NPR: Feb. 21 2010 “Linguist Weighs in on Framing Climate Change”
Lakoff emphasizes the importance of the words chosen – or to be chosen – to frame climate change. In particular, he suggests “climate crisis,” as “crisis” incites a frame of reference in our minds that more accurately reflects the situation (per climate scientists). He says, “The idea of climate change, actually, was introduced by conservatives, by Frank Luntz in the 2004 campaign. He found that global warming alarmed people whereas climate change sounded fine. It was just change, as if it just happened, and people weren’t responsible. And climate is a nice word. It sort of gives an image of palm trees and nice climate, as opposed to hurricanes and, you know, and huge snowstorms and floods …
I think the climate crisis is a much better way to talk about [it]. You want to say this is crisis. This is a crisis for civilization. It’s a crisis for life on Earth” ( For me, “crisis” is immediately framed with Dr. Rob Cox’s ““Nature’s ‘Crisis Disciplines’: Does Environmental Communication Have an Ethical Duty? ”
(Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture, 1 (May, 2007): 5-20. (Lead
article in inaugural issue of the journal.) … more on my perspective about the (re-)framing of climate change as climate crisis (and implications for scholars and practitioners of environmental rhetoric and communication) coming soon …


About klangbehn

Doctoral Candidate: Rhetoric of Science University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue Tampa, FL 33620-5550 View all posts by klangbehn

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