The phrase of the year: Climate Hawk*

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"The phrase of the year: Climate Hawk*"

The staid editors of Merriam-Webster named ‘austerity’ the 2010 Word of the Year.  Meanwhile, the trendier New Oxford American Dictionary‘s 2010 Word of the Year is Sarah Palin’s ‘refudiate’.

And while climate activists may see 2010 as a year of austerity in which our efforts were refudiated by the anti-science, pro-pollution crowd, at least we got a name that beats ‘activist’.

Climate Progress names ‘climate hawk’ the phrase of the year!

What follows is a reposting of my 10-22-10 piece, “I’m not an environmentalist, but I am a climate hawk*” with a slight revision of the links.

My Grist colleague Dave Roberts has a must-read post, “Introducing ‘climate hawks’.”  I’ll reprint it below and then offer some comments.  And I am quite interested to hear what you have to say on his idea:

On Monday I asked, “What should we call people who care about climate change and clean energy?” A fantastic discussion ensued, up to 226 comments and counting “” thanks to everybody who weighed in, not only on the site, but on Facebook, Twitter, email, and “words spoken in my physical presence” (kids, ask your parents!).

As the logorrheic post below will attest, I’ve read all your feedback and given the matter quite a bit of thought. At long last I’ve settled on something I’m happy with, though of course I’m just Some Blogger and who cares what I think.

Without further ado, the winner is “¦ [drumroll] “¦Climate hawks.

Think on it a moment. Let it sink in. Roll it around on your tongue. Now, let’s discuss.

A lot of people seemed to mistake the nature of the undertaking. The point is not, emphatically not, to “rebrand environmentalism.” Please kill me if I ever have to listen to another discussion about rebranding environmentalism. The point is not that environmentalists need something new to call themselves, but that the class of climate hawks is not coextensive with the class of environmentalists. They are not the same group. In a Venn diagram, there would be substantial overlap but also substantial “¦ underlap? nonlap? disjoint? Point is, there are plenty of people who understand climate change and support clean energy but do not share the rest of the ideological and sociocultural commitments that define environmentalism as historically understood in the U.S. (Which is fine!)

Anyway, the main goal of the exercise was description, not marketing or “framing” or whatever. This set of people already exists. I just need something to call them!

A few quick notes about proposals I didn’t choose.

First, the term needs to be broad but shallow. That is, it needs to be broad enough to encompass everyone worried about these issues, but at the same time shallow enough that it doesn’t imply a bunch of other positions or commitments. It has to be something a business executive in Akron, Ohio, or a Navy Admiral will apply to themselves. You can’t smuggle a bunch of other stuff in; people just won’t use it.

So that pretty much rules out “planetarians” and “sustainablists” and “sky-huggers” and the like. The last thing we need is something that says, “like an environmentalist, but even more crunchy!” (It seems not to have occurred to lots of our readers that there are many Americans who don’t want to be nurturant Earth mother types.) Along the same lines, I’m somewhat fond of “transitionalist” or something else involving “transition,” but a) you’d have to stop and explain that to 99.99 percent of people, and b) once you explained that you’re talking about a ground-up re-engineering of human culture, you’re going to get a lot of, “oh, I just wanted a solar panel “¦”

So: broad but shallow.

Second, I’d just as soon avoid a term that has elite condescension built right in. You may have noticed that elite condescension is one thing lots of folks dislike about the left! This is why “Brights” blew up in Daniel Dennett’s face “” if you call yourself Bright obviously the implication is that everyone else is dumb. Similarly, while I appreciate everyone’s wit, “sane” and “educated” and “sensible” and “realist” just won’t do. Yes, climate denialists have tried to claim “climate realists,” but to my ears they just sound defensive and pathetic. Of course whatever position you select, you think you’re right. That’s why you selected it! No need to go preening about it.

Third, if the term’s going to catch on, it has to sound natural, something an Average Jane could say in conversation and be understood without a bunch of additional explanation. This, I’m afraid, rules out most of the neologisms “” “neodynamist” or “P4CE” or “energeers” or the like. It’s very, very difficult to get a brand new term like that in circulation, mainly because the first few people to try sound like total douchecanoes. Maybe a few NYT trend pieces could do it, but I’m pretty sure Grist couldn’t.

