Does “Climate Change” Need a New Name?


“Words have meaning” is a catch phrase that my wife and I remind each other of all the time.

Past Republican administrations have understood this, insisting on “energy exploration” not “oil drilling,” or “death tax” rather than “inheritance tax.”

Far from “just semantics,” these word choices help frame debates, especially among people who are not actively engaged in these issues, but who often influence their outcomes.

As the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference enters its second week, I wonder if “climate change” is really the right phrase to be using. (Or even “global warming,” for that matter.)

Does either expression reflect the gravity or urgency of the issue? And have both terms become saddled with too much political baggage to generate widespread support?

Before you shrug off that suggestion, consider: Would the 1970’s and 80’s efforts to combat “acid raid” have been as successful if proponents had attacked the issue as “low pH deposition”? 

Photo by Australian Science Media Centre on Flickr.com, (cc) some rights reserved.