New climate related terms added to English dictionary
“Global warming” is one of many new terms that have been added to the latest edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in a special update dedicated to examining the language of climate change.
The term “global warming” refers to the long-term rise in temperatures and has been adopted by some people to replace global warming.
The OED, produced by Oxford Languages, part of Oxford University Press, launched a project earlier this year to expand and revise its coverage of vocabulary related to climate change and sustainability.
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As part of the project, OED lexicographers traced the term “climate change” to an American magazine article in 1854.
In the 1980s, the term greenhouse effect became more common but was overtaken by global warming. Both have been eclipsed by the term “climate change” which has developed over the past 40 years, but the inclusion of “global warming” in the special update reflects the growing use of the term.
Other additions to the update include eco-anxiety, used to describe discomfort or apprehension about current and future damage to the body. environment, and net-zero, which means the balance of greenhouse gas emissions with removals, as well as CO2.
The climate crisis, climate refugees, climate catastrophe and climate emergency are also included, reflecting the greater urgency people feel about this issue.
Climate denial also joins the list of terms, describing the rejection of the idea or evidence that climate change is caused by humans, or poses a significant threat.
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Another term featured in the special update is the climate strike, in recognition of youth protests led by activist Greta Thunberg.
The update comes as leaders and activists prepare for the tight UN Cop26 talks in Glasgow, which are due to take place in November.
Trish Stewart, science editor at the Oxford English Dictionary, said: “As world leaders come together to seek solutions to the problem of climate change, it has been fascinating, if at times somewhat alarming, to delve deeper into the language. that we use, both now and in the past, to talk about climate and sustainability.
“The very real sense of urgency that is now upon us is reflected in our language.
“What happens next depends on so many factors, but one thing we can be sure of is that our language will continue to evolve and tell the story.”
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