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Climate Words of the Year


Code red, glacier blood, megadrought: The defining words of 2021

Anthropause, ghost flights, spillover: Only a pandemic could bring words like these

Birth strike, flygskam, Pyrocene: And we thought things couldn’t get worse

Firenado, hothouse, smokestorm: The year fires went wild

Hotumn, meatmares, ecoanxiety: Oh, how young we all were then

It was a sunny morning in July when my editor sent me a hot tip. An unprecedented heat wave in China was ruining the corn and soy crops used to feed pigs, sending the price of pork soaring. And at the same time, hot and dry conditions were sweeping Europe, expected to erase a third of the seasonal harvest of rice, corn, and animal feed in Italy alone.

There was a pattern emerging. A month earlier, the United States had baked in searing temperatures that killed thousands of cattle in Kansas. Everyone was worrying about inflation with grocery bills and energy costs rising. And it looked like the record-breaking heat had been playing a larger role in driving up prices than many people realized. In the course of writin... Read more

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