.
    And it doesn’t distinguish between those who think the world warming isn’t a big problem and those who think we’ve no reason to expect the world to warm.
    Which is the broad grouping that our opponents need to make when speaking.

    Unfortunately, “Climate Change Impact Sceptics” is only accurate. It is not brief.
    Can anyone phrase the idea more simply?

    • “Climate change contrarians” implies that we we disagree that there will be dangerous impacts, which is the core position of the climate change consensus.

      • Isn’t the core issue that of the cause (man or not) and magnitude (dangerous or trivial?)
        That suggests we need a substitute for “CAGW skeptic” that the general public would understand.

    • I have to say I don’t believe in banning any words being used by individuals is constructive. I doubt anyone who reads this site can be reasonably described as a “climate science doubter” or a “climate change doubter” both are highly inaccurate descriptions of our position on this issue. We are, of course a broad church, indeed we have our own heretics in the sky dragons, but the one immutable fact is none of us deny climate change, or climate science. We question the science e.g. UHI effects, feedbacks, unknowns being glossed over by the climate science community etc. but we don’t deny it. We question the supposed catastrophic effects of climate change and their social impacts but none of us question climate science or climate change.

      We might just as well be called Times Square Doubters as Climate Science/Change Doubters, and in there is the nugget of what the problem is. AP and other media outlets globally don’t actually know what the sceptical position is and see us as a group of people who doubt a reality – if we were such a group, then indeed “deniers” would be the right name for us. It has never been the word “denier” that has been my issue, (in fact I take the use of the word as an indication that the user has no sound arguments), it is the use of climate change/science that is offensive, it portrays us as nutters/flat-earthers and indeed irrational deniers. That’s when Seth Borenstein seems to be comfortable with the resultant change from AP, it still keeps the word “denier” implicitly. You can’t doubt Times Square without being a “denier”.

      • Geronimo – they are just reporters. Some may have a degree in journalism, but odds are they never took high school physics or even chemistry if they had the ability to opt out. They probably can’t even do a graph – well maybe with a graphing calculator. Most of them only have a 10 second sound bite mentality.

        That’s probably rude, but having associated with a few journalists, they have quite a different mind set from the engineering fraternity – which I am part of and we all have seen the many sites of “engineering jokes” (which in many cases are not far off the mark). But it makes us understand limitations. We can use Newtonian Physics because they work for us even though special relativity may be the more correct theory. But since we are not worrying about bending light or whether time has changed or whether light is a wave or a photons, in most simple work on this planet, Newtonian Physics works just fine. Many models used in engineering only work within specific limits. I am not sure the GCM makers understand their limits.

        I deny that I deny climate change.

  19. It is really strange calling someone a ‘climate change denier’ when the one thing they don’t deny is that climate changes. I prefer ‘sceptic’, since scepticism is an essential part of the scientific method.

    But control of the language is very important. In George Orwell’s fictional tale, a future totalitarian government introduced a new language called Newspeak which made it impossible to express unwanted ideas because the language simply wasn’t available. You notice this tendency in today’s politically-correct vocabulary where the argument against someone often focuses on the words they used and not the actual logic of the argument.

  20. I think the new name, “Paris-ites” should be used to describe the Climate Catastrophists. The name: “Normal people going about their business” could well describe the rest of us. Not catchy, I know, but when did sensible normal people need a catchy title?

  21. So you accept this crap….“proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.”
    You accept that you are not a “proper” skeptic? None of the articles written for this site “promote scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason”?

    Accepting their terms is a load of crap and simply casts you as wanting to maintain political correctness. In leaving the loaded term behind, they basically told you you have no basis in science, and for some reason you agreed.

    • have to agree.
      I am PROUD to call myself a Skeptic, I am and will remain so on everything , not just AGW.
      seems almost every day things I was told were 100% correct n true and the best science/advice/data etc etc said so..get proven not to be so.
      some of the “best medical advice” damn near killed me as one personal reminder to never trust totally.

      • I would rather leave off commenting on WattsUpWithThat than to sacrifice my freedom of speech on the alter of political correctness. I also am proud to be a skeptic in ALL that I hear.

    • GaelanSClark has raised a point that is hugely important. By following AP recommendations, A W, you are effectively putting a gag on the very science you promote. Those that are data-free have wanted to silence this site for years and you’re just letting them lead you where they want you to go? You will be damaging yourself and your reputation beyond repair if you fall for this manipulation.

  22. “Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.”

    “To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.”

    From the above two paras, We should ask “AP Associate Press” — Do you really know what is global warming and what is climate change or climate science? Before you make statements like those two paras, you must get training in climatology and meteorology.

    Global warming is a insignificant component of climate change. No climate scientist around the world denied climate change or climate science. We are only questioning the global warming.

    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

    • I agree Dr. Reddy.
      One of the more egregious aspects of this whole mountainous debate is that people who seem to know nothing about actual climatology or meteorology or Earth history, are somehow conferred with great respect and deferential obeisance and given the title of “climate scientist “.
      What is referred to by these people as “mainstream climate science” is nothing of the sort.

  23. Those who use the term “denier” really show themselves up as unscientific faith-driven believers. There is at least serious evidence that there has been no warming for 18 years despite increasing co2 levels, so having doubts or at least demanding more evidence is not irrational.

  24. After nearly a decade of being unconsciously associated with the stigmatic term holocaust deniers, a major MSM outlet sniffs which way the wind is blowing and decides to bend over backwards via some tortious reasoning to go back to plain civility.

    Welcome though such a development is, no matter how overdue, I see it as no reason for us to get tangled up in a jungle of PC vocabulary re-rigging. It smacks too much of some grovelling at-last-some-recognition.


    • Agreed.

      More likely than not, the suggestion by the AP is because some in the Alarmist / Activist camp are belatedly realising that use of the term “denier” is backfiring among the general public; it is therefore a TACTICAL step, not one reflecting any self-criticism.

  25. I am not a “climate change doubter”. Indeed, I am the very opposite : I know for sure that climate changed, changes, and will change. All this, without any significant global human influence (as opposed to local human influence, that can be tremendous : for sure, when Man cuts forests, drains swamps, build dams and cities, this indeed changes climate)
    CAGW zealots ARE “climate change doubter”, as they doubt that nature alone explains the whole thing.

    Likewise, I DO NOT “reject” mainstream climate science. Some facts I accept (that more GHG means somewhat less outradiation, for instance) ; other parts, I reject because I KNOW that they are neither mainstream nor science. It is not “mainstream” to forge new statistical methods relevant only to climate analysis, it is not “science” to model a chaotic process such climate within a perturbation theory framework (especially using so scarce data ans so many parameters), to change data, etc.
    I deny the existence of a thing called “mainstream-climate-science”. I see it as pseudoscience, not mainstream, and relative to politics, not climate.

    So how AP should call proponents of both sides, without “name calling” ?
    On one side , those that believe ALL of the following
    1) unusual global warming happens
    2) because of man’s GHG
    3) it is catastrophic
    4) to cope with it, we must cap humans’ GHG emissions at some very low level, lower than the level of, say, 1960 (as opposed to : simply deal with whatever happens)
    On the other side, those disbelieve any one of those.

    I would say that we disagree upon “climate politics” (NOT “mainstream climate science”)
    Some “accept”, “promote”, “support” or “believe in” it. Others, like me, “reject” or “disbelieve” it

    • Dear paqyfelyc,

      Yes, Yes, Yes; I agree with your every sentence !

      Anthony: I do hope you are reading this … AND … let me just say that we all admire your blog-site. It gives us more hope than you can imagine.

      PLEASE try to think this way (bear with me).

      You, Anthony; have the power to demoralize, OR to really enliven us with “THEE” most distinguished website on the planet !

      Do please think of your work in this way (in golfing terms) if you will.

      We golfers “admired” Jack Nicklaus (because of his achievements) however; we all “loved” Arnold Palmer !

