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: https://blog.ap.org/announcements/an-addition-to-ap-stylebook-entry-on-global-warming
Statement from Anthony Watts:
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)