Year 3, Month 4, Day 13: Whodunnit?

Krishneil Narayan writes in the Fiji Times, attempting to clarify an important distinction:

There is always much confusion between the terms Global Warming and Climate Change (CC). Many a times, people young and old, find it difficult to define these terms and use it interchangeably. But to tackle the devastating impacts of the changing climate and its threats to humanity, it is important to be able to differentiate the fine line stuck between the two.

The international scientific community agrees that there has been a significant change in global climate in recent years. The Earth’s climate is changing at an alarming rate.

In most places around the world, average temperatures are rising. Scientists have observed a warming trend beginning around the late 1800s.

According to the leading international scientific body for the assessment of climate change consisting of some 4000 climate scientists — the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — the reason behind this trend is global warming and CC due to human activity. Humans releasing heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is the basis of the warming trend.

Credit where credit is due. Sent April 6:

As your article makes clear, the warming atmosphere and the changing climate are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. But there is more to this than terminological niceties. The phrase “climate change” was first suggested in 2002, by Frank Luntz, a public relations specialist for the U.S. Republican Party, as a way of deflecting increasing public concern about “global warming.” The new words sounded less ominous, and therefore less likely to trigger demand for meaningful policy responses — anathema to the petrol-funded Bush administration.

In a rare turn of events, the term generated by a political consultant more accurately describes the situation, and is now routinely used by climatologists. But the grim irony of the situation is that Mr. Luntz’ strategic euphemism enabled the United States and its industrialized allies to postpone indefinitely the changes that must be made if our species and our civilization are to prosper in the coming centuries.

Warren Senders


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