Could 'climate delayer' become the political epithet of our times?

(The Guardian, 1 Mar 2019) Already we argue over whether to call them climate deniers, skeptics or doubters. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might have hit on a more devastating attack.

It’s a fantastic time for verbal abuse in American politics. Donald Trump loves a schoolyard nickname, insulting everyone from “Crazy Bernie” Sanders to “Little Marco” Rubio. In turn, the president’s opponents, and sometimes his allies, have called him a moron, a motherfucker and mocked his tiny hands.

But is there a way of using name-calling, not just to insult, but to introduce a new political idea. It seemed like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was doing that this week when she used the term “climate delayer” to call out those dragging their feet on climate change.

Ocasio-Cortez used the term to describe Senator Dianne Feinstein, who was filmed telling a bunch of children that when it comes to the looming apocalypse, she knows better than they do, because she has spent a long time in the Senate not fixing the problem. While they called for immediate action on the Green New Deal, she argued that change wasn’t going to come anytime soon. After all, when it comes to averting a global catastrophe on an unprecedented scale, endangering hundreds of millions and fundamentally altering the human experience, you don’t want to rush into things.

The clip went viral. In the ensuing days, Ocasio-Cortez warned on Instagram and Twitter of the threat of “climate delayers”: people who appear to accept that something needs to be done about climate change, but don’t seem to grasp its urgency. These people, she pointed out, aren’t much better than people who deny climate change exists.

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The Guardian, 1 Mar 2019: Could 'climate delayer' become the political epithet of our times?