Fourth “” and I didn’t get this until I read through the thread “” I’d really like to avoid any “ist” or “ism.” An -ism is a tribe; an -ist is an identity. Those are substantial commitments. What’s direly needed is a way for people to be able to adopt climate and clean energy as concerns without being forced to make those additional commitments. This, I have to say, is what a lot of environmentalists don’t seem to get. Most people don’t want to be part of a tribe defined by ideological or political commitments. Environmentalism already strikes many folks as a kind of quasi-religion. We don’t want to create another -ism with similarly high barrier to entry. This, I’m sad to say, rules out “decarbonist,” which was one of my faves on purely descriptive grounds.

Now, a few things I like about “climate hawk” (which I should note was first suggested by my colleague Jon).

First and foremost, it doesn’t carry any implications about The Truth. It doesn’t say, “I’m right, you’re wrong. I’m smarter and more enlightened than you.” Instead it evokes a judgment: that the risks of climate change are sufficient to warrant a robust response. By definition, everyone must make such judgments on their own. Rather than being a Manichean choice “” you get it or you’re stupid “” it becomes about values, about how hard to fight and how much to sacrifice to defend America and her future. That’s the right conversation to be having.

Yes, I’m well aware that “hawk” has militaristic overtones. Trust me, when it comes to matters military I’m a DFH of the old school. But lefties shouldn’t be precious. The health of Mother Earth just doesn’t move that many people. For better or worse, more Americans respond to evocations of toughness in the face of a threat.

In foreign policy a hawk is someone who, as Donald Rumsfeld used to put it, “leans forward,” someone who’s not afraid to flex America’s considerable muscle, someone who takes a proactive attitude toward gathering dangers. Whatever you think about foreign policy, is that not the appropriate attitude to take toward the climate threat? Does it not evoke a visceral sense of both peril and resolve, the crucial missing elements in America’s climate response?

I flirted with the term “patriot” or some variant “” “green patriot” or “clean energy patriot” “” for many of the same reasons. Climate hawks (see, I’m getting used to using it) need to reclaim patriotism as their own instead of leaving it behind because crass nationalists burdened it with all sorts of unpleasant baggage. There’s a tradition of patriotism, responsibility, and resolve in America that is both potent and noble. Those who want to defend America’s children and grandchildren from suffering should make no apologies about the fact that they, not the reactionaries, understand what is best about America and love her the most.

Why not “clean energy hawk”? For one thing, two words are snappier than three and easier to write. For another, it’s important to keep the threat of climate change at the center of the conversation; clean energy is one way of fighting back against that threat, but there are many others. A climate hawk leans forward, wants to attack on as many fronts as possible.

This is all embedded in the term, and that’s the other advantage: the meaning is immediately clear. No explanation required. It will strike people as something they already are, not something they have to be persuaded to become. It may not appeal (as much) in other countries, but most everybody gets what it means. It is shallowly descriptive enough to capture the desired referent class, but at the same time normative enough to evoke some of the right values.

And so that’s why I’m going to start using it. Your thoughts, questions, and criticisms are welcome.

I think climate hawk is a good rhetorical phrase, since it offers a metaphor and is punchy.

I have long pointed out that I’m not an environmentalist “” see “Let’s rename Earth Day.”   Not that there’s anything wrong with environmentalist.   I just don’t happen to be one.  Yes, environmentalists have screwed up their brand through flawed messaging that focuses too much on the “environment” and not enough on people, but then again just about every single part of the progressive coalition have screwed up its messaging, and I’m still a progressive.

I am a physicist by training who studied physical oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.  Since then, I’ve mostly been an energy technologist, including a 3-year stint as deputy manager and then manager of what was then the largest program in the world to work with businesses to develop and deploy clean energy and low carbon technologies.  Then I became a consultant to businesses on clean energy and carbon mitigation, and then a full-time energy/climate policy analyst and blogger.

