Global warming: 'Climate hawks' win the name game
What to call people who accept man-made climate change? A US magazine has come up with some odd suggestions, reports Geoffrey Lean.
By Geoffrey Lean
Published: 6:14PM BST 22 Oct 2010
What's in a name-call? In the great global warming slanging match, those accepting man-made climate change probably win on politeness, usually calling their opponents "sceptics", though sometimes "deniers". Sceptics, on the other hand, retort with "warmists", when they're feeling generous, "eco-Nazis" when they're not.
But now Grist, an American green web magazine, has been trying to find its own name for what it calls People who Care about Climate Change and Clean Energy (or PCCCCEs). That's never going to catch on but, believe me, the scores of apparently serious suggestions for alternatives are almost all equally dire. What price "decarboners", "balancers", "planeteers", "terranauts", "transitionists", "anthro-adaptors", or the equally verbose "People for a Prosperous Future for the Next Generation"? Or the self righteous ("stewards", "saviours", "concerned citizens", "the sane bunch", or even just "parents") and the weird ("earth angels", "lightbulb heads", "neo-earthlings" and the Tolkienesque "Frodosapiens")? But I did rather warm to the "warmist" who suggested substituting "hotties".
You'd have thought that they'd be better off without a special name: after all, they are in the majority. But Grist picked "climate hawks", though it did somewhat spoil things by initially running a picture of a vulture. It cited Donald Rumsfeld, of all people – he defined a hawk as someone who "leans forward", whatever that may mean – and decided the term evokes "a visceral sense of both peril and resolve". I suppose it might just resonate in the US, but here, surely, it's for the birds.