Oxford Word of the Year: “Climate Emergency”… Seriously?

Guest counting by David Middleton

Oxford names ‘climate emergency’ its 2019 ‘Word of the Year’

Thursday, November 21, 2019
Amid historic flooding in Venice, Italy, and catastrophic bushfires decimating Australia’s koala population, Oxford has named its 2019 Word of the Year “climate emergency.”


Oxford said its selected words or phrases “reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year,” and this year, heightened awareness of climate science and its implications have generated tremendous debate.


Previous Words of the Year include “toxic,” “youthquake,” “post-truth,” and “vape,” and in 2015, “Face with Tears of Joy” emoji.


“Climate emergency” is two words and a fake phrase… But at least they are two real words… “Youthquake” really? Furthermore, how could an actual climate emergency “reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year”? Existential threats aren’t limited time engagements.

Adapted from The Russians Are Coming! The Russians Are Coming!

79 thoughts on “Oxford Word of the Year: “Climate Emergency”… Seriously?

  1. Geez…climate is something monitored and reviewed over longer time periods, like 30 years. If they really want to insist this is some type of emergency, shouldn’t it be Weather Emergency? They can’t even get the right two words together to explain what they think they are explaining.

    • How about something that is emphatically descriptive, such as “dumber than a box of rocks”?

      I just came back from my daily walk. The sun is shining, sky mostly clear and very blue, and the temperature is about 44F in the shade. Pleasant day and I’m a happy camper. And really very typical for winters in my kingdom. We don’t generally get the bad stuff until January.


    • Climate well exceeds 30-year spans. Real climate change takes long slow centuries.
      However, those words, “Climate Emergency” emerged this year as the latest version of “Global Warming” next became “Climate Change,” now the wording escalates.
      Y’see I could believe that measuring to 30 years ago the weather has warmed. I could even believe that the climate is changing. Changing is the normal state. However, there is no climate emergency. Particularly no emergency regarding the air’s plant food. If anything, more carbon dioxide would make for a greener planet with more food grown. The belief (a religious strength conviction) that CO2 is a significant greenhouse gas and can single-handedly control the climate is in doubt.
      Of course there is a way out of the non-emergency. In fact, it would be CO2 free. Gen 4 Nuclear.
      The big benefit is that having safe cost-effective power generated is a good idea in case nothing changes or even if the climate cools.
      A over-simplified plan: To get around permit problems, co-locate Gen 4 plants at currently approved nuclear sites. Certain types of Gen 4 use lower generation waste as fuel. There should be at least one of these at each nuke plant. One step in the right direction.

    • See what “Big Word” gets up to?

      Re Venice flooding – their climate emergency has been going a long time (/s)

      From Eric Newby’s chapter “An Evening in Venice” in “On the Shores of the Mediterranean”

      It involves the sirocco wind and low barometric pressure as the main drivers, not necessarily needing a high tide. Known as the “l’acqua alta”.

      Records start in the thirteenth century – e.g

      “the water rose to the height of a man in the streets” 23rd September 1240.

      With more examples. 1967 it was 5 feet above average sea level.

      1867 – 1914 there were 7 exceptionally high ones

      1917 – 1967 more than 40

      • Tell me, did they ever fix those rotten Elm piles that support the whole ediface of Venice? Never hear of its problems these days, it must have been good ‘ol Brit James Bond, he must have saved the day back in Golden Eye days, if that was the movie!!!! 😉

        • Casino Royale as well was it not? The impending new Bond film sounds like it will be Woke 007 – licensed to whinge and take offence.

          • The phrase “Bond girls” was banned from while actors were on stage. Yeah, it’s full on woketard. Been destroyed, like Charlies Angels.

  2. I’ve got a much more applicable word(s) for Oxford to describe the current climate milieu: “Collective Insanity.”

  3. Well, Northampton says Oxford is full of it.

    “After being advised by bishops and magnates that Northampton was a threat to Oxford, Henry III dissolved the university in 1265, and signed a Royal Decree that banned the establishment of a university in Northampton.”

    Northamptonians have been pissing-off the consensus for hundreds of years, and proud of it.

  4. “Oxford said its selected words or phrases “reflect the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the passing year” !