      Arnold had ALL THE INGREDIENTS to enthuse his audience with style, charisma, passion, flare, talent, timing and a smile that could light up your life.

      You can’t get THAT at Associated Press can you ?


  26. All scientists are skeptics. If they aren’t, then they aren’t truly scientists, they are pseudo-scientists.

  27. We are skeptics.
    adjective: sceptical; adjective: skeptical

    not easily convinced; having doubts or reservations.
    “the public were deeply skeptical about some of the proposals”
    synonyms: dubious, doubtful, taking something with a pinch of salt, doubting;

    The mercenaries at Skeptical Inquirer (a tiny group that sold out over climate long ago)
    Do not deserve any say in this.
    I *doubt* if this is a step forward.
    Doubters are easier to marginalize and dismiss than skeptics.

  28. They might do better at outreach to climate experts once they realise which of the so-called experts are giving them a climate reach around.

  29. As a sceptical scientist I don’t mind being called a ‘climate skeptic’ but I would certainly object to being referred to as a ‘climate change doubter’. So I hope Anthony at least will not be using this misleading term.

  30. Doubters is rubbish. Science by its very nature is sceptical, otherwise it does not advance.
    So it shows AP is still running a propaganda war, but they are wavering in their war.

  31. Let them use their little hate words, at least it is easy to not bother to read/listen to their tosh. Let people be uncivil. Any halfway intelligent person just uses their attitude to rate their credit as a ‘witness’ to the matter at hand. Why take anyone seriously who cannot put together a set of articulate, thoughtful and respectful sentences.

  32. I also applaud the banishment of the term “denier” . But I am a skeptic.

    non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims

    Then they turn right around and tar us with the anti-science brush.

    The Associated Press prefers climate change doubter or someone who rejects mainstream science

    Right off the bat, they associate “doubter” with someone who rejects science. That is just as bad, and just as loaded a characterization. If “doubter” is going to be carried forward with this pejorative implication, we will have to push back on this one, as well.

    I an a skeptic. I am also an analytical chemist with a specialization in applied spectroscopy, it would be a personal insult to characterize me as rejecting science, mainstream or otherwise.

    There is one thing that makes this not quite so bad. Back in college, the journalism majors could not even read the titles of our textbooks. One day, I had my spectroscopy text, “Instrumental Methods of Analysis” with me, and a journo major inquired “How do you like your music course?”.

    • I am a skeptic.

      Low Information Type: “But if you are a skeptic, shouldn’t your opinion be the same as those people at that skeptical science website? That’s a good skeptical, unbiased site, isn’t it?”

    • Tony. Isn’t it amazing that the people who least understand how anything in this world works, want to run it?

  33. CO2 Climatology Doubter- sounds a much more apt descriptor. Doubter that its all CO2 and similar radiative absorbers decree the entire climate systems. Original term assumes government and green NGO is mainstream probably not in the larger climate science community- only in the louder parts of it.

  34. Sure, lets have the Ministry of Language rule on PC /sarc

    don’t forget –
    Climate Science vs Climate Socialism

    97% of socialists agree, the socialism is settled

  35. I applaud the removal of the term “denier”, primarily for its similarity to the term “Holocaust Denier”. But there is nothing wrong with being called a skeptic; in fact, everyone should be a skeptic – especially in the face of extraordinary claims and when confronted with draconian political measures whose ostensible justification is the mitigation of some tbd future disaster.

    However, one must be precise about what is being disputed by the skeptics, and why.

    The skeptic’s view is by no means monolithic, but I believe the following summarises it fairly well:

    – unconvinced that current and projected levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are threatening or even detrimental to the climate on earth, or that human-caused climate change may even be quantified separately from natural effects.
    – unconvinced that the mild warming observed over the past half-century is anomalous for the Holocene and/or that it represents a dangerous trend.
    – unconvinced that CO2 is a “pollutant”.
    – unconvinced that measures proposed by the IPCC and multiple “mainstream” organisations (a concerted reduction in collective human CO2 emissions) will have a detectable effect on climate.

    Thus skeptics question key assumptions made by mainstream / establishment climate science, based primarily on the lack of these assumptions having been validated or verified. They would therefore be most accurately described as “Global Warming Skeptics” with the term “Global Warming” implicitly meaning “Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming” (as opposed to merely the observed 20th Century Warming, which may have been caused in part by an increase in CO2).

  36. I don’t believe the case has been made for catastrophic manmade global warming caused by CO2 emissions.

    climate change is an entirely different subject.

    I don’t accept the attempt to co-opt language:

    22 Sept: Poynter Institute: Kristen Hare: AP memo: Instead of climate change skeptics, use ‘those who reject mainstream climate science’
    Here’s the full climate change entry:
    “global warming The terms global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably. Climate change is more accurate scientifically to describe the various effects of greenhouse gases on the world because it includes extreme weather, storms and changes in rainfall patterns, ocean acidification and sea level. But global warming as a term is ***more common and understandable to the public”…ETC ETC

    ***since when has “global warming” been more common in the MSM? not for years. best the MSM return to AGW or MMGW when they write about the subject.

  37. Anthony … while I agree that elimination of “deniers” from the AP play book is a positive step, I also agree with the posters above who feel “doubters” to be equally wrong and inaccurate. The people who “doubt” climate change exists are few. And the difference between deny and doubt is small.

    I do not believe you/we should allow the AP or any other to attempt to dictate how our position is described. We are SKEPTICS … we are not “doubters” about climate change – in fact almost all of us believe climate change is real and natural.

    Rather we are “skeptical” of the claims made, and science behind, the proponents of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming.

    My vote is praise the effort – but criticize the performance … the result. Adopt the AP style book position of eliminating “denier” … but reject their label of “doubter” as little better than the term ‘denier” in describing the real beliefs of the vast majority of the skeptic community.

    I respectfully suggest and encourage you/we adopt the term climate change “skeptic” and “proponent” as the WUWT style book terms. As a community we should lead the discussion on this topic, onm the label other apply in describing our position and beliefs … and not allow others to define and “label” us with their terms.

    This is a big issue – AP should have reached out to the “skeptic” community in some fashion – even if privately to a few prominent members – to gather input and advice, before making this decision.

    To be clear I commend Seth Borenstein, who I rarely agree with, and the AP for the effort, but offer constructive criticism for the decision on the label they chose, which is only marginal better. It is still highly inaccurate as to reflecting the actual beliefs of the skeptic community. .

  38. Anthony. Let me add my voice to the dissent. I have NO doubt that climate changes. As such the term climate change doubter is as much a lie as denier. If you want a term to describe people who find the methods of the few objectionable, I suggest Free Thinker. Free thought is becoming a casualty in this war. Don’t let the other side dictate what you are to think or how you can express what you think. I don’t. That is why I embrace the term denier. When someone calls me one, it is easy to show that they are wrong. If they continue, it becomes increasingly clear to others observing the debate that they are lying.

  39. They changed “global warming” to “climate change”, then dropped the “catastrophic anthropogenic” qualifier. Poor style. The ambiguity was selected and progressive confusion was inevitable.

    The Fourth Estate continues to betray its objectivity, and acts as a lobbying group for its own peculiar special interests.

    I suppose as long as they cannot establish a monopoly, then this is just a common human enterprise, without special privilege or other leverage to distort/corrupt the market.

  40. You can parse this six ways to Sunday to try and figure out the intent of AP, but anytime you replace one word that has a powerful negative connotation with a phrase it’s an indication that you’re becoming more unsure of the subject matter, and your own intent as a writer. It’s a form of waffling that has a powerful effect. If you don’t believe me you can contact the Cornell University Reference Desk and get a copy of E.B. White’s original draft of Charlotte’s Web, then compare it to the final version. The emotion comes through in the final version due to the use of simple, more powerful, verbs.

      • What are most here skeptical of?

