Words matter

In an answer to a reader question, NPR explains why it uses both "climate change" and "global warming" to refer to the concept of rising anthropogenic greenhouse gasses forcing a corresponding rise in global average temperature. Personally, I try to use "climate change" in all cases, for the same reason NPR likes that name—it doesn't confuse people who might otherwise not realize that a rising global average temperature can cause diverse local effects that aren't limited to higher temperatures.


  1. I would think people who believe man-made climate change is real would prefer the term “climate change.”  At the very least, it makes it harder for the deniers to say, “it’s cold, there’s a blizzard, global warming is a scam!”

    1. Words definitely do matter, which is why I’m uncomfortable with the use of “believe” to describe acceptance of scientific concepts such as climate change and evolution.

      1. Nonsense. Belief is “a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing”, and it certainly applies here: from the evidence available, we have a belief that anthropogenic climate change is happening. You are confusing belief with Faith, i.e., “belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.”

    2. Yes, unfalsifiable statements are harder to falsify. That’s also what makes religion religion, instead of science. “Climate change” makes global warming unfalsifiable. Colder? It’s climate change! Warmer? Climate change! Storms? Climate change! Calm? Climate change! Perfect for those who have ditched the local church because it’s uncool, but haven’t managed to free themselves from the religious impuse and associated desire to belong to a congregation, and cry damnation on all the heretics, or “climate deniers” as they’re currently known.

      1. You do know that Climate Change is just a name, not the actual body of claims, right? Because that argument is ridiculous; there are plenty of falsifiable claims made from the models and projections created by climate researchers.

  2. When you add energy to a system you increase the chances and severity of turbulence.  Climate Change better describes this turbulence, even though the net result is Global Warming.

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