    “Ethos is a Greek word meaning “character” that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.”

    “In psychology, a mood is an emotional state.”

    “Definition of the state of being preoccupied; enthrallment”

    So, Oxford believes that some “character” in an “enthralled”, “emotional state”, represents the people of the world ?

    D’OH !

  5. well, at least if that was for last year they wont dare repeat “climate emergency” or anything else that has the word” climate” in it at the end of next year for fear of looking silly so we can now consider this year as a point of inflection.
    Its sort of negative but a positive step forwards.

  6. Im sure I heard the head of UN shrieking that the planet is at the tipping point….
    How was this tipping point measured?
    I may be wrong but Im pretty certain no one has ever observed the climate of any planet hitting its tipping point in regard to co2 concentrations or runaway temperatures.
    Wheres the science?
    Unless its just the old chestnut of “because we say so”???

  7. I propose “Existential Emergency” as another. Being an Existentialist, my training knows that “existential” simply means that it exists.

    No big deal, but declaring that climate change is an “Existential Emergency” is just more pettifoggery to pull more $500 woolen suits over the eyes of the easily confused masses.

  8. If I was to pick a word or phrase of the year it would be “Deep State”. Trouble is, there are those in denial that the entity exists.

  9. It’s a thing these publishers do at the behest of their publicity agencies.

    A few years ago, the Macquarie Dictionary people changed their definition of the word “misogyny” from –
    ‘”hatred of women”
    “entrenched prejudice against women”.

    See what they did there?
    They unilaterally widened the scope of possible ‘misogyny’ offenders from describing a small coterie of psycho whack-jobs, to now encompassing every organization or individual who can’t demonstrate that they take female gender into account in every move or utterance they make.

    Of course this announcement got lots of publicity for Macquarie, so – mission accomplished.
    (plus rave reviews from all the “progressive” journos and commentators)

  10. Jeez this Koala nonsense has become a thing has it? In my State they have to relocate them or even cull them because of overpopulation and over grazing of tree foliage. If they are “decimated” its within a defined regional area where most wildlife will have been through the decimator. Bushfires do that.

    • What also ‘decimated’ the koalas in some areas was the chlamydia STD many of them contracted.

      I haven’t bothered googling it, but I bet someone, somewhere, somehow managed to blame this STD outbreak on (you guessed it) – GLOBAL WARMING!

    • Koalas are burnt by hot angry fires. They become hot and angry when hazard reduction hasn’t been carried out.
      When the Aborigines burned they burned often, so the fires were mild and the koalas survived. Who’s responsible? Those that failed to regularly burn. Read in to this the policy of the Greens. Bad forest management is again the culprit.

    • What about the funnel webs spiders, king brown snakes etc that are burnt as well? No one cares about them.

      Will someone think of the killers critters in the forest?

    • Sodding Koalas.

      Cute, if you like that sort of thing, but fun fact, Koalas have the worse ratio of skull to brain size out of any mammal.

      They are not that smart because gum leaves are not exactly known as being filled to brim with goodness. Remember the saying, a creature only needs to be smarter than the thing they eat, and gum leaves are pretty stupid. Also, not only are Koalas small of brain, but the gum leaves ferment into alcohol while being digested. So the reason they look so relaxed most of the time is they are pleasantly off their dial.

      Like all ‘good’ drunks they can also have periods of being very angry. Koalas can be viciously little pricks. Do NOT attempt to engage with one in the wild no matter how cute they look. They will go ya and those tree hugging claws are strong and sharp.

      The other point that many people fail to understand is that thousands of years of forced evolution has made the Australian bush something that WANTS to be burnt. Pre-1788 Australians practiced ‘fire stick’ farming and had been doing so for so long they completely changed the landscape. Basically you set fire to the local area as it removes all the undergrowth all the small prey animals like to hide in to make them easier to catch.

      Do this for long enough and any plant that doesn’t like being burnt regularly packs up and leaves. (Pun!) What is left is the plants that are capable of withstanding fire conditions without actually dying until you get some plants that only release their seeds AFTER a major fire.

