First Annual List of Banished Climate Change Terms

December 31st, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Lake Superior State University has just released their 43rd annual list of banished words and phrases. These are usually new terms that pop culture has invented which professors at LSSU find silly in some way.

Since I attended that institution for two years, I consider myself to be grandfathered in to start my own banished list of terms that have been infecting public discourse on the subject of global warming (er, I mean climate change).

Here, in no particular order, are the first five that come to mind. I’m sure you can think of many more. There’s always next year.

Climate Denier How does one deny climate? Climate has always changed and always will. Maybe the intent is, “denier of catastrophic human-caused climate change”; if that’s the case, then I’m guilty as charged.

Weather Weirding Weather has always been weird, so stop with this bit of rhetorical redundancy.

Snowmageddon Back in the day, this was just called a snowstorm or blizzard. We also had to walk 5 miles through it to school, uphill both ways.

Climate Justice No, you are not entitled to whatever weather you want, every day of the year. Yes, we would all like to live in Monterey or Key West, but quit blaming my SUV for your poor life choices.

Naming of Winter Storms Hey, Weather Channel, stop it. Please, just stop it.

So, the next time you decide to drill down into some fake climate news, remember there are people trying to dish out tons of nothingburger terms they want you to include in your vocabulary.

Instead, I suggest you simply covfefe.

Let THAT sink in.

128 Responses to “First Annual List of Banished Climate Change Terms”

Toggle Trackbacks

  1. Mathius says:

    Dang, you just shut down the entire premise of Dr. Katharine Hayhoe’s speeches!

  2. Ken in Idaho says:

    As a funny note, my son actually walks up hill both ways to school. We live right on the walk/bus boundary, and being in the foothills of Boise, my son walks uphill to the bus stop in the morning, and then walks up hill from school to home in the afternoon…now he just needs some snowmagadden to get in the way for stories for future generations…Happy New Year Dr. Spencer

  3. Is there more than one snowstorm that got called Snowmageddon? The only one I know of hit the eastern US on February 5-6 2010, during an El Nino.

  4. Fox says:

    I find THE NEW NORMAL somewhat irritating. There is nothing new about normal weather.

  5. Steve Parker says:

    Snowmageddon? Snow up to the horses bridles?

  6. ren says:

    It will be a cold night in the south of the US.

  7. gbaikie says:

    ” Norman says:
    December 31, 2017 at 9:41 AM

    J Halp-less

    I have to move your response down here about rotating objects.

    Here is the accepted definition of axis of rotation.
    Definition of axis of rotation
    : the straight line through all fixed points of a rotating rigid body around which all other points of the body move in circles

    Here is what you claim: You see, Norman, this *rotation on your axis with respect to inertial space*, as you see it, has a much simpler name. Its called *orbiting*, and it is one of two possible motions the bodies can make. Rotating on their axis being the other motion. The moon does the former, not the latter. The reason? It is tidally locked.

    The Moon does both. It orbits around the Earth and it rotates on its axis. You are just wrong. Do you feel better when you make up physics that is not real?

    What do you think tidally locked means. The Earths gravity does not link to the Moons axis of rotation like a rod would do. ”

    The Moon is linked to Earth like rod attached to it.
    A rod could attached to moon and rod would always point at Earth [though earth spins so not attached to Earth surface- but instead end in space above the spinning Earth.

    Or where ever you are on lunar surface the Earth is always is roughly in the same direction.

    So if at north pole of Moon, Earth will always be in same spot and low on the horizon. If had a house on moon with window facing two mountain peaks with Earth visible in the valley of the mountain peak, Earth would stay there all the time.
    The axis of the Moon is in relation to the Sun. The sun circles the polar region. And axis is at 1 1/2 degree tilt to the sun. So once a every 365 earth days, the sun would be in the same valley as the Earth. And if Earth in front of the sun it blocks the sunlight. But most of time the sun is either above or below the Earth, as seen from thru the valley from the house window in lunar polar region.

