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By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Well, what's in a name?

Amid all the fervor over Catholic Online's climate change articles, there's this: the public is more concerned with "global warming" than "climate change." What's that about? It's all in the name.

What's in a name? A lot more than we think.

What's in a name? A lot more than we think.

Highlights

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/28/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: global warming, global climate change


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A new study from Yale University says that the public is more concerned about "global warming" than "climate change." There's about 13 percentage points of difference between the two phrases.

"Overall, Americans are +13 percentage points more likely to say that global warming is a "bad thing" (76%) than climate change (63%). In particular, they are +10 points more likely to say global warming is a "very bad thing" (33%) than climate change (23%). By contrast, Americans are +12 points more likely to perceive climate change as a good thing (33%) than global warming (21%)," according to the paper.

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The term "global warming" has been in use for a longer period of time and refers specifically to the slow warming of the planet over time, mostly as a result of human activities since the industrial revolution.

However, the term global warming is also slightly misleading, which is why scientists have started using the more technically accurate term "global climate change."

Although the trend is for warming, climate systems are extraordinarily complex and even out most sophisticated models can only show long-term trends as opposed to precise predictions. As the overall average temperature of the planet increases, some areas experience localized cooling, or more extreme seasonal variations. To acknowledge this reality, global warming was rebranded as global climate change.

Climate change also technically includes other phenomena such as extreme weather events like swings in hurricane activity or droughts.

Despite the new label, the vast majority of scientists agree that greenhouse gasses are accumulating in the atmosphere faster than natural systems can absorb them and those gasses are being released by human activity. Furthermore, they conclude that the long-term impact of this trend is dangerous to established systems.

However, it is unlikely scientists will change their verbiage in order to maintain public support. Science is concerned with what is, and what will be, not what should be.

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