Climate change vs Global Warming...

For a while now I've been noticing two different memes making the environmental rounds.  Some folks are talking about Global Warming; others are talking about Climate Change; and they seem to be using them as synonyms.  Except, of course, they aren't... quite.

Global Warning means, obviously, that the whole earth is getting warmer.  Climate Change means that the climate is changing.  Using the latter term is a lot broader; the climate is "changing" if the temperature goes up, or if it goes down, or if it goes up in some areas and down in others, or if it becomes more humid, or less humid, or any of a large number of other variables that make up what a human perceives as the climate. 
Looking back on the historical prevalence of the two terms, I'd judge that there appears to be a shift from Global Warning to Climate Change underway.

So what's the big difference between these two terms, and why would people want to switch?

Simple: Global Warming is a specific term that has a specific meaning, and (as is necessary for any kind of scientific theory) can be falsified.  You can take measurements and find out how much the globe warmed, or failed to warm, over a specified time period.  But this is also a problem... what if the globe doesn't warm?  The problem is, Global Warming can be tested and proven to be a poor predictor.  So the target shifts to Climate Change, which is much harder to prove, because the Earth's climate is always changing... it's the causes of the changes that are harder to nail down.

UPDATE: Kim du Toit takes this reasoning one step further, and ends up where I should have realized I was heading... Orwell's definition of Doublethink, from 1984:
The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one?s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them? To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies -- all this is indispensably necessary.
Can anyone doubt that this accurately describes most of the Global Warming Climate Change activists?

This entry was published Tue Feb 05 19:54:48 CST 2008 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2008-02-05 19:54:48.0. [Tweet]

comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to Atom Feed

I am not a lawyer, and nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice.

This site is run on custom blog software and is being actively developed. Please be forgiving of errors.

This website is an Amazon affiliate and will receive financial compensation for products purchased from Amazon through links on this site.