This article deals with climate change from a linguistic perspective. Climate change is an extremely complex issue that has exercised the minds of experts and policy makers with renewed urgency in recent years. It has prompted an explosion of writing in the media, on the internet and in the domain of popular science and literature, as well as a proliferation of new compounds around the word ‘carbon’ as a hub, such as ‘carbon indulgence’, a new compound that will be studied in this article. Through a linguistic analysis of lexical and discourse formations around such ‘carbon compounds’ we aim to contribute to a broader understanding of the meaning of climate change. Lexical carbon compounds are used here as indicators for observing how human symbolic cultures change and adapt in response to environmental threats and how symbolic innovation and transmission occurs
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