The Guardian fixes style guide to emphasise climate emergency


The Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner sent out an email outlining new guidance for discussing climate change.

She stated that she wanted the content to be: “scientifically precise and rooted in facts, while also communicating clearly with readers on this very important issue.”

The Guardian’s online style guide, which is publically available (and vast) has already been updated with the changes in the email.

While terms like “Global Heating” don’t quite roll off the tongue as much as the more familiar “Global Warming”, the change seems to be influenced by an article they wrote in December of 2018 justifying the term.

Other terms have been changed to reflect a more conscientious attitude to the planet and nature.

The change of “Fish Stocks” to “Fish Populations” is a simple way of reminding us that fish are more than just a commodity.

Katharine Viner emphasised that the original terms are not banned, but that reporters should make an effort to ensure that they use the terminology that reflects the climate emergency effectively.

Although the Guardian is one of the first UK newspapers to make the changes, the attitude is widespread.

Data Source: Google Trends

Following the Extinction Rebellion protests taking place across the world, many UK businesses and councils have taken additional measures to ensure they are doing their bit for the environment.

Here, we see just one more example and a widely influential one at that.

Glasgow City council became the third Scottish council to declare a climate emergency yesterday.

In England, there is a growing list of councils adopting climate protection measures into their plans and policy.

It is not just the UK that is paying attention though, Ireland is currently the most engaged with searches for the term “Climate Emergency”.

Western Europe, North America, South Africa, India, and Australia are all countries contributing to the bulk of internet search traffic of that phrase.

Search interest for “Climate Emergency” in the past week across the globe. Data Sources: Google Trends, Bing

This growing focus is likely to play a major role in the upcoming European Elections and now the media is on board, it is likely to start spreading even faster.