        “CAGW Skeptics”, from lukewarmists to sky dragons.

        Anthony, insist on that and Nothing else. Do not let alarmists frame your debate. We are CAGW skeptics, and we INSIST on being called what we are!

        Those who disagree are CAGW proponents. They wish to force the world to accept their view.

  41. Perhaps the real problem is with the term “climate change”. It has become code for “catastrophic anthropogenic global warming” (CAGW). The CAGW hypothesis is almost certainly wrong and I suspect that it is, in fact, NOT mainstream science. Much of what CAGW relies on is, indeed, mainstream science, but the part that matters (the existence of positive feedback) is not. Mainstream science does not support the notion that positive feedback exists in the climate system.

    EXAMPLE: It is almost certain that it was warmer during the various climate optima in the current interglacial. In other words, we do not have to worry about an imminent tipping point. That is mainstream science. There are a few doubters, such as Dr. Mann but they are not the mainstream.

    The above example raises the question of who qualifies as a CAGW skeptic. In this case, I would say that historians qualify. A historian could assert that Dr. Mann’s science (sic) is wrong because it contradicts the historical record. A certain group of scientists should not be able to hijack the term “skeptic” and disqualify everyone else from using it.

    As many other posters have pointed out, almost nobody except Dr. Mann doubts that the climate changes. The Associated Press has the problem of describing a complicated thing in a simple way. It can’t be done.

  42. I disagree that the Associated Press should be congratulated for making the change. All they’ve done is replace an ugly word with euphemisms. We don’t doubt climate change or reject mainstream climate science; we question the validity of the data, the speculations touted as fact, the taking of model projections as reality, and the hijacking of scientific inquiry. The AP is only half way there and while they may deserve some credit for moving away from the pejorative label, they need to correct, not merely politically correct.

    • I agree. A bit of journalistic integrity would go a long way. For instance, for every pro-warming statement, a response by somebody that doesn’t have both fore-hooves in the trough is needed.

  43. Names are important. May I propose a much simpler and easier terminology to understand:
    Instead of “climate change proponents” try “rent seekers” if you think they are real proponents. If simply a me too-er, then “sheep” (Lewandowsky, anyone?)

    Instead of “climate change doubters” or “skeptics”, try “thinkers” or “people who can think for themselves”.

    • Good But nothing was wrong with skeptic. We are just as much skeptics as these groups who say they are “real skeptics” are. Most, if not all of those who the AP calls “real Skeptics” have never looked at the science at all.

  44. Does “Mainstream Climate Science” even deserve to use the term “Science”?
    “Orthodox” would be a better word than “Mainstream”.
    So “Believers in Orthodox Climatology” would best describe the Alarmist Group.

    So “Climate Modelling Believers” or “Orthodox Climatology Believers”: CMBs or OCBs
    And “Skeptics of Climate Modelling ” or “Skeptics of Orthodox Climatology”: SCMs or SOCs

  45. So, only someone who is not skeptical of “mainstream climate science” can call his/herself a skeptic?
    And this is because it offends an insignificantly small group of “skeptical scientists” who are offended that many credible scientists are skeptical of mainstream climate science? Balderdash!
    I will, however, follow Anthony’s lead on this very fine site.

  46. I think AW has done another mild but serious error (LOL). To oblige people here not use “skeptic” is absolutely ridiculous.

    • Eliza, you are certainly most welcome to go rant with abusive language all you want at Steve Goddard’s place, where such things are not just common, but a feature. And, I’ve not obliged anyone here to not use the term “skeptic”, only “denier” in comments.

      Commenters are advised to adopt terms other than “denier” in any context. Let’s all hope other blogs will follow.

      Get your facts straight before making accusations.

      • @ Anthony: “In any context.” What is so evil about any word “in any context”? As I said earlier: censorship IS denial.

  47. Which better describes the individuals that frequent this site?

    doubt – to be undecided or skeptical about: began to doubt some accepted doctrines.

    skeptic – a person who questions the validity, authenticity, or truth of something purporting to be factual,

  48. I believe that Anthony Watts is so anxious for even the smallest bit of courtesy from our Rulers that this crumb being tossed to him is happiness.

    I, on the other hand, see the claws holding the bread and know that they are still attacking us viciously and maliciously and they still will not include any number of very real, respectable scientists who dispute the entire global warming theology, in any stories about global warming.

    They are still utterly locked out of the news cycle and are not interviewed every time a climate hysteric yells about how we are going to roast to death. The doors are still very much locked, the conspiracy to impose draconian taxes on the air we exhale are going to be set in steel in Europe in November and we are all going to pay these crooks through the nose for the privilege of exhaling.

    Note how the Pope who is screaming that we are going to roast to death is flying all over the world now! And the warmists will be flying in and out of Europe screaming that flying is evil and driving cars is evil and being warm is evil and that the Little Ice Age was the perfect climate.

    These criminals continue to lock us out of the media and call us names and Anthony fell for this thinking that calling us a new dirty name is ‘progress’. IT IS NOT.

  49. Like some comments above, it isn’t a climate change proponent, it is a catastrophic anthropogenic global warming proponent. And it isn’t a climate change doubter (or denier), it is a doubter of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. I personally doubt there are many that believe that there hasn’t been climate change occurring since the industrial revolution nor are there many that doubt climate change will continue in the future. The AP change changed the wrong word, which really doesn’t change the meaning. It isn’t so much the term doubter (or denier) that offends me; it is the linking of that doubt to climate change itself that is offensive. Using the acronym, I much prefer CAGW proponent, or CAGW doubter.

  50. I agree with avoiding using “denier”, but I have no problem with “skeptic”. The real problem is calling “climate science” science.

    • Agreed.

      Personally, I consider sceptic to be a much better word, since I for one am as sceptical about every argument ran against the proposition that there is no AGW, as I am against those arguing in favour of AGW.

      This should be a science. Sceptic is a stance to be taken in science. That is the root of the scientific method. Doubter makes it look like a one way street. Willis is a sceptic of AGW, but look at how sceptic he is about the impact of the sun as being a significant driver.

      People (or MSM) do not understand that being a sceptic is a two way street. Not accepting anything without seeing the underlying data and considering its weaknesses and veracity, and the reasonable conclusions that can be drawn therefrom. Doubter on the other hand subtly conveys the subjective impression that one holds only one position, namely against everything posited by Climate Change Promoters.

      Nonetheless the revision to the language being used by MSM is to be welcomed.

      • It is far worse, for it is propaganda to insult you as someone who doubts climate change.

        You do not doubt climate change. You are a CAGW skeptic. Insist on nothing else.

  51. This sounds like Vatican speak. Maybe science fact checkers and science process will make it to the terminology list in a few decades or centuries.

  52. I rather like the term “skeptic.” All good scientists are skeptical about any theory, hypothesis, or observation, especially their own.

    I’d like to see how (if) this plays out in blogdom before committing to the new terms. I know SkS won’t have anything to add to the debate, but Joe Romm might have an interesting musing or two. Roy Spencer and Judith Curry will likely have the most level headed responses.

  53. Im just not a big fan of the labels no matter what they are. I prefer that those who are doing research on climate be referred to as scientists. Some of them may be doing good research and some not so good. Then we let the scientific method and peer review sort it out. In the end they are still scientists.
    The labeling does not advance the discussion.

  54. To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.

    This is crazy – lumping these two disparate groups into an umbrella term is every bit as insulting. Why can they not be called climate scientists just like they do the nutter alarmists?

  55. I believe that “those who reject mainstream climate science” is a far more insidious phrase than “climate denier”, or “Climate skeptic” ever was. It implies that the Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming Cult is “mainstream” and that the rejecters are the uneducated (or ignorant, or stupid) boobs. Some of us believe that the opposite is true, but that media and academic propaganda have brainwashed the masses into believing the spin. I do not reject science. I follow the words of Dr. Werner von Braun: “In God we trust, all others provide data.”