    • gbaikie says:

      Oh, rats, no. Sun is in valley every Earth month and in terms earth blocking or above and below, it’s every 29 1/2 earth days of duration. 365 earth day year only has to with the small tilt- lunar northern polar “winter” 1 1/2 degree lower, “spring” 0 degrees, “summer” 1 1/2 higher, “Fall” again O degrees.
      And the inclination of lunar orbit of 5.1 degree to Earth is main factor causing Earth [most of the time] to not to block the sunlight to the Moon [or makes sun go up and down in relationship to Earth]

    • David Appell says:

      There are a few other motions of orbiting bodies:

      cycling in angle of tilt
      cycling in orbital eccentricity
      axial precession
      precession of perihelion
      Chandler wobble

      • WizGeek says:

        @David Appell: You’ve omitted the two most important orbiting motions:
        1. Our solar system’s cycle between apogalacticon and perigalaticon (~225 Myr); and
        2. our solar system’s oscillation “above” and “below” the galactic plane (~30 Myr).

        Ignoring the two oscillations above is akin to acknowledging weather while ignoring climate. [grin]

    • J Halp-less says:

      Norman misses the point completely. Gbaikie gets it. David Appell and Wizgeek, thanks for the corrections, but they do not affect the overall point. The way in which Norman considers the moon to be rotating on its axis is in fact simply part of the motion *orbiting*. In other words, it only *rotates* with respect to inertial space. Which is understood, but need not be confused with true axial rotation. For example, the Earth both orbits the sun *and* rotates on its axis. Its a lot simpler overall to say the moon orbits, but does not rotate on its axis. But doing so just seems to enrage Norman…

  8. Michael van der Riet says:

    Feedback, used to be called regurgitation or (trigger alert) vomiting.

    Unprecedented. Has an American President ever been impeached?

  9. David Appell says:

    “Climate denier” has come to be shorthand for “climate change denier,” which can depend on context but usually means someone who denies the influence of humans on climate.

    Or, in the extreme cases, basic scientific facts like the greenhouse effect and downwelling longwave radiation.

    • g*e*r*a*n says:

      Actually, the “greenhouse effect” would be another good choice for banishment, since it only exists in the imaginations of purveyors of pseudoscience.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      DA…”Or, in the extreme cases, basic scientific facts like the greenhouse effect and downwelling longwave radiation”.

      Downdwelling IR is just as harmless as CO2, neither cause warming of any consequence.

      As Joe Postma put it, we build greenhouses to do what the atmosphere cannot do.

    • An Inquirer says:

      There may be a couple of people on this site who do, but I have never met anyone who “denies the influence of humans on climate.” Not only is “climate denier” a ridiculous term, it also is a strawman argument in itself. It is a term that prevents rationale and productive discussion — discussion that could lead to mutually beneficial action. There have few better positions stated than the position of George H.W. Bush — let us taken actions that may be beneficial in global warming viewpoints but are definitely beneficial for other reasons. Abandoning his policy, we have taken actions that have been foolish and often counter productive to environmental concerns.
      Humans influence the climate in many ways. Deforestation is one example; over forty years ago we noticed that deforestation changed the rainfall in Africa. Another example is urbanization. And a recent paper argues that agricultural advances has led to decreasing summer temperatures and increased rainfall in the farmbelt — and maybe milder winters. Our farm never would never have reached its current production levels if not for the increased rainfall and decreased number of heat waves

  10. Scott says:

    “green energy” – silly propaganda term. However, it’s so ingrained in the culture it’s here to stay.

    “climate crisis” – crises are usually caused by a short term shock followed by a recovery. The campaign against fossil fuel, disguised as concern about climate, is a political movement that’s been going on for decades and will probably continue for decades.

    “carbon pollution” – Carbon dioxide is an odorless, colorless, invisible gas essential for all life on Earth. It occurs in nature in quantities many multiple times more than that emitted by man combusting fossil fuels to make our lives less miserable. Referring to it as pollution, often accompanied by a photo of a 1960s era smokestack bellowing dark black soot into the air, is very deceptive.

    • David Appell says:

      “Pollution” is any unwanted substance/something with deleterious effects.

      Hence noise pollution, light pollution, etc.

      Also, a Supreme Court ruling (Mass. v EPA 2007) defined CO2 as a “pollutant” under the Clean Air Act.

