convenient truth


Senior Member
THE headline in The New York Times :

“By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say.” The specificity makes the crisis feel real, imminent and terrible. Call it a convenient truth.

From New York Times: Inconvenient Uncertainties

Hi, everyone!

Can you explain convenient truth? Actually, I can't find a suitable meaning for convenient in dictionary..( and I also don't know inconvenient ,, I think if you explain convenient, and I will understand inconvenient:))


  • icecreamsoldier

    Senior Member
    New Zealand English
    This is a kind of backformation from the expression "an inconvenient truth", meaning a fact that people find uncomfortable and challenging; a fact they would perhaps rather ignore or avoid. "Inconvenient" is synonymous with difficult and awkward.

    The play on words points to how using a specific timeframe: "by 2047" makes it easy for people to accept this speculation as fact.


    Senior Member
    English - England
    An inconvenient truth is a fact that is true but that no-one wants to believe.

    For example:

    Nicholas Copernicus and Galileo Galilei were two scientists who printed books that later became banned... Both scientists held the same theory that the Earth revolved around the sun, a theory now known to be true. However, the Church disapproved of this theory because the Holy Scriptures state that the Earth is at the center, not the Sun.

    Galileo wrote and published Dialogue on the Two Chief Systems of the World, Ptolemaic and Copernican (Dialogues) in 1632; Pope Urban VIII issued an order almost immediately to prevent the publisher from printing more copies.

    It was very inconvenient to the dignitaries of the Catholic Church to have scientists challenging the authority of the Bible and therefore of themselves. They were concerned that it would undermine their power and influence over ordinary Catholics.

    As for a covenient truth in this context. I guess that the findings are convenient for environmentalists who want to persuade governments to pursue a more responsible policy towards the Earth and its resources.

    Does that explain it?

    (I hadn't seen icecreamsoldier's answer when I was typing this. I think we pretty much agree.)
    Last edited:

    Language Hound

    Senior Member
    American English
    Just wanted to add that most Americans would read that sentence and immediately
    think of the movie An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary about former Vice President
    Al Gore's campaign to educate people about global warming.
    So I consider "a convenient truth" a play on "An Inconvenient Truth."
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