  56. I don’t like to be over pedantic with language when it is the understood meaning of the word that is important not its dictionary definition.

    But one thing which a science should do is to properly determine the meaning of terms of art that it is using. There are notable defects in this regard such as referring to Carbon when one means CO2, or calling CO2 a GHG (when it is a radiative gas), when discussing the GHE which in relation to planet Earth the atmosphere does not behave like a greenhouse, for using warming when you mean slowing the rate of cooling, etc. The list is lengthy.

    Heck, the major failing is the lack of a proper and accepted definition of climate. Until we fully understand what climate is, the debate regarding climate change cannot be meaningfully discussed.

    Some people do not accept climate change because they argue that climate is continuously changing, always has and always will. But if that is so, then does it not mean something more fundamental, namely that climate change is not climate change in the sense being used by Climate Change Promoters?

    If climate is something which constantly changes, it follows that change of and in itself is not evidence of climate change. That is simply what climate is and what it does. There are many parameters which go to make up climate (we are fixated on temperature but this is just one of many parameters), these parameters are never in stasis, and yearly, or decadal or multi-decadal variations is not itself necessarily climate change at all.

    Climate change is almost a non scientific assertion due to the ever changing nature of climate itself.

    Global warming on the other hand has a basis in science in the sense that if we had sufficient high standard measuring devices with sufficient accuracy and sufficient spatial coverage, with sufficient high quality audited data extending over a sufficiently lengthy period of time, we could ascertain whether it was or was not happening. The reason for it happening may not be so easily identified or understood, but at least it is a quantity which can be measured.

    Climate change, on the other hand is almost incapable of measurement when measured on a scale of a few human generations, and the scientific debate is being lost by permitting Climate Change Promoters to frame the debate in that manner rather than as AGW..

    • “Climate Change” is the main stream media’s attempt to replace the term, “Global Warming,” which hasn’t been happening during the present pause/hiatus/plateau/etc. Thus, there are some who still interpret “Climate Change” to be “Climate [heat] Runaway.” (Obviously their computer models keep projecting ever-increasing global temperatures, and this is the data in which they believe.) So how should believers and skeptics proceed to get along?

      Once both sides agree to a methodology of resecting time periods over an agreed-upon data set, “Global Warming,” “Global Stasis,” and “Global Cooling” should be the terms that are used, along with an agreed-upon algorithm for quantifying those summarizing terms.

      (Now how many times did I use the word “agree?” Naw, it will never happen.)

    • To long and complicated. Stop calling CAGW climate change. CAGW is a very accurate description of the alarmists position.

      Insist on CAGW skeptic, or be marginalized.

  57. I just read the linked article and it is an amazing example of bias and falsehoods. Only lay persons and a few climate scientists doubt the establishment? What a load of crap. They are still den…, er, doubters of reality.

    • Yes, good point. Many still characterize those who are skeptics as a tiny fringe group of cranks.
      Do not doubt it.

  58. Thank you to AP.

    But I have some criticism. It is not logical to claim the the word “skeptic” is improper because…

    ” Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.”

    Is quite insulting to the many fine scientists and logical thinking people who raise objections to global warming dogma. I am as much skeptic as James Randi.

    Also the epithet “alarmist” should not be dropped in a spirit of compromise. The activities of many of the leading proponents of global warming dogma are designed to raise alarm. The are, objectively speaking, “alarmists.” We should forcefully state this position.

    If you want buy a bicycle and offer $200, and the seller counters with desire for $1,000,000, then should you agree to $500,000 in the spirit of compromise? No, stand your ground and accept your victories. We need to act decently, but not be patsies.

    We should be hammering term “alarmist” while the iron is hot.

  59. the issue isn’t the word after climate its the words (missing) prior to it.
    climate change skeptic/doubter is a LOT different than MANMADE climate change skeptic/doubter.

  60. If the term “alarmist” is denied then this blog will have lost its rudder. The only thing left that applies to them is reality denier and that is off the table, I presume. I am disincented to be politically correct with that pack of liars.

  61. Doubter?

    I prefer to use Climate Realist. That really gets them wondering, because if we are realists, then what are they??


  62. The term is a tool of the propagandist and the tyrant, deployed in the smug belief that the end justifies the means.
    It has also become a badge, as visible as a Red Star on the lapel, or SS on the collar. Its usage instantly identifies the user as either ignorant (sometimes, witless,) or one in service to the cause.

  63. I am an anthropological global warming heretic. I do not doubt climate change. I just doubt that the CO2 produced by burning fossil fuels has very much or anything to do with it.

  64. <blockquote"…complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic.

    The Center for Skeptical Inquiry should practice what they preach. If they exercised “scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims” they would clearly see that the claims and conclusions of climate science far outreach the evidence provided.

    Deniers suggest people who deny the evidence, skeptics are those who conclude there is not enough eveidence, faulty methodology or the conclusions are flawed based on the available evidence.

    APs style sheet rational that eliminates the terms sketics and deniers only adds more supporting evidence to the notion that the news media has become filled with large reputations and tiny brains.

  65. With the announcement of this I have to wonder if this is an example. Our media is incredibly political and words are powerful. This I think is an example of a nudge and AP would absolutely fall all over itself to support the idea of whatever we going to call “this” (climate change caused by evil developed countries at the expense of under developed ones, maintaining a lifestyle that is inappropriately wealth….). The same thing has already happened with terms like “immigrant” replacing “undocumented” or “illegal” immigrant all in an attempt to twist the narrative. The only defense I’m aware of is to refuse to kowtow to their orthodoxy.

  66. So much surprise that a science illiterate group dedicated to propaganda and nonsense still gets it wrong?

  67. Quoting their Stylebook;

    “global warming The terms global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably. Climate change is more accurate scientifically to describe the various effects of greenhouse gases on the world because it includes extreme weather, storms and changes in rainfall patterns, ocean acidification and sea level. But global warming as a term is more common and understandable to the public.”

    Apparently, It is not necessary to understand something to describe it, especially if you don’t know the meaning of the words in your description.

    Ich bin ein Doubter is the new je suis denier.

  68. So in addition to adjusted their data, they are now adjusting their Strawmen.

    I don’t reject mainstream climate science, because what they doing isn’t science, it’s political propaganda. So the more accurate phrase is “those who reject political propaganda”.

  69. “Since it has now become convention in the AP stylebook to drop the term, which is used by both AP and non-AP journalists worldwide, WUWT will also follow the convention for all of it’s stories and will no longer use the term “deniers” in any context, be it in comments, or in a turnabout is fair play situation, such as this article by Dr. Tim Ball a couple of weeks ago.”

    “In any context”?

    I strongly agree with most, if not all, of the negative comments regarding this decision. One other observation: The AP doesn’t dictate usage to the rest of the “blogosphere” and other news providers. Rush Limbaugh may be able to argue with liberals with “half his brain tied behind his back,” but it is pollyanna-naive to impose a blanket embargo on words at WUWT. If other sources still use the “forbidden words”–say in the title of an article or its contents–are we now supposed to to contort our comments into a pretzel of euphemisms to avoid even citing the actual title or quotes?

    • Explain again why we’d WANT to label ourselves and others “deniers”, other than for the pejorative value?

      People are fond of saying that when you’ve resorted to insults, you’ve lost the argument. My view is that you can win many more arguments with persuasive language than you can with labeling and name calling.

      Otherwise, you’re just another hater with a blog, such as Joe Romm or Miriam O’Brien (aka Soubundanga).

      • I interpreted the comment from Robert as wondering how we should respond when others use the word, or call someone a d****r, without using the word ourselves?
        Calling a person one is different than using the word in a discussion.

