#Trending is changing its language on the environment

2019-06-16 00:00

Last month, UK publication The Guardian ran a piece to tell its readers that it would be changing the language it uses when it comes to the environment.

Instead of “climate change”, they would be using the terms “climate emergency, crisis or breakdown”, and “global heating” is now favoured over “global warming”, although the original terms are not banned.

Why? Because language is powerful, and the existing words that we have do not accurately describe what is happening to our planet.

For too long, the global heating issue has been treated as an obscure theory rather than a devastating reality.

Said editor in chief Katharine Viner at the time: “We want to ensure that we are being scientifically precise, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue.

The phrase ‘climate change’, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle, when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.”

#Trending is following suit and will be using these updated terms in all future writing.

For too long, the global heating issue has been treated as an obscure theory rather than a devastating reality. If a small thing like changing the words we use could help drive home the issue, we’re on board.

Along with its change of wording, The Guardian now also publishes global carbon dioxide (CO2) levels on their weather pages in the paper each day.

It’s a dystopian world, when our rampant CO2 levels now run alongside the weather, but that is the world we’ve created, and a daily reminder of it is exactly what we need.


  • 'Wildlife’ instead of ‘biodiversity’
  •  ‘Fish populations’ instead of ‘fish stocks’
  • .‘Climate science denier’ rather than ’climate sceptic’
Our current CO2 count

Along with publishing the weather forecast, The Guardian newspaper now notes the daily carbon dioxide (CO2) count in the atmosphere.

CO2 traps heat in the atmosphere, which leads to global heating.

The more CO2 there is, the worse off we are.

Though there are natural producers of CO2, human activities such as cement production, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas are major culprits.

The Mauna Loa carbon count (named after the observatory in Hawaii, US) is a global benchmark of how many parts per million (ppm) of the atmosphere are now CO2.

Global CO2 levels on June 9 2019 (the day we went to print) were 414.42ppm.

That’s 3.54ppm more than last year; 99.42ppm more than in 1958 when the first measurements were made at Mauna Loa; and higher than at any time in at least the last 800 000 years of Earth’s history.

June 9 2019: 414.42ppm

June 9 2018: 410.88ppm

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January 19 2020