I don’t think “climate hawk” applies to my view of climate science, but rather my view of climate and energy policy.  My view of climate science comes from having read much of the climate science literature of the last few years and having listened to many of the leading climate scientists (for a recent literature review, see “An illustrated guide to the latest climate science“).  In that respect I sometimes call myself a “climate science realist.”

Now one of the main points of ClimateProgress is that a full understanding of what climate science says pretty much tells you what the policy approach needs to be “” very ‘hawkish’ “” which is to say deploy every last bit of low-carbon technology we have today as fast as is humanly possible, to lower emissions (and bring them down the experience curve) as fast as possible, while also aggressively pursuing more R&D, in an effort to stay as far below 450 ppm as is possible, or, failing that, to go as little above 450 ppm for as short a time period as possible.  Failure to hawkishly deploy fast and hard risks triggering the carbon cycle amplifying feedbacks that are poised to take us to 700 to 1000 ppm this century, which would lead with high likelihood to multiple, incalculably-destructive catastrophes (see links at bottom).

One also needs very aggressive mitigation to even have a plausible chance that 1) geo-engineering could contribute slightly to averting catastrophe 2) real adaptation would be possible, as opposed to misery and triage masquerading as adaptation, which is where we are headed right now (see “Real adaptation is as politically tough as real mitigation, but much more expensive and not as effective in reducing future misery“).

The overwhelming majority of people who have seriously read the recent literature  and who have talked to a large number of top climate scientists are climate hawks, whereas the vast majority of the climate doves, deniers, delayers or lukewarmers you read online or might in person have not done those two things.

So as a shorthand for that aggressive science-driven policy, I think climate hawk is fine “” as long as you clearly define your terms when you use them, which I have the luxury of doing.  The asterisk in the headline is meant to refer to climate hawk as I’ve defined it here, which may be different than how Roberts defines it.  As I’ve said, in general, short phrases like that are needed when you don’t have time to explain yourself.  When you do, it’s better to explain yourself.  That’s why I’d suggest you read the comments on Grist, where Roberts spends a certain amount of time explaining himself.

The term does not, however, help me as a blogger.  I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to call, say, Bill McKibben a climate hawk unless he himself used that term, whereas I have no problem calling him a climate science realist.  I’d be interested in hearing from him and all my other readers what they think about this and whether they would want the term applied to them.

For the record, this is most certainly a fight for the health and well being of our children and countless future generations “” see Nature: “Scientists must now emphasize the science, while acknowledging that they are in a street fight.”

Here is a small piece of the recent science that makes me a climate hawk:

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54 Responses to The phrase of the year: Climate Hawk*

  1. fj3 says:

    Climate hawk is a good term and serves the purpose.

    Net-zero transportation is also an important term describing a critical path for technological development.

  2. _Flin_ says:

    “Climate Hawk” really is a great phrase. It’s powerful, positive and distances itself from treehugging and frogloving.

  3. 'Climate Hawk' Anne says:

    I LOVE IT. I am a climate hawk! Fearless, willing to use “weapons of mass sustainability” to get the job done. I’m on a mission, I have a mandate, and I won’t stop until we win. Don’t mess with me, really, you shouldn’t. I’m hawkish on climate, bullish on the kind of social and technological change that will protect our climate system from the evil-doers polluting our planet day in and day out. Don’t test me … I will go to the mat for this. No, I really would, and you should too.

    Being a climate hawk is patriotic. (It’s actually more matriotic, but you get the point.) I am an Earth warrior, protecting Father Sky against the poisonous combustion gases that mar the landscape of Mother Earth. Smokestacks and tailpipes are my in my crosshairs, and I’m a good marksman, zeroing in on just the right mix of public policy and social change to wipe out dirty coal plants, one by one, and replace them with the sophisticated weaponry of a livable world: zero energy homes, wind turbines, photovoltaic rooftops, solar-heated water, efficient appliances, electric cars, high-speed rail, community power… power to the people!

