Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Watch your language

I’ve been noticing how some poor darlings get hot under the collar as soon as global warming is mentioned on a blog. I was thinking that perhaps climate change would be a safer bet. At least it would get around the spurious arguments that the planet isn’t getting warmer.

Climate change has its own issues, given it appears to refer solely to human-caused change, with "climate variability" being the term for other changes. My argument has long been that even if most changes are natural and cyclic, human activity is undeniably adding to the problem.

The problem is, literalists grab hold of key words and ignore any deeper interpretations. There has been a recent trend in Australia for an increase in very cold nights. While day temperatures might be increasingly slightly, clear, still night skies are allowing stored heat to escape and cold air to flow in.

A 2007 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their fourth assessment report, concluding that:

  • Warming of the climate system is unequivocal
  • Humans are very likely to be causing most of the warming that has been experienced since 1950
  • It is very likely that changes in the global climate system will continue well into the future, and that they will be larger than those seen in the recent past.

So there is an ample body of evidence to support the issue, regardless of what we call it. But I really do believe climate change is a safer phrase, given the ratbags out there ready to jump on any opportunity.

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