Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Which Term To Use and Why?

The article "Is It Global Warming Or Climate Change?" by Trystan L. Bass poses a fairly simple question with an answer that has many political implications. The article asks whether we should refer to the issues affecting the environment as global warming or climate change. The two terms carry different meanings in that global warming addresses one aspect of changes to the environment while climate change addresses the whole picture. Global warming is used to describe the warming temperature of Earth's atmosphere, an important, but somewhat small aspect of the changes to our environment. Climate change however, is defined by the UN as, "a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods" (http://green.yahoo.com/blog/greenpicks/214/is-it-global-warming-or-climate-change.html). Climate change is much more all-encompassing than global warming, though the writer states that global warming is the much more popular and well known term.
Some politicians have used the term global warming to suggest that human factors may not be involved in changes to climate and that furthermore, the only change that will occur is slightly hotter temperatures. Either term is okay to use, but the writer makes it clear that both terms point to the same thing: a change in the atmosphere we can affect positively that may or may not impact the human race.


  1. Haven't thought about it that way! I probably would have confused myself between the two. thanks for the correction! = )

  2. In the 1980s, it was global cooling, up until now, it was global warming – so why switch it to climate change? Ah, so if it gets colder or warmer, it’s covered – got it.