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The Daily Need

Code words

Photo: Harvey McDaniel

During a recent Climate Desk podcast, I asked a guest about wind energy. He promptly told me that a fact in my question was wrong and then he delivered an answer that was supposed to show why I was wrong. I re-asked the question to clarify. He was adamant about his position. Later in the day, I was concerned I’d made an error and I re-researched the topic. What I’d said wasn’t wrong, but I discovered it might have been perceived as political.

I used the word expensive. I entered a version of my question into a blog aggregator (a go-to resource to find partisan angles on a story) and it became clear the word expensive is sometimes used in talking points against wind and solar energy. But expensive can be a subjective word. That is to say, what is expensive to Bill Gates and what is expensive to a high school teacher may be vastly different.

And if you look at some of the numbers, whether some forms of renewable energy are too expensive, depends on which side of the debate you are on, and whether or not you are talking about long-term or short-term expense. In this heightened political atmosphere, semantics sometimes get in the way of getting the answer to a simple question.

If there are any other code words you think I need to know, please share. I would be a grateful.

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  • Erin Chapman

    Actually, we ran across this same issue when producing aNeed To Know report on the legacy of nuclear energy. Some folks prefer “nuclear waste,” some (usually pro-nuclear energy) prefer “spent nuclear fuel.” Potato, potahto…

  • Anonymous

    i love it … monkey fighter!

  • Anonymous

    I prefer … EXPANSIVE …