    I am a climate hawk. My talons are sharp, my eyes are keen, my targets are in sight. Don’t be afraid — be one of us! Put aside your fears of the enemy — the oil lobby, the coal lobby, mountain top removers, the Koch brothers — they are mere cowards and fools. Spread your wings and fly with us. We are climate hawks, climate hawks on a mission.

  4. Marisa Roth says:

    I for one love the phrase, and I’m glad to see some “positive” recognition as an environmentalist – because the phrase is in my mind a strong positive one.

  5. 350 Now says:

    Mexico City is a solar city…*

    Poet/conservationist/monarch butterfly enthusiast Homero Aridjis was interviewed in a NY Times article and reflects on how Mexicans deal with the winter cold. Yet one more way they outshine us – on energy sanity.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/29/world/americas/29mexico.html?_r=1

    * Perhaps, in the not too distant future, they will have access to affordable solar panels from China to help offset the cold. I can personally attest to the fact (from visits over four winters), that lodging at 10,000 feet for ecotourists near the monarch sanctuaries have only fireplaces to warm the bitter February cold, not a fossil-fueled dial on the wall.

  6. 350 Now says:

    Science Cafes – a great way to educate consumers on renewable energy…

    Our NC-Environmental Education listserve has been posting about Science Cafes (blurb below) that could be easily cloned at virtually any city, any place where a climate specialist, college prof, etc. would donate an occasional evening to lead a discussion.

    From the map at “find a cafe” over 100 science cafe locations are identified. Wish there were 10,000!

    – – – – – – –

    Greetings from Morehead (Planetarium)! No time like snow time to start thinking about the SUN.
    Join us this Thursday evening for a special Carolina Science Café…

    Harnessing the Sun: Current Trends in Photovoltaics Thursday, Dec. 30, 7 p.m.
    BACK BAR at TOP OF THE HILL Downtown Chapel Hill

  7. Mark says:

    I asked Dave Roberts to tell provide his definition of climate hawk in 140 characters or less. This is what he tweeted in reply.

    Climate hawk: One who judges the risks of climate change sufficient to warrant a robust response.

  8. Jack says:

    Isn’t 2010 is the death of the global warming scam? The sceptics said so.

  9. catman306 says:

    Witsend has climate hawk lapel pins available. They are beautiful and make a statement. Hurry over and get one.

    http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/

  10. Brigid says:

    Is “climate hawk” an identity or a description? You didn’t think an “ist” would be an appropriate term because it is an identity, which implies that you want “climate hawk” to be pure description. But you also say you don’t want to call McKibben a climate hawk unless he uses the term for himself – a reservation one usually has about identities, but not descriptions. If it’s just a description, I think you can use the term to describe anyone you interpret as being climate hawkish.

    So which is it? Or does it really matter which it is? It seems to me the term is more powerful if it’s just descriptive; that would allow people to realize that they’ve been climate hawks all along and just didn’t realize it.

  11. Mike says:

    And then there are the climate loons. (Hey, they say they don’t like being called deniers.)

  12. Wit's End says:

    Haha, thanks Catman but the pins are in production – not ready for maybe 2 more weeks. Design can be seen here: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2010/12/climate-hawk-pin.html

  13. Wit's End says:

    MIke, #12, I had been thinking climate hawk v. chicken/ostrich/dodo….but I love loon! It’s perfect. Let’s make it clear how crazy the skeptics are.

  14. tst says:

    The wonderful thing about the term “climate hawk” is the framing. Conservatives have used “hawk” several times in the past – foreign policy hawk, deficit hawk – in a way that implies, at least in their own minds, strength and patriotism. At the same time, they’ve denigrated the flip side of the equation – the doves – as weak, ineffectual and unpatriotic.

    Conservatives have used these themes so frequently, and with such passion, that most can’t imagine themselves as doves. They’re hawks, pure and simple. So if we’re able to brand ourselves as climate hawks and also brand deniers as the equally important “climate doves,” then we immediately put the deniers on the defensive. In their minds, being labeled a dove is like being labeled as gay or socialist or unAmerican. It’s a weakness, and since they’re inexorably drawn to what they perceive as positions of strength, it will be much harder for the Limbaughs and the Inhofes of the world to rally the troops.

