Watching our Words

Global warming, yea or nay? While politicians seem to argue about its reality more than any other group, we common folk have been known to joke about it. When we have exceptionally cold weather (like at one of Al Gore’s conferences a couple years ago) we point at it and say, “Hey look! More global warming!” Just recently I saw an article that global warming would cause the (north) polar ice caps to melt, which would release more fresh water into the Atlantic, which in turn would affect the Gulf Stream in such a way, that Europe would become much colder. Have you ever seen a study more ready-made for jokes: “Global warming leads to global cooling.”

Personally, I think it’s a language problem.

Instead of talking about “global warming” we should talk about “human induced climate change.” Although I must confess that I’m not a scientist and have taken no courses in meteorology, I do know enough to recognize our atmosphere (the place weather happens) as a complex system. A small tweak in one place can produce large (unpredictable) changes elsewhere in the system. That’s known as the “Butterfly Effect.”

If we change the discussion from “global warming” to “human induced climate change” then a much broader amount of data comes into the picture for us ordinary folks.

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One Response to Watching our Words

  1. Don Emery says:

    It seems scientists are not confused and are in mostly complete agreement that “global warming” or whatever name we give it is real and in need of attention. The Kyota agreement reflected that a number of enlightened nations are in agreement and were willing to take some steps to address the issue. Of course congress never ratified the agreement then we just withdrew following “cockle doodle do’s taking office. Generally those who are in major disagreement seem to be vitally interested in their financial stake. Not much new here. The current administration is upfront in not only questioning the matter but opposing it in large (?) part on it not being cost effective.

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