      • Snape says:

        Number of record lows (low min) set in the U.S. during the last 30 days: 291

        Record highs (high max): 1714


        • John says:

          Give us that stat again in say, 30 days.

        • Snape says:

          (I forgot to specify those figures are for DAILY records)

          • Snape says:

            Number of U.S. All-time temperature records during the past year:

            High max: 61
            High min: 118

            Low max: 7
            Low min: 7

        • An Inquirer says:

          The ratio of record highs to record lows is a very misleading statistic. if there is a small number in the denominator, the ratio becomes huge and graphs give the impression of impending disaster. A small number of record lows is likely not a real problem, but when the ratio is graphed, one gets the mistaken impression that temperatures are soaring.
          It would be hard to believe that the designers of the chart are not aware of the deception.

          • barry says:

            It’s not deception it’s statistics, and pretty straightforward.

            If the world is generally warmer than in the past (this is the case for all instrumental data sets), you are going to see more hot records than cold.

            There are larger data sets of record-breaking hot/cold events. I know one which has been running since 2002, and every year has more hot record breakers than cold (often about 10 times more). This is intuitively correct, because the data compass more than a century, and each decade since the 1960s has been warmer than the last.

          • Gunga Din says:

            I got the list of daily record highs and lows for my little spot on the globe back in 2007.
            Most of the record highs were set before 1950 and most of the record lows were set after 1950.
            Is that proof that “Global Warming” causes cold?

            PS I also got the list again in 2012.
            A good number of records fell.
            The odd thing is that a number of the 2012 record highs were lower than the 2007 record highs and a number of the 2012 record lows were higher than the 2007 record lows.

            (Perhaps “weather weirding” should be kept? 😎

      • lewis says:

        the Supremes weighing on the definition of pollution was a laugh, except it was so serious. But this is one of the reasons we need constructionists on the Court, not partisan hacks.

        • David Appell says:

          The Supreme Court was absolutely right — manmade CO2 is an unwanted substance with deleterious effects.

          A constructionist would rule that child pornography is legal under the First Amendment.

          • Gordon Robertson says:

            DA…”The Supreme Court was absolutely right manmade CO2 is an unwanted substance with deleterious effects”.

            That’s all we need, lawyers ruling on nature.

          • Svante says:

            Based on evidence.

      • John F. Hultquist says:

        I must have missed something.

        The Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency is free to regulate carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, as long as the source of emissions in question is a traditional polluter, like a factory or a power plant, rather than a school or a shopping mall.

        The Supreme Court did not rule on the science of pollution.
        The ruling was whether or not the EPA had the legal authority to regulate emissions of CO2.

        Also, “carbon pollution” as mentioned by Scott as a poor phrase to use because the intended thing is carbon dioxide. Not soot or diamonds.

      • UK Ian brown says:

        Dave.your first comment rules out CO2.Happy New Year

      • Phillip says:

        Carbon dioxide has never been a pollutant and never will be a pollutant. Only an idiot would claim carbon dioxide is a pollutant. Without carbon dioxide there would be no plants or animals on earth.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      scott…”green energy silly propaganda term. However, its so ingrained in the culture its here to stay”.

      It’s like the term ‘organic food’. What’s the other stuff we eat, inorganic???

      • John F. Hultquist says:

        Organic is one of the words that means what one defines it to be.
        For example: In business talk, organic growth is the process of expansion by increased activity within, as opposed to acquisitions, defined as inorganic growth.
        “Organic food” is defined in various ways to suit a purpose. Mostly it just costs more, and that is the purpose.

    • Gordon Robertson says:

      scott…”climate crisis”

      Like ‘environmental footprint’.

      How about ‘sustainable energy’.

  11. When I was growing up in the 60’s and 70’s people said that the strange weather we were getting was because the Russians were changing the weather. Now apparently this cold snap is thanks to a cross-polar flow that came from Siberia. Hmmmmmm?

  12. Milton Hathaway says:

    A few years ago, the weather forecasters for the nearby large city dramatically underpredicted a snowmageddon which hit at the worst possible time. The blowback was fierce, and the forecasters have since taken to overprediciting everything, having decided that the hidden cost of constant false positives was much more tolerable than the very visible cost of a rare false negative. I assume that this is somehow just more fallout from our litigious society, where, like some sort of societal entropy, all costs eventually become hidden.