    Kudos to Dave Roberts and Joe and the other folks who’ve picked this up. It might not seem like much right now, but it’s the kind of thing that can have a huge impact on the debate over the next few years – provided we can entomb the “climate hawk” and “climate dove” terms in the public consciousness.

  15. tst says:

    By the way, here’s a bumper sticker that truly promotes this essential framing:

    I’m Proud To Be A Climate Hawk

  16. Will G. says:

    #3 Climate Hawk Anne: Rock on!!!! Let’s do this!

    I’m a climate hawk and I’m ready to get to business in 2010.
    http://members.greenpeace.org/survey/start/264/?session_action=reset

  17. Tim L. says:

    “Climate Hawk” is just right.

  18. MarkF says:

    I really like it.

    Happy New Year Joe, thanks for all your efforts,

    I see a green light shining, from the west to the east, any day now, any day now.

  19. Paulm says:

    2nd place… Extreme xtremes.

    Even the extremes were extreme. This year started with a good sized El Nino weather oscillation that causes all sorts of extremes worldwide. Then later in the year, the world got the mirror image weather system with a strong La Nina, which causes a different set of extremes. Having a year with both a strong El Nino and La Nina is unusual.

    http://climatesignals.org/2010/12/2010-weather-more-extreme-21000-dead/

  20. Barry says:

    “climate hawk” can also do double duty as a vivid descriptor for many of our new extreme weather events we have cooked up.

    HAWK: verb “to cough mightily; to cough something up. To spit.” Ex: “Did you see the climate hawk that landed on Nashville last week?”

  21. Barry says:

    And let’s not forget the homophone — “Climate Hock” — that so perfectly describes our delusional unrestricted dumping of fossil fuel pollution into our climate future.

  22. Windsong says:

    Wit’s End, just visited your website and loved it! However, I don’t like the color red. Would it be possible to have a pin without the color red?

  23. “Climate Hawk” is great — it implies that these “hawks” have a clear, sharp overview of the climate situation from their high vantage point in the sky, where they can better see the “big picture” as well as the details of what’s happenning on the ground and what it all means.

    Right now is also a good time to rename “Earth Day,” since there’s still more than 100 days of lead time to publicize the new name before April 22. How about “Grandchildren’s Day”! It’s about maintaining a livable planet for our grandchildren. Most people love kids, and as Baby Boomers head into their 60s and 70s, most people will have grandchildren, and will love them, and “Grandchildren’s Day” will give them a unified cause nearly everyone will agree on. And they’re cute! Who would want to leave a dying, hellish planet to their grandchildren? Only Climate Deniers, who will be few and isolated once their grandchildren-hating beliefs are recognized as such.

  24. Russell says:

    Deserving of obloquy as the populist sofa samurai of CEI may be, their reluctance to take the field in scientific controversy does not make hawks of those that squawk about it.

    Whom does Joe imagine pinning on a cross between a lunar lander mascotte and a WPA emblem?

  25. Wit's End says:

    Hi Windsong! The idea was to make the climate hawk pin with a background of red, white and blue, with the words “Climate Hawk” green (of course!). It is very difficult to get accurate reads on colors over the internet, especially because that is just a drawn proof. The real pin will have brass outlines, not yellow, so it will look quite different. I will take a picture of the finished product and post it; that will give everyone a better idea what it looks like.

    The plan is to order more once ~150 are sold and the initial investment recovered. So at this time because a minimum run of 300 is required, it will only be available with red. Then I can order more based on how popular they are and certainly, I envision they could be of a different design, or color scheme. I appreciate any suggestions!

  26. Tor B says:

    “Climate Hawk!” May the introduction of this term be a step toward rapid acceptance of the need to take action! God willing (by which I mean: careful planning and effective promoting), hawkish pro-military types will come on board because they wouldn’t ever want to be dovish on anything, and Earth-huggers like me will hold our noses, acknowledging it’s a catchy phrase, and think “predators need love too.”

