“Climate Change” vs. “Global Warming”

Friday, June 06, 2014


(Billy Wilson/flickr)

The Environmental Protection Agency recently rolled out the Obama administration’s ambitious proposal to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants 30% by 2030. This proposal could bring renewed worldwide attention to climate change. Trouble is, we still haven’t sorted out how to talk about the issue. Is it “Climate Change” or “Global Warming”? Bob speaks to Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, and the principal investigator of the new study, “What’s In a Name? Global Warming Versus Climate Change.”


Anthony Leiserowitz

Hosted by:

Bob Garfield

Comments [6]

Patrick from San Francisco


The climate skeptic movement is funded by people who make their money from fossil fuels. Yes, there are academics and NGOs whose livelihood is based on climate change, but the idea that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by some sort of green industrial complex propaganda spread by an industry who will be much more profitable in a business as usual scenario.

I work in an NGO that is working to fight climate change, and the people and organizations we work with are not human-hating tree-huggers (although many are environmentalists). They are people that can see the writing on the wall, see the trajectory we are on, and see the negative effects of global warming and are working to improve it. Almost all the serious recommendations about how to fight global warming assume that people will still be using electricity and automobiles. No serious NGO or scientist working on the problem advocates that we all stop using power and return to the earth, man.

Jun. 17 2014 06:35 PM
Mark Richard from Columbus, Ohio

OTM should investigate the real reasons why 'climate change' or whatever overall term is used causes the eyes of consumers to glaze over everywhere. For at least half a century, since the neo-Malthusian revival of the 1960s, the public has been beset by apocalyptic prophecies from the political classes (not only office-holders, but program administrations, academics, journalists . . . the 'mandarin classes' . . . that never seemed to pan out. The earth's carrying capacity, keeps rising without the big crises predicted, in spite of the trendy innumeracy of the 1960s 'population explosion'. The 'limits to growth' fad of the 1970 was decisively discredited as the prices of basic materials and crops fell. In the 1980s some of the focus switched to how Reagan's arms buildup was going to end up with nuclear war, as the hysteria changed tack for overt political reasons. We have also seen the 'Love Canal' myth come and go, the threat to stupid, white-bread Americans from AIDS turn out to be exaggerated drastically (scientist Oprah Winfrey saw one in three Americans becoming HIV positive in their lifetimes), diseases threats like Sarin gas attacks and West Nile Virus and H1N1 influenza. The 'media' likes conflict and doesn't disapprove of the 'solutions', i.e., more power and resources to the mandarin class above of aspiring administrators of all society down to your eating habits and behavior to your family. So these world-encompassing threats are heavily and cynically hyped. For all I know, the climate may be 'warming'; the cause may be human activity, although all environmental scientists and engineers know that many factors influence climate change (solar activity, methane emissions from animals, wetlands, volcanos, forest fires). The issue was tainted by its connection to a pre-existing political program from the get-go, a program already familiar to students of cultural politics - the weirdly Old Testament echo of the sinful masses suffering apocalyptic punishments unless they mend their gluttonous, idolatrous ways.

Jun. 17 2014 01:09 PM
billkene from la

Forget the debate of global warming vs climate change, explaining nature's cycle of "renewable energy", climate vs weather, how heat induces more ocean evaporation for more rain or snow, or convincing the detrimental effects of too much CO2 or methane.

Simply rebrand and promote the expanion of "No fuel cost power plants".

Think about it - Which energy plants can be grouped in that category and which can not?
How can coal, ng, fuel oil or nuclear lobbyiest make that claim that solar electric, solar thermal, wind, hydro electric, tidal etc. can.

It's the opposite of the old marketing ploy "give away the razor (or inkjet printer) and make the money on the blades (or ink jet cartridges)".
Invest wisely in the right plant and the consumables will be provided at no cost.

Jun. 10 2014 01:57 PM
Michiganjf from Texas

Amazes me how some conservatives LOVE to ask, "just how self-interested are all these scientists who work on 'climate change'?"

... they just gloss over the more obvious question, "just how self-interested are all these coal and oil moguls who fund climate change denialism?"

The well-funded denialists have a PROVEN AND DEMONSTRATED self-interest, while the 99.6% of climate change consensus within the scientific community is somehow cast as a world-wide, scientific conspiracy of thousands to gain a few paltry, relatively TINY grant awards.


Jun. 10 2014 10:50 AM

nice hypothesis, charles. it might make an interesting work of fantasy, but as science it's DOA.

Jun. 08 2014 12:29 PM

I'm curious; just how many jobs, and university programs, and government programs, are dependent upon there being a "climate change" (or "global warming"; you pick) crisis? I don't mean to dismiss serious, ordinary scientific studies in climatology.

Rather, I'm just interested in how big is the public/private/academic industry in social/political aspects of "climate change"?

Assuming, arguendo, that the world climate was warming due to natural (non-anthropogenic) factors -- something like solar activity, or a volcano, or cyclical changes or something/anything else -- would the political forces now demanding "climate change" action be advocating for an anthropomorphic method to cool the planet? Or is this all about a kind of enforced naturalism? That human activity is inherently evil and must be controlled? If we as the human race were confronted by a naturally-induced global warming future, what would we do to combat it and get the climate to cool so as to suit our economic and/or social needs?

Jun. 07 2014 06:34 PM

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