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Has there been a stupider public relations blunder than changing “global warming” to “climate change?”
I understand why they did it. For example, the weather in LA has been ridiculously nice and cool for the last month: 70 and sunny most days, without even much of the usual June Gloom. For once, my lawn looks great. I wore my heavy jacket to see the fireworks on July 4th for the first time in memory.
So, instead of manfully standing their ground and saying, “Sure, there are always going to be exceptions to the trend, but the overall trend toward global warming is what’s important,” they concocted the term “climate change” to cover anything out of the ordinary with the weather that anybody might notice. 
Your lawn is verdant in July for once? Climate change!
And is “climate change” even that scary a term? Sure, it is if you live in San Diego and climate change could only be for the worst. But I lived in Chicago for a long time. “Climate change” sounds like a great idea to a Chicagoan.

(Republished from iSteve by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. OneSTDV says: • Website

    Here's more mistakes from the "climate change" ideologues:

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D9GP06U00&show_article=1

  2. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    This way, they cover their asses both ways. If the temp goes up or down, it's a crisis.

    And did you notice they changed 'gay marriage' to 'same-sex marriage'? I suppose the latter sounds more mainstream and appealing to everyone.

    What bothers me is most is the government-academia-media collusion in terminology.

    The ultimate question is not who coined with these terms but who in the media decided to use and disseminate them AS DEFINED BY THE LEFT.

    Take 'homophobia'. It came into common usage not because someone coined it but because the media and schools picked it up and disseminated it far and wide.

    Now, suppose I come up a term like 'fecal penetration' to describe anal sex. Will the media and schools picked it up? Of course not. So, we can coin all the terms we want, but they tend to go nowhere since they are not picked up by MSM.
    One thing people on the Right must not do is accept nor adopt terms coined and disseminated by the Left. If only within our own circle, we should use our terms or redefine the terms as used by the left. I really think we should use racism to mean race + ism = belief in races, and if we keep doing it over and over, it will catch on.

    Much of the liberal dominance in public discourse owes to the collusion between 'progressive' intellectuals and bureaucrats who coin terms and the media/education complex that picks them up and disseminates them far and wide.

    Sadly, for 90% of the people, truth is little more than terminology vs imagery. If a newscaster says 'homophobia' or 'racist' with an offended facial expression, people think IT MUST BE BAD, and that's that.

    Or, the media juxtaposes a 'bad term' with images of Bull Connors or violent gaybashers… while presenting nice images of blacks and gays.

  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I think there's a general problem of lack of understanding of even the basic ideas of climate change, which are, as I understand them, that CO2 concentrations will increase faster than the biosphere can adapt and sequester them, due to a runaway feedback loop where the small amounts of CO2 we increase increase temperatures quickly, causing more increase from the thawing of the glaciers, the release of their CO2 and the decrease of albedo and that this will cause a runaway event that will destroy many people's livelihoods at best and most of to all the biosphere at worst. The real problem is the speed of the increase, not temperature increasing at all.

    But plenty of laypeople I've seen talking about climate, people who accept that climate change is a negative, don't really understand that for most of Earth's history it was far warmer than today and that CO2 concentrations were higher (and that because there was sufficient adaptation time, this caused a richer, more tropical earth without glaciations that repeatedly scour Eurasia and North America of much of their life) and frequently deny that there even are glacial maxima and minima within our current ice age, or that we even are in an ice age. Many of these people seem to think that a few degrees increase automatically leads to a less rich biosphere, which isn't the case, just that the rapid temperature increase we're experiencing now may do.

  4. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Regarding getting around climate-change:

    http://environment.change.org/blog/view/thorium_nuclear_energys_clean_little_secret

    India is investing in this now:
    http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf62.html

    We have the second-largest desposits of this resource, and its "in" coal, which we already dig up. The residual coal can be turned into gasoline. Its an intriguing possibility.

    "Climate Change" didn't have the advantage of the weather cooperating for the last few years, but our luck could run out there at any time. Even if global warming were true, the best course to pursue would be to look for new ways to have energy and trasnportation that didn't emit carbon dioxide and begin to build infrastructure to this effect as we replace ageing plants, not wreck our economy and establish a redistributive cap-and-trade scheme that robs red states to pay blue ones for the right to make their own electricity (why Obama likes the bill). Frankly, the elite being able to shove something as unpopular as immigration down the public throat leads me to never underestimate their raw cultural power. We may be right in our private conversations, but they've got the microphones and bullhorns.