    And yes, the previous paragraph was my attempt to annoy the LSSU word police, and those like-minded.

    The only word that really really annoys me is “tunafish”. I’m not sure why, since kittycat and puppydog don’t bother me.

  13. ren says:

    Most citrus farmers can handle temperatures dipping down into the lower 30s, said Duffey.

    However, if temperatures are allowed to get into the upper 20s for multiple hours, the threat greatly increases for damage to the citrus crop.

  14. ren says:

    Minneapolis, Minnesota
    Pressure: 1044.36mbar

  15. ren says:

    Latitude-height cross section of zonal mean temperature in the Northern Hemisphere
    The contour interval is 5 C.

  16. Don Andersen says:

    “rhetorical redundancy” ??

    Don’t you just hate it when people use big words just to make themselves sound perspicacious?

    As long as the phrase is not copyrighted, I will try my very best to use it at every opportunity. Thanks Roy and keep up your good work.

    • barry says:

      That entry was ill-condign, and inconsonant with experience. Roy’s travails in the general debate may have precipitated an inclement mien, aggrandizing his aegis against macaronic discourse.

      • g*e*r*a*n says:

        barry can’t think, but he can gab.

        It makes for great comedy.

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        barry…”Roys travails in the general debate may have precipitated an inclement mien, aggrandizing his aegis against macaronic discourse”.

        Must have taken you a while with a thesaurus to come up with that.

      • barry says:

        This grandiloquence is purposed for levity, a beneficent if occasional pursuit engendered by my pater, both parents being English teachers.

        Essay yourselves to become acquainted with drollery in general. It may prove a salutory remediation, rescuing you from the turgid, callow gibes that constitute the usual fare.

        Or, in vernacular that may not assault your comprehension:

        Take a joke, will ya?

  17. barry says:

    Adding to the list of rhetorical BS words:


    I never use the term “denier”. Unfortunately, the golden rule doesn’t work here.

    • g*e*r*a*n says:

      barry, do you ever use the term “liar”?

      Maybe you need to re-study the golden rule, along with your re-study of physics.

      (2018 is going to be a great year in climate comedy. You heard it here first!)

    • barry says:

      The golden rule was our compact once. You broke it, so with you I practice the rule, “Do unto others as they do to unto you.”

      Generally, you are absolutely in no position to cast stones. Nor do you deserve the benefits of the golden rule, as you trash it daily. I may call you a deceitful, game-playing ignoramus with no intellectual integrity whatsoever, but I will never call you a “denier,” because it’s rhetorical, even though it is sometimes appropriate.

  18. Gordon Robertson says:

    Roy…you might add ‘climate change’ itself to the list.

    What does it really mean? It implies a global climate and there is no such thing.

    Heck, I live in a rain forest climate in Vancouver, Canada and within 150 miles NE there is a full blown desert climate complete with sage brush and cactii. The temperatures there vary wildly summer and winter compared to Vancouver.

    How does changes in each of these climates relate to overall climate change supposedly caused by anthropogenic forces?

    • barry says:

      Would you call the ice ages/interglacials global climate changes?

      • g*e*r*a*n says:

        barry, how many ice ages were there?

      • Gordon Robertson says:

        barry…”Would you call the ice ages/interglacials global climate changes?”

        I want to see absolute proof they actually happened to the extent they did. I have seen evidence myself of U-shaped channels carved between mountains by glaciers that no doubt filled the valley. However, glaciers need to travel downhill and I can’t begin to understand how prairie regions could have been covered by a kilometer of ice.

        Where did the ice come from? It would have required immense amounts of snow piled on top of previous snowfalls to reach such an elevation. And where’s the proof it was global?

        Sorry, I find it hard to accept reports of past extreme catastrophes based on proxy evidence.