        I myself decided to not be so agitated by the word.
        The reason I have is based on two things, mostly.
        First, as the word has now been used in the context of climate far more times than it ever was in it’s original usage, it has been co-opted and should no longer have the impact as it did the first few times it was used in the context of CAGW skeptics.
        The second is that, in my personal life, my principle adversary in the debate is a close friend and family member by marriage, who holds a strongly warmista position in public forums, and everywhere else too.
        It so happens he uses the word as the exclusive term for any skeptics, despite my initial protestations.
        This may not seem very odd or extraordinary, until and unless one happens to know that this person is the son of two holocaust survivors. He is a highly educated person, holding a PhD in mathematics. Both of his parents had their entire families killed in the concentration camps, and each was among the very few to live through being interred in one for the whole war.
        He uses the word, and will not stop, saying it is completely appropriate…to my shock and horror.
        But after several years, I have stopped complaining every time he calls me one, although he mostly just uses it to refer to persons other than me. I refuse to call him a warmista though, at least not directly, because I think he is merely one of the hoodwinked. He has little knowledge of the actual applicable sciences, and al of his arguments are either appeals to authority, which he fiercely defends, or one or another logical fallacies…a subject on which he is an expert in any other context but this one. Giant blind spot, has he, for his own lack of rigor in examining the facts. I thought for sure the chicanery with adjustments coming to his attention might sway him, but he simply refuses to acknowledge any doubts at all.

        Anyway, I guess I told a longer version of this story than I needed to.
        People who should not use it do anyway, and will not stop.

        Finally, I think Robert was simply voicing a concern I had myself, Mr. W.

      • Great Caesar’s Ghost! Here I am–having just broken my Yom Kippur fast and settled down to get the latest from one of my favorite and daily-visited websites–and, lo and behold!, I find myself cast a hate-monster cavorting with the likes of Sou (telepathically, however, since I’ve never actually frequented her lair). In less than a day, I am already saddled with a new, back-breaking burden of Teshuva (repentance); unless, of course, my name was found unworthy of being inscribed in the Book of Life for the coming year.

        I think Menicholas has got it right. I was surprised and very grateful for his(?) willingness to take the time to compose the lengthy, self-revealing, and impassioned effort in my defense. On the other hand, Mr. W., I can put myself in your shoes today. You certainly have gotten a lot of “push-back” –much, much more than usual–for your editorial stance, and it is easy to be defensive. I am not exactly sure how I specifically managed to pique your ire, given all the other numerous possible target-dissenters. But, obviously, I have done so. And to the extent I have managed to hurt your feelings, or in some way acted to compromise your good intentions, I truly apologize.

        Your site has a well-deserved reputation for welcoming diverse opinions. As one person said, in addition to complementing you: “To your readers, I say keep up the spirited debate.” I suspect you and I agree on this.


        Menicholas, thank you, again. I have noticed that you have been a very active participant in a number of threads recently. I typically find your comments cogent and well-argued. My maternal grandfather and his family were impacted by the holocaust (they never discussed the details).

      • …Mr. W., I can put myself in your shoes today. You certainly have gotten a lot of “push-back” –much, much more than usual–for your editorial stance, and it is easy to be defensive.

        I would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the difficult role that Mr. W has in running such a busy site, and hosting so many disparate voices and opinions.
        I have no problem at all with the views presented and the position taken in the headline article by Anthony Watt.
        I appreciate having a place to come and hear from so many people just what is on their mind, and perhaps also share my thoughts in a way which is helpful and appreciated and adds to the conversation. I never feel like everyone needs to agree with me, or that I must pretend to agree with something which I do not in fact agree with. This is the essence and the spirit of true communication, without which we are each just lonely voices inside our own heads.

        Thank you Mr. Watt. I think you do a fine job and have an excellent website and host many of the best discussions I have found anywhere.

        -Me, Nicholas.

      • Oops, not sure what I did wrong. Everything after the wide break was me, before it was Robert’s quoted text.

  70. The AP has obviously been taking note of their comment columns where all their alarmist stories are being eviscerated by knowledgeable commentators. I’m sure the pay-per-view greenie sites will still use the more inflammatory term ‘denier’, of course, and ‘doubter’ is still a pejorative. Frankly, I’ve warmed up to ‘skeptic’ although it’s not linguistically correct, although I prefer ‘realist’ (and calling me a ‘denier’ within arm’s reach is risking a punch in the snoot).
    AP’s rebranding is, at least, sign of push-back in the general population – a positive sign, if not nearly enough to reverse the tide against They Who Wield Power – although considering it’s coming at a time when they’re also talking about putting us in jail, it’s a small comfort at best.

    • Right, should I now allow all the four letter words and spam advertisements for sex sites that we send to the bit bucket by default?

      • Banning non-obscene words is censorship. This is your blog but we readers make this place ‘the place to go’.

      • @ Anthony: YES, you’ve got it, spot on! You should indeed allow all four-letter words (and five-, six-, seven, and all letter words) IN CONTEXT. If people are being abusive, then fine, see them off to the sin bin. But if someone is making an intelligent, rational point, which happens to include a word that some petty-minded individuals may find offensive, LET IT THROUGH! This is the difference between being a rational human being and an irrational fingers-in-ears, hands-over-eyes censor. Are you also going to censor the use of the phrase “The D Word?” What next? “D****r?” Let’s censor “alarmist” too. We could all argue endlessly about what words we like and what words we want to be censored.
        Or alternatively we could all just be *adult* about it and forget this childish censorship.

  71. Can we now have ‘climate change’ altered to ‘a belief in dangerous man-made global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions’?

  72. I’m confused,

    I was under the impression that the ones generating all of the bogus climate models were the climate change deniers/empirical evidence skeptics and that everyone at WUWT are realists?

  73. Does this mean we can go back to calling them Climate Change Believers? Some objected because that term was too religious, but if skeptics are now doubters, then that leaves believers for the opposite side.

  74. The problem is the AP is NOT doing this out of any concern for truth, only because the term is loaded and causes even some AGW supporters to feel uncomfortable with the party line, and perhaps have sympathy for the other side. Have no doubt, they still view us as poorly as ever, look at the whole focus on calling “doubters” those who go against what everyone knows is true attitude. This is pure propaganda, and I think our host gives them too much credit. This is nothing more than a minor tweak to the Newspeak dictionary, which even in Winston’s time had revisions and new editions now and then. This change is not plusgood, but rather doubleplusbad because of it’s intentions, which are not honorable.

  75. I would only wish to be called a doubter if it is a “CAGW doubter”. Climate change doubter is just plain wrong.

  76. Even with removing the term “denier” they still found is necessary to slight us.

    “..proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims”.

    By not calling us “Skeptics” they are still defining us as not using or understanding science or the scientific method. Basically they went from calling us “a@@holes” to calling us “anal sphincters”. I don’t see this as a win.

  77. A “person in doubt” can be a person confused which is the connotation, I believe, the AP would like to use with doubters of CAGW. Skeptic implies reasoned questioning of the purported facts.
    I am not confused, I am skeptical.

  78. Denier is ugly, doubter is still a bit perjorative and muddled.

    They need a term that signifies those of us who are informed and educated about the issue, and unconvinced by what is being offered.

    It needs to convey the idea that the task at hand is very large and difficult (claims of the ability to predict the future of an inherently chaotic climactic system based on a single minor component of the atmosphere), and that the evidence needed to convince us is lacking.

    If they come up with a workable model that hindcasts observed temperatures, predicts the hiatus, and then forecasts certain doom, that would be an improvement over the current sad state of affairs.

  79. While abandoning the term ‘denier’ for ‘doubters’ is still a propaganda tactic.
    It play wonderfully into Oreskes ‘Merchants of Doubt’ narrative.
    Skeptic is accurate, it would be a error to let them frame the language, as they did when they changed ‘global warming’ with ‘climate change’. Their propaganda is remarkably homogeneous.

