The AP Stylebook just changed the meaning of 'global warming' with one amazing edit.

The AP Stylebook is one of the go-to sources for the rules of American English.

Published annually by the nonprofit Associated Press, the AP Stylebook is often used by journalists and publishers to standardize things like grammar, punctuation, and abbreviations as well as appropriate word usage.

For example, if you're not sure whether "civil rights movement" should be capitalized or if it's OK to abbreviate "BLT" when the sandwich gets mentioned, the AP Stylebook has you covered.



A page from a previous edition of the AP Stylebook. (It's also why I'm forced to use "OK" and not "okay," grrrr.) Photo by George Kelly/Flickr.

The Stylebook gets updated each year to reflect the latest changes in language.

This year alone, they added more than 300 new or revised entries, ranging from amaretto to NCAA sports to the correct way to talk about suicide.

But there was one change in particular that really got our attention.

According to the new official style rules, people can no longer be "climate change deniers" or "climate change skeptics."

Here's how the AP described the reason for this 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.'" — AP staff memo from Stylebook editors Sally Jacobsen, Dave Minthorn, and Paula Froke

You read that right — the willful refusal of "those who reject mainstream climate science" to acknowledge the overwhelming evidence in the world is giving actual skeptics a bad name.

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, "Irony" is "a situation that is strange or funny because things happen in a way that seems to be the opposite of what you expected." This image is not ironic. Photo by Matt Brown/Flickr.

Instead, the new AP Stylebook recommends the use of "climate change doubters" or "those who reject mainstream climate science." They do not, however, forbid the use of other pejorative insults to describe the willful ignorance of this vocal minority.

They've also officially equated "climate change" and "global warming," which isn't the hugest deal but is at least enough to shut down the haters who say things like, "But I was cold this one time last year so climate change can't be real!"

But AP's language rules need to stay objective, so they made a change on the other side as well.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, "those who reject mainstream climate science" continue to insist that our dangerously changing climate is not actually changing or else that the rapidly melting polar ice caps and rising sea levels are totally no big deal and just something that happens sometimes.

You know. Just like it did with the dinosaurs.


Best case scenario: Our fossilized remains are discovered and displayed by the next dominant species on the planet in 65 million years. And that's reason enough for inaction? Let's think about that. Photo by Andrew McMillan.

Of course, it would be unfair if the AP were to consider only the perspective of people who accept the near-unanimous scientific consensus. They had to factor the feelings of "those who reject mainstream climate science" as well:

"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.'"

(I might be biased, but I think that if you're more concerned about being associated with Holocaust deniers than you are with the fact that 97% of climate scientists agree that we are headed for certain doom, maybe you need to look at your life choices?)


Pot, meet Kettle. Photo by RexxS/Wikimedia Commons.

Basically the AP has officially and objectively updated our language to reflect what we already know: Climate change is real, and it is serious.

Language is the way that we communicate shared meaning, and it's always evolving. Simply put, if enough people agree on the meaning of the thing, then, well, that's what it means. (That's how "literally" can literally come to mean its own antonym or why we forget that even Shakespeare said "aks" instead of "ask.")

But words alone are not enough to undo the damage from our changing climate. You can do that by signing this petition ahead of the upcoming Paris climate talks — where all the world's leaders are coming together to solve the crisis.

And if that's not enough for "those who reject mainstream climate science," then I don't know what is.

Heroes
True
League of Conservation Voters


Hollywood is finally moving closer to equality. The past few years have seen a growing number of films starring, written by and directed by women. There's still a lot of progress yet to be made, of course. But there's one area where women have been kicking butt and taking names for decades: action films. Ironically, action films are stereotyped as the launching pad of the manliest of manly men: Schwarzenegger, The Rock, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone and so on. But some of the biggest action hits, both critically and commercially, are led by women.

If you're looking to expand your home video library for the holidays or just searching for a great holiday playlist while taking out some healthy aggression, here are 12 of our all-time favorite films featuring strong women front and center.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

One in five pregnancies end in miscarriage. It's a sad and heartbreaking experience, but there still is a lot to learn from going through something so tragic. Beyoncé recently shared what she learned from her miscarriages in an "ask me anything" published in the January 2020 issue of Elle Magazine.

A fan asked Beyoncé if she was disappointed she didn't win awards for Lemonade and Homecoming. Beyoncé said her miscarriages helped put it in perspective. "I began to search for deeper meaning when life began to teach me lessons I didn't know I needed. Success looks different to me now. I learned that all pain and loss is in fact a gift," she said in Elle Magazine.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Even though 68% of women in America where size 14 or above, plus sized women tend to draw more heat for the outfits that they wear, especially if those outfits are even remotely racy. Earlier this week, Lizzo was spotted at a LA Lakers game wearing the dress heard round the internet. Dubbed the "thong dress," Lizzo's t-shirt dress was straightforward in the front, but the back featured cutouts featuring her thong and fishnet stockings.

During the game, Lizzo twerked when the Laker Girls danced to her song "Juice," giving the crowd a full view of her ensemble.

Keep Reading Show less
popular

The Miss America pageant was started in 1921, but women of color were barred from participating until 1940. It took another 30 years for the first black woman to participate in the pageant in 1970. In 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first black woman to win Miss America. Now, the winners of all four major beauty pageants are all black women.

Zozibini Tunzi of South Africa was crowned Miss Universe, making this the first time in history that Miss America, Miss USA, Miss Teen USA, and Miss Universe are all black women. Tunzi is the first black woman to win Miss Universe since 2011, when Leila Lopes took home the crown.


Keep Reading Show less