Politics Prefers the Muddle

Leiserowitz has ruled and Revkin has validated it. We are doomed to imprecise language for decades.

Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, has distributed a note summarizing the findings of “What’s In A Name? Global Warming vs Climate Change,” an interesting new study of Americans’ perceptions of the two dominant shorthand phrases used to describe the building human influence on the climate system.

Given the way this is being reported, the questions posed assumed that the phrases have the same meaning.

If we are to communicate clearly about climate disruption, we should be capable of understanding that “climate change” and “global warming” and “climate disruption” are different but related concepts with distinct and important meanings. But renowned social scientists and journalism professors say otherwise. So by all means let us remain confused.


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