  80. Anthony, I think that AP has it wrong and the quote from the “skeptical” society is what’s important. If you wish to ban “denier” so be it but that isn’t even as important as hanging on with both hands to the notion that the science is fundamental to you opposition to alarmism or CACC. We are not “climate change doubters”! We are not “opposing established science”! Ideologues in lab coats do not a scientists make! I think your concession to AP newspeak is ill advised.

  81. In my view, this is neither a good development, nor a fair bargain.

    We’re being hornswoggled again by the mindbenders as they seek to control the words we use, shape the discussions. and define the way we think.

    Now, in this ploy by the AP, the bargain is being made that the news organization will stop using that particular magic word, and in exchange will put into play new magical words, which they have coined, and which can be used in any situation to their advantage, because they are so vague, and essentially meaningless.

    The AP will additionally stop using the term – s k e p t i c – not because it is magical, but because it is too accurate.

    We are not obliged or obligated in any way to let the media tell us what words to use, what to believe, or how to think.

    Think for Thyself
    Nullius in Verba

  82. False bargain.
    In return for not being called deniers, we are to be called doubters of mainstream science in order the “real” scientists be differentiated from doubters. It is a clever attempt to trade an insulting and bigoted term in return for us defining ourselves as being non scientific. Which is the direct opposite of what skeptics of CAGW in general are.

  83. Anthony

    Well done taking a step toward toning down the heat of the rhetoric.

    AP could be more interested in the politics of the words. Lots of politics coming with Paris, elections, and more. Their news stories cover many topics, as does your site, but your readers are more focused on the science. The media and internet apply the issue of this dispute to topics ranging from health to infrastructure, from resource management to gardening, and from education to product labeling.

    The old Alfred Hitchcock construct of the “MacGuffin” comes to mind. “National Defense” (1970s), “Drug Related” (1980s), “The Economy Stupid” (1990s) (one of my personal favorites), “Homeland Security” (2000s), and now “Global Warming” (2010s). In order to grab a headline, or funding, and with trillions of dollars involved across so many sectors, people resort to using the current issue for a variety of purposes regardless to the harm done to people or anything else.

    Global Warming has as much to do with Earth Science as Crop Circles have to do with Agriculture.

    My point is, it never really did.

    To your readers I say, keep up the spirited debate.
    To you I say again, well done.

  84. This is a mistake! By going along with this you’re giving up an accurate scientific description (with positive connotations) in exchange for the ditching of a laughable pejorative (and its replacement with a less extreme pejorative). In fact, I have personally found the term “denier”, when levelled against me, to be quite useful, that is, when the accuser is simply ignorant of the facts and not a raging “ends justifies the means” statist. For example, “Really, you’re equating someone who thinks that if the models upon which all the doomsday scenarios are based don’t actually match the observations for the past 20 years, then perhaps the science isn’t settled after all, with a holocaust denier?” It’s made a couple of my left leaning friends a bit embarrassed and actually ask if it’s really true that the models don’t match the observations. I’m a big fan of this website (normally just a lurker), but I really think you’ve got this one wrong.

  85. Beware of warmists bearing gifts!

    “Doubter” is neither accurate nor neutral. This change of heart by the AP is simply a reflection of the fact that the pejorative abuse of the word “denier” has become rather too transparent with repetition.

    I stand proud as a skeptic! Indeed, I am highly skeptical of the AP’s motives here!

    • I am certain their motives are not based on doing right by those they denigrate, but some calculation.
      Of which we should all be wary.

      DB, few are willing to call it what it is.
      It may not have started as such for everyone involved, but at this point the CAGW meme does match the definition of the H word.
      My first comments here and on several other blogs, earlier this year, upon reengaging in the debate after a many year hiatus, was to suggest that we turn this pejorative around, and see how they like it, by adopting the phrase “Hoax denier” to refer to proponents of CAGW.
      I got exactly zero traction though.
      Anyway, I kind of like warmista better, because it reminds me of the Sandinistas.

  86. Only one way to end this nightmare: elect a skeptical or realist president of the US. Here is one such candidate, from years ago:

  87. What do I doubt?

    Do I doubt the radiative physics that underlie the GHE? No.
    Do I doubt Stefan-Boltzmann Law? No.
    Plank? No.
    Satellite data? No.
    Instrumental data? I don’t even doubt that. I’m skeptical of the adjustments though.
    IPCC reports? I don’t even doubt them. Carefully explained, they are the best weapon there IS when discrediting CAGW.
    Doubter of mainstream science? That describes the IPCC itself which in AR5 admitted that the models run hot and doubts, DOUBTS I SAY that we understand why!

    I win most CAGW arguments, not by doubting the science, but by embracing and explaining the science and showing people where the misrepresentation of that science is what gives the false impression of impending doom, not the science itself.

  88. Epiphany – Journalists have a style guide that describes what terms they should use to describe what?

    Suddenly, political correctness, group think, and journalistic outrage at usage of the “wrong” terms makes perfect sense to me.

    In their world, there is a correct term they must use to describe any particular thing, and using the wrong term gets them in hot water with the boss. This is their natural working environment.

    How easy it is to expect the outside world to work like their work world. Call it by the wrong name? “If I said that, I would be in such hot water!” Major sin. Firing offense. Gotcha!

    Just a theory, but it totally explains to me the way the media gets all excited about trivial offenses against PC dogma.

  89. I first saw that news release at :

    and what I found interesting is the fact that the Poynter Institute – “A global leader in Journalism” – in collaboration with Participant Media (the producers of the movie) and the Omidyar Network wrote a 12 page study guide for high schools with the release of the Naomi Oreskes inspired documentary ‘Merchants of Doubt’:

    if you do a search with the keyword Climate Change you’ll find many anti-skeptics pro-AGW articles posted on their website.

    and the same institute in collaboration with the Omidyar Network again and the dubious National Endowment for Democracy has recently launched something called the International Fact-Checking Network, a network of 64 organizations dedicated to fact-checking journalism:

    “The IFCN will support and study the work of 64 fact-checking organizations spanning six continents, and it will be based at Poynter’s headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida. The International Fact-Checking Network project is being funded by grants from the Omidyar Network and the National Endowment for Democracy.”

    The man they named at the head of IFCN – Alexios Mantzarlis – seems to be some kind of green activist from Italy.

    Now the question is: who’s going to fact-check the fact-checkers?

    and the Poynter Institute has a course entitled “Covering Climate Change” created by Tom Yulsman of the Center for Environmental Journalism in Colorado. It’s free (for journalists at least). I don’t know if it’s good or bad or a mixed bag:

    “Covering Climate Change was developed in partnership with Internews, an international media development organization. The course author is Tom Yulsman, an associate professor at the University of Colorado’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication, where he co-directs the Center for Environmental Journalism. You can also follow his blog about science, the environment, policy and journalism at CEJournal.”

  90. Just call us the Climate Whistleblowers.

    Those who have a genuine interest in climate research, familiarize ourselves with the underlying concepts and data, and then see the misleading and inappropriate way the science is being twisted for consumption by the public and governmental institutions.

  91. Controlling the Terminology is an old Marxist trick. The term Bolshevik, ( the Majority”) was used to cause a impression that they were the main stream political party. They labelled their rivals as Mensheviks (the few)
    Giving your opponents a negative definition is used so as to discredit them rather then their views. Poisoning the Well.


  92. I don’t think climate change doubter is an accurate label. The argument comes down to people who don’t believe that the majority of recent climate change was caused by man vs. those who do. To believe recent climate change is caused by man is to doubt it was caused by nature. The labels should be as follows.

    Skeptics – “Human Caused Climate Change Doubters”
    Alarmists – “Natural Caused Climate Change Doubters”

  93. Or “suspicious”, with the 97 usual suspects creeping about. There’s Mann hiding behind a tree, there’s Kevin in the dark alley, there’s Cook wearing a disguise, there’s Lew being disreputable and just plain scary.

    The real problem is not the names they call us, it is what they do not ever call us: “scientists”.