        • ren says:

          Weather ReportHome Local Weather Report
          New York, New York

          Current Conditions – F | C As of 11:04 PM on Monday 1 Jan 2018 (Local Time)
          View 1 Active Weather Alert
          Clear Clear
          Feels Like: -19
          Wind Chill: -19 Ceiling: NA
          Heat Index: -12 Visibility: 16.09k
          Dew Point: -17 Wind: 14kph
          Humidity: 65% Direction: 310NW
          Pressure: 1027.43mbar Gusts: NA

        • barry says:

          If you’ve ever argued that “CO2 leads temperature,” or talked about the Medieval Warm Period, you have been talking about proxy data. And yes, there’s plenty of evidence for ice age/interglacial in the Southern Hemisphere, timing well with the general shift in climate in the NH. Much of the info on atmospheric conditions during ice ages comes from Antarctica.

      • barry says:

        Who said anything about catastrophes? Is that the lens through which you perceive climate change must happen for it to be global?

        Of course there were ice ages and interglacials, with periods cooler and warmer than today. The evidence is prolific. The huge change in sea level is easiest to see (fossil coral in high mountains, for example), and ice-carved rocks in high latitudes is what first clued us in more than a century ago. Since then, the evidence is overwhelming. There’s no denying it, only ignorance of it.

        As Roy said, the climate has always changed. We’re really scraping the bottom of the intellectual barrel if we’re going to deny that. Might as well believe the earth was created in its present form 6000 years ago.

        Yes, global climate has changed in the past. It will change again.

      • barry says:

        If youve ever argued that CO2 leads temperature, or talked about the Medieval Warm Period, you have been talking about proxy data. And yes, theres plenty of evidence for ice age/interglacial in the Southern Hemisphere, timing well with the general shift in climate in the NH. Much of the info on atmospheric conditions during ice ages comes from Antarctica.

  19. ren says:

    Weather ReportHome Local Weather Report
    Huntsville, Alabama

    Current Conditions – F | C As of 10:29 PM on Monday 1 Jan 2018 (Local Time)
    View 1 Active Weather Alert
    Clear Clear
    Feels Like: -15
    Wind Chill: -15 Ceiling: NA
    Heat Index: -8 Visibility: 16.09k
    Dew Point: -14 Wind: 18kph
    Humidity: 65% Direction: 0N
    Pressure: 1032.85mbar Gusts: 29kph

  20. ren says:

    Denver, Colorado
    Current Conditions – F | C As of 10:34 PM on Monday 1 Jan 2018 (Local Time)
    No Active Weather Alerts
    M Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
    Feels Like: -13
    Wind Chill: -13 Ceiling: 335.28
    Heat Index: -11 Visibility: 14.48k
    Dew Point: -13 Wind: 5kph
    Humidity: 80% Direction: 40NE
    Pressure: 1034.54mbar Gusts: NA

  21. ren says:

    Chicago O’Hare International, Illinois

    Current Conditions – F | C As of 11:36 PM on Monday 1 Jan 2018 (Local Time)
    View 1 Active Weather Alert
    Clear Clear
    Feels Like: -27
    Wind Chill: -27 Ceiling: NA
    Heat Index: -18 Visibility: 16.09k
    Dew Point: -24 Wind: 16kph
    Humidity: 91% Direction: 300WNW
    Pressure: 1039.96mbar Gusts: NA

  22. ren says:

    Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Current Conditions – F | C As of 11:40 PM on Monday 1 Jan 2018 (Local Time)
    View 1 Active Weather Alert
    M Cloudy Mostly Cloudy
    Feels Like: -33
    Wind Chill: -33 Ceiling: 3992.9
    Heat Index: -24 Visibility: 16.09k
    Dew Point: -28 Wind: 13kph
    Humidity: 71% Direction: 280W
    Pressure: 1044.36mbar Gusts: NA

  23. ren says:

    Richey, Montana

    Current Conditions – F | C As of 10:50 PM on Monday 1 Jan 2018 (Local Time)
    View 1 Active Weather Alert
    P Cloudy Partly Cloudy
    Feels Like: -40
    Wind Chill: -40 Ceiling: NA
    Heat Index: -32 Visibility: 16.09k
    Dew Point: -36 Wind: 8kph
    Humidity: 91% Direction: 130SE
    Pressure: 1047.75mbar Gusts: NA
    Raw METAR from closest station (KGDV):
    KGDV 010456Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR M36/ A3066 RMK AO2 SLP497 T1356 FZRANO
    Nearby Weather StationsLearn More
    List Creek
    Richey, MT
    47.79N, 105.18W at 2195ft -39.1 3.0mph at 74ENE
    Updated 8m 8s ago
    More Details
    Sidney, MT
    47.91N, 104.78W at 0ft -31.3 0.0mph at 203SSW
    Updated 13s ago
    More Details

