The term 'climate change' wasn't created by a Republican operative seeking to manipulate the public into complacency about greenhouse emissions.
The federal Green Party — which is riding a wave of enthusiasm for its environment-focused platform this year amid the worsening climate crisis — posted the false information on its Twitter account Wednesday. It tweeted a correction after National Observer asked about it Thursday morning, but didn't remove the post.
"Tell your friends," read the original tweet.
"The term 'climate change' was devised by a Republican political strategist to keep people complacent to the scale of the impending global catastrophe. In a memo to fellow conservatives, Frank Luntz wrote: 'climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge.'"
Though the memo referenced by the Greens is real and did contain that quote, it was written decades after “climate change” was first used. Luntz wrote the memo in 2003 for then-president George W. Bush. The roots of the term have been around since 1956, when a scientist referred to it as "climactic change" in a paper, said Skeptical Science, a fact-checking site run by environmental scientists.
By the ’80s, 'climactic change' had morphed into 'climate change' and entered popular discourse, Skeptical Science said.
The Green Party tweeted out false information about the origin of the phrase "climate change" Wednesday, but corrected it after questions from @natobserver Story by @EmmaMci #cdnpoli #elxn43
The Green Party's post racked up over 100 likes and nearly 70 retweets as of midday Thursday. Though many people replied with the correct information, a few apparently climate change deniers also called it an example of “climate hysteria.”'
The party's correction tweet clarified that the use of the term was "devised and encouraged" by Luntz, but not invented by him.