    Some of those they do call scientists must have gotten their “scientist” badge out of a cereal box.

    • Notice how they call Curry a ‘scientist’ when she agrees with their dogma, but the second she variies just a bit, the cutting language and labels are quickly applied!

  94. The use of “climate change doubters” as opposed to “deniers” is not “a positive and long overdue change.” Virtually no one previously referred to as “denier” (a word ridiculously flagged for moderation) doubts that climate changes. This is just another attempt to pervert the definition of “climate change” to imply “impending catastrophic environmental changes caused by greenhouse gas emissions that require immediate, expensive, and ineffective mitigation.”

    AP Style Guide editors:

    Scientists who consider themselves real skeptics – who debunk mysticism, ESP and other pseudoscience, such as those who are part of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry – complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic.

    Which ones? How many? And why should they determine acceptable use of a general term not limited to debunkers of some subset of supposed pseudo-science? No one group has a monopoly on the word “skeptic.”

    George Santayana:

    Skepticism is the chastity of the intellect, and it is shameful to surrender it too soon.

    Careful, folks, you’re being seduced. It is the height of credulity to condone sweeter-sounding shorthand terms that continue to force people into one of two camps as a “positive change.”

  95. “To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science.”

    And here again they show us that they simply do not get it. I wonder what the world looks like in black and white. How dull it must be not to see the infinite shades between.

  96. …. complain that non-scientists who reject mainstream climate science have usurped the phrase skeptic. They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.”

    Right choice for the wrong reason?

  97. Let me get this right – Am I being told that because I don’t have letters after my name, I can’t be skeptical? And I’m not allowed to use that word? Excuse me?

    • Tony,

      Being a doubter, I doubt it.

      They will never admit they were wrong, just like now. Instead, one by one they will silently go away, and never mention or admit that Planet Earth herself debunked their belief system.

      • Agree.
        We will have to run them down one by one and grab them by the neck and shove their face in it…or else just let it go.

  98. IMO, referring to “doubters” as “those who don’t accept climate science” is not exactly a precise use of language. You may well accept “climate science” without accepting a set of conclusions you think are incorrect.

    • Then there is the object of the doubt – which really isn’t climate change. It’s the adjectives they fail to include (catastrophic anthropogenic)

  99. How about Climate Visionaries? We see where this is going and when the wheels fall off the climate cult bandwagon the rest of society will be in awe.

    • I am extremely certain that 2 degrees of warming (should it occur and that is a big if) will not be problematic on a planet with huge swaths of perpetually frozen wastelands, and much of the habitable surface too cold to survive on without large stores of food, warm clothing, and adequate shelter.
      There is simply no evidence that warming is dangerous, which is one of the three legs of the CAGW stool, and the most important.
      If it is not dangerous, it does not matter one single bit if it happens.

      • Mr Lock,
        Thank you very much for the link. Very interesting post by a person who seems like a very good thinker.
        Interestingly, I had earlier today respond in a similar tone to a post on WUWT on this same catastrophic prediction. You can read my comments here , which are very similar to the one you linked to, even though I only read this one hours after writing my own similar thoughts.

        One reason I love coming to this site and reading and writing here is that so often I hear others voice what I myself was thinking, which helps me to have confidence that I am on the right track with my ideas, thoughts, reactions, and opinions.

        We have it on good authority here that the tropics will never warm by enough to make them uninhabitable. It cannot happen on a planet with so much water…and never has happened in all of Earth history. The tropical regions would become very much more wet and rainy than they already are…which would lead to an explosion of life, rather than an uninhabitable zone. Hot air rises, and space remains cold, and rising hot humid air will always have the same result…thunderstorms and rain, and transport of massive amounts of heat energy to the upper atmosphere. Where it will dissipate into space.
        Much of the heat will also be transported polewards by the same mechanisms which do so today, and these mechanisms will likely become more efficient at doing so, leading to a more uniform global temperature pattern.
        One thing I am sure of, life will remain as it has always been…highly tenacious, incredibly resilient, amazingly adaptive, highly diverse, and very well suited for the various ecological niches and biomes that the world provides.

  100. Any term requiring three words or more is bogus pc on the face of it and just pushing bafflegab.

    I am a Skeptic pure and simple, and I deny any assertion the Warmistas have clue about real climate at all. They are a political movement, not scientists. You can’t be that consistently wrong by accident.

  101. “Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.”

    This just sounds like “belief in climate change is a religion” because that is something people doubt or reject. Its religion. Just like Doubting Thomas, its about belief. Nothing to do with science. So stick it to them….

    Don’t get offended by it, just keep asking them why they are using religious terminology in regards to science? Or you can put it in a meaner setting and ask them: when did you join the cult of global warming?

    Sometimes the less you say will have more effect. And I have seen the trolls spasm and whirl when confronted by their own projections….all along they thought we were heathens and religious fruit-cakes when the truth was the opposite all along.

  102. If they want to get it right they need to include “catastrophic anthropogenic” in it. No one doubts, rejects, denies, or is a skeptic that climate changes. Everyone knows climate changes. It’s the proverbial elephant in the room.

  103. The activists on the other side of the fence are really people who want to limit anthropogenic CO2 emissions. That’s the hidden agenda behind all the CAGW alarmism isn’t it? Maybe they should be referred to as ACAs – Anti-anthropegenic CO2 Activists….

  104. Actually AP should keep the term denier and use it for those that believe man made global warming is a significant factor in climate change. These alarmist, the promoters of man made global warming, are the deniers. They deny the fact that all their models have gone bust. They deny the fact that the only reliable measure of the global temperature ( satellite data) has shown no warming for almost 20 years. They deny the benefits of CO2. They deny the fact that the oceans are not rising at an alarming rate and storms are not getting more frequent or more sever. In fact they deny everything that is true and exaggerate everything that gives them a glimmer of hope that their doomsday scenarios could happen. The term that should be used for those that oppose this madness is realist. Seriously those that oppose these Nuts should be called ” Climate Realist.”

  105. This change is also a reflection of the status of the debate. No longer can responsible news organizations feel comfortable with the cliSci status quo with the events starting with climate gate and followed by clear failure of models, the ‘pause’, failure of MetOffice of the UK on virtually all seasonal forecasts, record cold winters and snowfall, IPCC errors and backpedaling, Mark Stern’s ” Disgrace to the profession… ” etc.

    Newspapers don’t want to find themselves on the wrong side of the question. They’ve sensed the change in confidence in the mainstream theory. The Agenda masters have even revealed their real motivations in candid comments – getting rid of democracy, free enterprise, freedom of speech, civilization itself…. Others will follow suit.

  106. Jimbo Sept 23, 6:05 post

    “Our experience with nutrition science over the past half-century should arm us with doubt about climate science too. The point is not to ignore scientific data but to treat all studies, models, and predictions with a degree of skepticism. Don’t accept the argument from authority: That the entire medical establishment endorsed the war on saturated fat did not make it true.”

    Excellent post
    Many wiser and more mature professions than the current mainstream climate scientist make healthy use of skeptics and blockers in their group to flush out irrational ideas and solutions from their studies . It is unfortunate that the current crop of mainstream climate alarmists have never heard of this approach. Their negative attitude toward any form of questioning appears to me a case of fear and worry that the inherit flaws in global warming science will be exposed to the public . Why would anyone else who is absolutely sure of their science not step up and openly debate their science in public instead of hiding behind RICO type of investigations to hush their fellow scientists. Or is this a case of scientific arrogance . As the climate cools over the next many decades , the public will finally come to realize that the current version of global warming science has a little bit of truth in it but much of it may have been over-exaggerated and discoloured by worst case scenarios to make it look legitimate and the threat more imminent. Unfortunately a lot of money will have been wasted by then as the solutions that the alarmists urged on the public will have had negligible effect on the climate which may be cooling rather than warming for the next many decades.