  24. CAOYUFEI says:

    Dear doctor, can you pay attention to the air temperature in Russia Yamal Peninsula?It feels a little bit high and it’s almost zero degrees and what’s the situation that’s causing me to get a little bit of urination

  25. ren says:

    When the entire Arctic freezes, it will mean global cooling, because the Earth’s albedo will increase significantly.
    Why should winter be always cold in Russia?

  26. ren says:

    Remember that this is only the beginning of winter, when the polar vortex becomes the strongest and the temperature above the polar circle is the lowest.

  27. ren says:

    I was wondering when it would be -40 C in the north of the US.
    Glendive, Montana

    Feels Like: -44
    Wind Chill: -44 Ceiling: NA
    Heat Index: -37 Visibility: 16.09k
    Dew Point: -38 Wind: 5kph
    Humidity: 75% Direction: 350N
    Pressure: 1047.07mbar Gusts: NA

    Nearby Weather StationsLearn More
    Windham Square
    Glendive, MT
    47.11N, 104.7W at 2087ft -38.6 0.0mph at 203SSW
    Updated 30s ago
    More Details
    Jefferson Elementary School
    Glendive, MT
    47.11N, 104.75W at 2119ft -40.0 0.0mph at 23NNE
    Updated 8s ago

  28. Phillip says:

    “Carbon emissions” should be banned.

  29. professorP says:

    Ren is going for a record.
    38% of all comments so far.

  30. JimNJ says:

    Happy New Year Dr. Spencer. Thank you for your posts through out the year.

  31. John says:

    Has the phrase “the Alarminati” been used? 😉

  32. Covfefe says:

    Thank you for this most amusing banned words list. I will pass it around to my friends. As a meteorologist trained in the late 70s (concentration in mesoscale atmospheric systems), I too find these terms distasteful and agree with you on all. I look forward to reading more of your information and posts. Happy New Year.

  33. Adrian says:

    Wanna swap passports?

  34. CA Rancher Clay says:

    Not a word to eliminate, but one to add:

    Megalothymic — A relatively new word but one with an ancient root; Basically describes a compulsive need to appear superior to others. It probably resides in most of us more or less, but I attribute it to urbanites who think they should farm and ranch from the ballot booth, or those who blindly latch onto any and all simple (and usually wrong) ideas of how complex systems work. I usually compound it, such as in “……..megalothymic, fantasist hate groups”

  35. Bindidon says:

    Some food for betterknowers…

  36. Bindidon says:

    An Inquirer on January 1, 2018 at 11:13 AM

    The ratio of record highs to record lows is a very misleading statistic. if there is a small number in the denominator, the ratio becomes huge and graphs give the impression of impending disaster.

    I agree with you. But exactly that is the reason why such high/low statistics rather show differences than ratios.

    But even if you show differences, the statistics must be interpreted carefully in so far as it distorts or amplifies effects in time series.

    When looking at this chart showing for example for each year the number of UAH LT grid cells (about 9500 in total) having had in that year their highest resp. least anomaly over the entire period


    we might indeed interpret it as a hint on the 1997/98 ENSO signal having been much stronger than that in 2015/16, despite the latter’s slightly higher average anomaly.

    The same happens when performing such statistics on GHCN data; there you suddenly discover that a huge amount of stations reported their minimal temperature in january 1977 (and a lot of them in turn within CONUS).

  37. Des says:

    “global warming (er, I mean climate change)”

    Mr Spencer, perhaps you’d like to explain IN DETAIL exactly what you mean by this. If you are referring to the claim “They changed ‘global warming’ to ‘climate change'”, please explain who “they” is, when this happened, and why.

    I would certainly hope someone who claims to be a rational scientist would not go around quoting mantra without providing some kind of justification.

    • Des says:

      I’ll take your refusal to reply as an indication of admission that “they” did not change “global warming” to “climate change”.

Leave a Reply to ren