      The Australian bush burns because it WANTS TO, and the only way to stop this is to remove the bush by land clearing or burning it under your terms and conditions small bits at a time. Dead organic doesn’t rot away. It just remains there slowly getting drier in the summer heat and slowly increasing in numbers. Either you clear it, or one day, one year, it is going to burn and it is going to burn until it wants to stop.

      Then, with all the build up of fuel now gone, you will get no significant bushfires in that area for a generation because the organic remains need that long to build up again.

      Climate Emergency has nothing to do with it.

      • 100% spot on!!

        and i add the so called green farming leaving stubble to supposedly assisit the soils might work in eu or other spots where it stays damp enough to rot
        in Aus its just dry crap to burn in areas we used to burnoff for weed control after grazing the stubble
        and those spots didnt burn later in fires
        and root material was still in the soil but not above

  11. Date seems to coincide with the ramp-up of “reporting” that was planned to apex in September. Odd coincidence.

  12. So, Global Warming didn’t work, it sounded too much like yahoo, summer is here! Then Climate Change stalled out, it sounded too much like maybe we can go to the beach early this year? So, Climate Emergency, spiced with an angry how dare you! is the word of the year. When not enough people panic, as befits an emergency, what next? My money is on Climate Diarrhia! Go around shouting that and let me know how it works out. Thanks.

  13. An example of why I think we are wating our time. My local council declared a “climate emergency”, then quite surprisingly and paradoxically decided to build for themselves lots of housing on the River flood plain.

    Before construction was finished we had a flood, as had happened many times before, ruined everything especially market value! the council blamed “unprecedented” climate change.

    You could not make it up!

  14. One can hope “climate emergency” gets “plutoed” (WoTY 2006) before it becomes a “dumpster fire” (WoTY 2016).

  15. I’m not so sure humans are intelligent enough as a species to survive a real existential threat.

  16. If comedy survives there will be lots of material for future comics but I feel a bit uncomfortable being part of a generation that becomes the subject of much hilarity and ridicule.

  17. And to cap it all, Waterstones (the main independent bookseller in the U.K. and now linked to Barnes and Noble) have named St Greta as their Author of the Year. It is based on the publication of her speeches!

    I regularly frequent Waterstones and they also have good coffee, but it’s Amazon and Costa Coffee in future.

  18. I’m worried that we are running out of words to express this emergency and it will start to fizzle out. We must try to generate some more. Viz. er, thuddenbluddenapocopiclypse?

  19. “Oxford names ‘climate emergency’ its 2019 ‘Word of the Year”

    Or maybe the phrase of the year?

  20. The climate emergency in Thailand right now is that it is 19C in a place where we need sweaters when it falls below 30C

  21. Someone please let me know when the Climate Doomsters finally give up and put the lights out in their auditorium?

    When you have to keep relabeling and/or rebranding your product because it just is NOT being bought, then you fail to recognize that don’t nobody want it and it’s going to end up on the trash heap where it belongs.

  22. Climate Righteousness

    Climate Entitlement

    Climate Indoctrination

    Climate Psychosis

    Climate Zombie


    … a few more of my own proposals for words of the year for the coming years, when nothing catastrophic happens ……………………… AGAIN.

  23. It’s such a devastating “Word of the Year” that they’re already seeking new descriptions to make our normal climate seem more dire. I wonder if any of these people realize how pathetic they sound and how ridiculous they’ve become?

  24. So, is 2019 going to be declared the warmest ever? Just wondering if Oxford will make “Warmest ever!” Word of the year in 2020 if this year does get declared so.

    Anybody have a guess on what the anomaly will be? My guess is .031C +/- 2.6.C

    We’re all doomed…




  25. One on the shortlist for adoption that has already been seen in print: Global Environment Change. It opens up the blame range considerably.

  26. I would challenge the Oxford union to debate ” This house believes that climate science peer review standards dismally fail Poundland suppliers Quality Assurance controls.” As even a engineering grunt I would happily stand for the motion against any of the best they can offer.

    That is unless they can show be lab certification for the instruments and locations being adequate for 0.1 degree accuracy measurements and that must include at least ten of the used stations having at least fifty measurements taken around them to show that one measurement is enough to produce the average value for the hundred miles or so between measuring stations to 0.1 degrees.

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