2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #9

A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 23, 2020 through Sat, Feb 29, 2020

Editor's Pick

Want people to care about climate change? Skip the jargon.

Climate Jargon


If you’re confused what the “circular economy” is, or what it means for a company to go “net-zero,” you’re far from alone. There’s a big mismatch between what scientists, journalists, and activists are saying and what the public understands. This is hardly a new problem, but it’s yet another obstacle to getting people to care about climate change: Obscure words in articles about rising sea levels and supercharged weather could discourage people from wanting to learn more about a planetary crisis.

The solution is to put jargon and buzzwords into simple language that anyone can understand. It takes some effort, of course. A good example is “Up Goer Five,” a diagram by Randall Monroe, the cartoonist behind the website xkcd. It explains how a rocket works using only the 1,000 most common words in the English language. Simplifying lingo related to climate change requires a similar process. Take a cold, clinical word like “biodiversity” and turn it into the more evocative “wildlife.” A real head-scratcher like “climate mitigation” becomes “reducing emissions.”

Forget “dumbing down.” Using more common language is “smartening up,” said Susan Joy Hassol, director of the nonprofit science outreach group Climate Communication in North Carolina, who coaches scientists and journalists to write and speak more conversationally. “The only thing that’s dumb,” Hassol said, “is speaking to people in language that they don’t understand.”

Want people to care about climate change? Skip the jargon. by Kate Yoder, Climate, Grist, Feb 26, 2020

Articles Linked to on Facebook

Sun, Feb 23, 2020

Mon, Feb 24, 2020

Tue, Feb 25, 2020

Wed, Feb 26, 2020

Thu, Feb 27, 2020

Fri, Feb 28, 2020

Sat, Feb 29, 2020

Posted by John Hartz on Saturday, 29 February, 2020

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