  107. BTW, note this is hardly worth celebrating, AP not only says AGW skeptics aren’t “real skeptics,” they also accuse them of not using “scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.”

    The junk science AP publishes every single day on the subject is an integral part of the global warming scam and frankly I’d prefer they just keep calling us deniers rather than adopt a pretense of objectivity.

  108. I do not share the moderator’s joy over the term ‘doubter.’ To be honest, it should be ‘realist’ or what I’ve used: ‘normalist.’ AP isn’t going to stop publishing the word ‘denier’ and neither is anyone else. The new term is almost worse, save that it lacks the Holocaust innuendo.

    I agree with these comments: Phillip Bratby September 23, 2015 at 1:25 am ~ latecommer2014 September 23, 2015 at 1:43 pm ~ John Silver September 23, 2015 at 2:20 am for humor! ~ menicholas September 23, 2015 at 5:11 am ~ dbstealey September 23, 2015 at 8:37 am ~ RockyRoad September 23, 2015 at 6:03 am* ~ markstoval September 23, 2015 at 12:57 am ~ menicholas September 23, 2015 at 5:17 am ~ emsnews September 23, 2015 at 5:48 am ~ Kevin Lohse September 23, 2015 at 1:00 am** ~ G. Karst September 23, 2015 at 6:43 am -p ~ Samuel C. Cogar September 23, 2015 at 6:23 am ~ Jake September 23, 2015 at 7:35 am

  109. Is there an exception for weekends, holidays, or Earth Day? After all, jabs and demonizing sells as a basic underpinning of the industry.

  110. The Associated Press did NOT “drop the ugly climate term ‘denier’ in their AP stylebook.”

    The headline on this blog article is at best misleading. The AP did not “drop” anything. They added the two controversial sentences.

    Here is the full AP Stylebook entry for global warming, with the added sentences in bold:

    The terms global warming and climate change can be used interchangeably. Climate change is more accurate scientifically to describe the various effects of greenhouse gases on the world because it includes extreme weather, storms and changes in rainfall patterns, ocean acidification and sea level. But global warming as a term is more common and understandable to the public.
    Though some public officials and laymen and only a few climate scientists disagree, the world’s scientific organizations say that the world’s climate is changing because of the buildup of heat-trapping gases, especially carbon dioxide, from the burning of coal, oil and gas. This is supported by more than 90 percent of the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

    In a joint publication in 2014, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of the United Kingdom stated: “Human activities – especially the burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution – have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations by about 40 percent, with more than half the increase occurring since 1970. Since 1900, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.4 degrees Fahrenheit). This has been accompanied by warming of the ocean, a rise in sea level, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and many other associated climate effects. Much of this warming has occurred in the last four decades.”

    To describe those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces, use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science. Avoid use of skeptics or deniers.

    Do the added sentences improve the original?

    Strictly speaking, the AP didn’t drop the “D” word from the Stylebook, they added it. This appears to be a case of prigs pressuring AP to justify censorship.

  111. Dear Anthony,

    Your decision is WRONG. (I am sad to say this).

    The term “doubters” implies pathos. It is completely inappropriate: it is also misleading and weak.

    “Mainstream climate science”.
    This expression describes the two-faced cowards who perpetuate the Great Global Warming Gravy Train.

    There is no such thing as climate science: there is no such thing as mainstream science: there is only science.

    Just suppose the entire myth is finally EXPLODED and all of a sudden WUWT becomes the leading website on “proper science to show you how you’ve all been conned”.

    Please, I ASK YOU to imagine that this is possible.

    Your very own WUWT website could then become known as “mainstream climate science” but in order to accept such a massive, public following and public approval you would have to swallow your own censorship rule.

    I ask you to think again.


  112. I’m at a bit of a loss here as to why you think this is a good thing, Anthony. They specifically stated why they were dropping it…

    ” They say they aren’t skeptics because “proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.” ”

    In other words, using the term skeptic legitimizes you and makes people think you might have a good reason to doubt the assertions being made. Instead they’re just going to go with “doubters” which could be a bunch of hillbillies that doubt the earth is round too.

    The fact that they stop using the word “denier” at the same time is window dressing… the phrase just makes THEM look bad for the mud slinging.

  113. What bothers me is that those who oppose CAGW are not a monolithic group. I can think of 5 major groupings off the top of my head:
    1) The low sensitivity group.
    2) The high feedback group.
    3) The solar group.
    4) The pressure group.
    5) The 2nd law group.

    I can support 1 and 2, and I think that most of those active here who I can respect scientifically fall into one or both of them. One might be called GW Lite. Two could be called doubters as the question is if the negative feedback is sufficient to basically eliminate any global warming based on CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. 3-5 are rather sui generis (sp?) but I’m not sure “doubter” really describes any of them.

  114. To the AP:
    Correct guidance to support scientific method and civil discussion.
    Your guidance “to use climate change doubters” is an ad hominem denigration of people who recognize that climate has been changing for 4.5 billion years. It is an EQUIVOCATION used for the ad hominem denigration of being scientifically illiterate against all who challenge that model and logically and scientifically unsupported.
    The AP also uses Conflation: See “Conflation means the mixing up of two or more ideas or terms which might at face value appear to be about the same underlying thing.”
    e.g., by supporting the UNFCCC’s 1992 political redefinition of “climate change” from the scientific definition of a statistical change in climate to:
    2. “Climate change” means a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.”

    The AP’s “dispute the world is warming from man-made forces” is similarly used to accuse people of being scientifically illiterate and anti intellectual. The technical issue is NOT “warming from man-made forces” but the MAGNITUDE of the anthropogenic contribution to climate change. In particular, whether humans cause the MAJORITY of observed global warming since 1950 as asserted by the IPCC.

    The AP’s recommended phrase: “reject mainstream climate science” is pejorative to all scientists applying the scientific method regarding climate. E.g. Those who show that the model predictions of “main stream climate science” violate the scientific method.

    I recommend the AP ensure that all terms comply with Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman’s description of the scientific method.

    i.e., if the model predictions do not match the evidence, “they are wrong”. E.g., See climate scientist John Christy’s May 13 testimony to Congress that shows that “main stream climate science” model projections from 1979 to 2015 err by 400% for predictions of the tropospheric tropical temperatures. Testimony at:
    Thus the IPCC’s CMIP5 climate models simply fail the scientific method since their predictions differ dramatically (400%) from the evidence and are “wrong”.

    I recommend the AP use terms that neither denigrate persons nor destroy the scientific method.
    Best would be to use neutral statements relating to “climate PREDICTIONS”, or “climate PROJECTIONs”. Similarly, refer to questioning the “Consensus” rather than the “Science”.

    as “test climate models”.
    Instead of “reject”, I recommend “question”, “challenge”, “expose”, or “dispute climate predictions” or “challenge IPCC projections”, etc.

    Far better would be to describe those who
    “question majority human climate change”
    or who are “climate degree questioners”

    Correct “reject mainstream climate science”
    to “question climate consensus”
    or “challenge climate predictions”

    See discussion at Framing the Debate by Pointman
    Richard Feynman, Cargo Science, 1974, Caltech.

  115. I don’t see this as a step forward. it’s a step to one side.

    So, we’re all Doubting Thomas’s now, rather than true sceptics? ‘Denier’ as used by CAGW advocates implicitly rules out scientifically valid scepticism. This fact is often explicitly levied at those who question consensus climate science in the form of insulting references to their supposed ‘faux scepticism’ or ‘pseudo-scepticism’. So in effect, all AP are doing is removing the use of one negative term of reference which directly implied that the word ‘sceptic’ was inappropriate, then refraining from the use of the word ‘sceptic’ at the same time! No net gain. They are continuing to use terminology which de-legitimises those who question CAGW, just in a slightly different way. I don’t believe Anthony should be giving kudos to AP in that respect, even less agreeing to abide by this stylebook change.

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