  27. Colorado Bob says:

    I would direct everyone to see the link from Argentina, Arkitkt provided on the last thread .

    http://climateprogress.org/2010/12/29/ben-santer-attribution-extreme-weather-events-to-climate-change/

  28. Colorado Bob says:

    Every major crop growing area of the world has been slammed this year.

  29. Michael Tucker says:

    “once you explained that you’re talking about a ground-up re-engineering of human culture, you’re going to get a lot of, “oh, I just wanted a solar panel …”

    I think that is what happened to our president. Someone ‘explained’ that to him and Obama o’bandonded ALL the climate change rhetoric and installed a solar panel. He must have thought it might be like fixing acid rain or the ozone hole. That was when he still believed in ‘clean coal’.

    We sure would not call President Obama a climate hawk.

  30. David Smith says:

    tst #16 – I created a “I’m proud to be a Climate Hawk” Sticker and posted it at

    http://store.stockbridgegreen.com/bs110-01innovatesolutions.aspx

    I included a little something extra.

  31. Colorado Bob says:

    Narsarsuaq, Greenland at 9:50 PM WGT –

    50F east wind at 24 mph. This is today’s high so far , the temp went up 9F since noon. Max wind today was 54 mph.

    This current reading is 22F above average max temp., and sets a new daily record by 6F. Beating 44F set way back in 2002.

    The average min temp is 14F, since this reading is at 10 o’clock at night , this measurement is 36F above average.

    http://www.wunderground.com/history/airport/BGBW/2010/12/29/DailyHistory.html?req_city=NA&req_state=NA&req_statename=NA

    Narsarsuaq started this streak on Nov. 19th they set the new daily record of 42F . Then they set new high records for 4 days, peaking with one of 57F.
    Add in another 11 new high records since, and this station in Greenland has set 16 new daily high temp. records in 60 days.

  32. Colorado Bob says:

    That palm oil plantation at Narsarsuaq is on the drawing boards.

  33. CTF says:

    Awesome = “And while climate activists may see 2010 as a year of austerity in which our efforts were refudiated by the anti-science, pro-pollution crowd, at least we got a name that beats ‘activist’.”

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    I documented the 60 day heat wave in Greenland , with some graphics to go with it.

    Narsarsuaq, Greenland at 9:50 PM WGT / 12-29-2010

    http://coloradobob1.newsvine.com/_news/2010/12/29/5735005-narsarsuaq-greenland-at-950-pm-wgt-12-29-2010?threadId=3016017&commentId=50413320#c50413320

    The temperature rose another 2F degrees as I slapped this together. It’s 52F there now.

  35. catman306 says:

    Colorado Bob, these musicians thought they were making a joke. I guess they were in 1986. We need a laugh, but it’ll be gallows humor.

    The B-52’s – Girl From Ipanema Goes To Greenland[Officail Music Video]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6RXS0PNVN7U

  36. hekdic says:

    Any chance of a sticker like the one at the top of this thread?

  37. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I don’t like Climate Hawk because it is too redolent of that militaristic obsession that is destroying your country and terrorising the planet. I prefer ‘Gaian’ and ‘environmentalist’ is also good, because we are all environmentalists, good, bad or indifferent, because, like an infinite God, embracing everything, the environment is us. It is our fabric, our being, the stage on which we act out our petty turmoils, and it was so for our ancestors back through time and will be for our descendants into the far future, if we pull our fingers out, pronto.

  38. Colorado Bob says:

    Cat –

    Several here have been watching Greenland. After 60 days we can say we’ve been watching a heatwave that is dragging into it’s sixth week in Greenland. 16 new high daily records, with many more days running 10F to 15F above average. The forecast high of 59F on Fri. the last day of 2010 will interesting.

    The Great Greenland Heat Wave rolls on.

  39. Colorado Bob says:

    And we can rule out the “Urban Heat Island Effect” for the readings there :

    8:04 min. of a VLJ Embraer Phenom 100 Landing at Narsarsuaq Airport in Greenland (BGBW)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUpCQsP5ijg

    I love it.

  40. Colorado Bob says:

    Hundreds flee Australian floods as disaster worsens

    “This is a disaster on an unprecedented scale,” Bligh told reporters. “What we’ve never seen is so many towns, so many communities, so many regions all affected at once. It is a miserable and heart-breaking event,” she added.

