AP Updates Stylebook With ‘Guidance’ on What to Call Individuals ‘Who Don’t Accept Climate Science’

The Associated Press announced Tuesday an update to its revered stylebook, providing writers with “guidance” on what term to use when referring to individuals who have doubts about man-made global warming.

In a blog post, Vice President and Director of Media Relations Paul Colford said the news agency had “reviewed our entry on global warming” as part of efforts to update its stylebook for “usage and accuracy.”

Image source: Associated Press
Image source: Associated Press

“We are adding a brief description of those who don’t accept climate science or dispute the world is warming from man-made forces,” Colford wrote. “Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science and to avoid the use of skeptics or deniers.”

[sharequote align=”center”]”Our guidance is to use climate change doubters or those who reject mainstream climate science…”[/sharequote]

Colford justified the change, contending some scientists have complained skeptics of man-made global warming “aren’t skeptics because ‘proper skepticism promotes scientific inquiry, critical investigation and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.’”

Here’s the full entry in the Associated Press 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.

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.

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