    Read more: Hundreds flee Australian floods as disaster worsens – The Times of India http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Hundreds-flee-Australian-floods-as-disaster-worsens-/articleshow/7189838.cms#ixzz19a1u9Ycr

  41. Sou says:

    After reading this post and the comments, it seems to me that terminology is very US specific. I don’t particularly like ‘climate hawk’ – but then I’m from Australia, and the ‘hawk’ bit sounds very USA-centric (AFAIK, mostly recognised elsewhere for its use in the USA to describe US-based war-mongers).

    I don’t quite get what is wrong with the word ‘environment’ and its derivatives. Again, it must be a USA-specific thing.

    By all means use the tag ‘climate hawk’, but keep it in the USA, IMO. It might not go down quite as well in some other parts of the world.

  42. Prokaryotes says:

    Sou said, “By all means use the tag ‘climate hawk’, but keep it in the USA, IMO. ”

    No, stop thinking so national, to combat climate change we need a global approach. And the situation we dealing with is war-like! Climate Hawk is the best term to describe activists action. Ofc you could use other terms, but Climate Hawk has everything.

    And Climate Zombies is the best term for people who further contribute to dangerous – species survival threatening climate change.

  43. As a non-US reader I don’t feel qualified to comment on the term, which clearly has cultural significance in the US. However, I am entirely on-board about the sentiment of getting a “broad but shallow” alliance because we need mainstream understanding that the problem we are facing is caused by our everyday way of living.
    I trace the root cause back to the invention of double-entry book-keeping coming way before we discovered a use for fossil fuel but it was compounded by the fact that much of what we accept to be economic “law” is rooted in 18th century thinking. Well, our knowledge has moved on since then and in most fields we have managed to junk practices that are no longer appropriate. The method of accounting for economic activity that ignores the cost of using the Earth’s resources and services has now joined that list.
    I do not believe that ordinary people really are comfortable about their ordinary activities being so destructive (which is why the denier voice is so strong) but if we focus on sorting out the “rules of the game” we have more chance of getting the mainstream on-board.

  44. MarkF says:

    Should this be flipped over?

    How about a better description/name than “denier” or “skeptic”;

    members of that group deserve a much more memorable and informative phrase ….

    Climate dunce, for instance.

  45. tst says:

    It’s hawks and doves, folks. And if we’re the hawks, they’re the doves. Believe me – there are few things worse for a conservative denier than being called a “dove” in the media. It invalidates their macho self-image.

    The other names mentioned here are just that – names – and they can all be laughed off as such. But hawks and doves have been ingrained in the public consciousness since the Vietnam war. If we don’t label the deniers as doves, the hawk side of the equation forfeits much of its power.

  46. Climate Screeching
    –by Horatio Algeranon

    All the talk
    Of “Climate Hawk”
    Is like discussion of fairies.

    The reality
    Is that we’ll be
    More like “Climate Canaries.”

  47. David Smith says:

    hekdic @ #38 – This sticker and others are available at the site of its creator;

    http://www.stockbridgegreen.com/stepone.html

  48. Scrooge says:

    Ok I’m cheap but any coupon codes for stockbridgegreen?

  49. Conrad Easley says:

    I prefer Climate Loons.

  50. Windsong says:

    Climate Hawk versus GOP Ostrich. This is what it comes down to…

  51. espiritwater says:

    I’m a climate change Eagle, flying high in the sky, ignoring the carrion below. With wide-spread wings, soaring higher and higher, I look for the loftiest mountain craig on which to build my home.

    Climate change deniers, like scavengers, scrounge for the last remaining profits to be had from the burning of fossil fuels. Eyes, greedily fixed on money, egos entrenched on “me” and “my”, they are oblivious to the fate of the planet, blind even to the fate of their children.

    I’m a climate change Eagle, soaring high in the sky, eyes focused firmly on Truth…

    “Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.”

    “I will destroy those who destroy the Earth.” (Revelations 11:18)

  52. happy to be a climate hawk!