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There is no topic that’s discussed at greater length, but still misunderstood more comprehensively than the weather!

    Anon above is right on the money with the comment that the average person hasn’t the faintest clue what ‘climate change’ entails.

    I’m a bit of an amateur meteorology buff, so I know the basics of climate, weather systems, etc. Many otherwise intelligent and reasonably well-informed people make comments about the causes of the day-to-day weather that are breathtakingly ignorant. You can see the weather, you’ve seen it every day of your life, so you must understand it, right?

    People who think they understand something they really don’t are primed to swallow snake oil of the worst kind, e.g. when someone cooks up a dog’s breakfast of pseudoscientific, cultural-Marxist, Malthusian, neo-puritanical claptrap such as global warming/climate change.

    The irony, of course, is that it’s progressives (i.e. those who by definition seek change) who prove to be the most reactionary when someone they feel good about trusting suggests that something that’s obviously out of their control really might be changing. The global warming PR team might have realized, likely at some atavistic level, that the only change that’s genuinely acceptable to their core constituency is political change aimed at a vague utopian telos, and which requires them to impose their superior insight and vision on their benighted fellows.

  6. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Or "undocumented immigrant" instead of illegal alien.

    Really the manipulation of the language is quite obvious, yet difficult to oppose when THEY hold the MSM megaphone and we do not.

  7. The obvious response to 'climate change' is to point out that climate does indeed change, all the time, whether or not humans are doing anything.

    I heard the BBC a few days ago lamenting that fewer people now believe in man-made global warming than in 2000. That the world has been (naturally) cooling since 1998 might have something to do with that.

  8. L says:

    Calling it 'Climate Change' instead of 'Global Warming' is actually smart. If, for example, global temperatures over the next 5 years drop by 0.1 degrees C, the Gaia cultists and carbon trading swindlers got themselves covered — there's been some 'Change'. There is always certain to be some deviation from the 100 year norm.

  9. Headache says:

    The latest howler is that the Max Planck Institute in Germany, a renowned and serious institution, found out that the direct link between CO2 and surface temperature, which was a major feature of all the IPCC reports, does not hold. In fact vegetation and surface water act as temporary CO2 buffers, so that the amount of CO2 actually emitted as the temperature rises, is overestimated by current models. The meachanism with which surface water temporarily traps CO2 is apparently not fully understood.

    Like you said Steve, the climate hysterics and their media lemmings have been making a lot of noise on account models which were flawed, and now they are looking for a backdoor.

  10. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Actually, if you consult google news, the term "global Warming" is still pretty common.

    http://news.google.com/news/search?aq=0&pz=1&cf=all&ned=us&hl=en&q=global+warming&oq=glob

  11. Sabril says: • Website

    What was the alternative? People are starting to notice that the Earth is not warming.

    Anyway, part of the problem with "climate change" is that the Leftists are obviously shifting the goalposts.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    What bothers me is most is the government-academia-media collusion in terminology.

    The ultimate question is not who coined with these terms but who in the media decided to use and disseminate them AS DEFINED BY THE LEFT.

    Orwell spent a lot of time trying to warn people about the corruption of the language.

    Of course, he had spent his formative years with the Commies, so he knew exactly what their methods were.

  13. "What was the alternative? People are starting to notice that the Earth is not warming"

    What is this supposed to mean? The global temperature records still show a clear upward trend.

  14. It's "global warming" when it fits their hypothesis and "climate change" when it doesn't. At least in my experience global warming adherents scream bloody murder when it is unseasonably warm, and then hide under the rock of "climate change" at other times while they wait for the next heat front to move through.

  15. Mike Zwick [AKA "Dahinda"] says:

    Winters have been milder in Chicago for the last 20 years compared to the 70s and 80s. Milder is relative of course because it still does get cold. Chicago just seems to get the kind of winters now that Southern Illinois and Southern Indiana have had before.

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The greenies themselves claim that it was conservatives and the "deniers" who came up with the term climate change. I guess they realize now how much a blunder this was.

  17. About 15,000 years ago, you could walk from Alaska to Siberia and not get your feet wet. Or you could visit Minnesota or northern Wisconsin in the summer and stand on glaciers 3-4 km thick. But then the climate changed, as it's been changing since, well, forever. It's preposterous to believe think we understand more than a piddling amount about long-term climate trends.

  18. Everyone I know uses 'global warming', including an acquaintance who is involved with a company trying to establish a cap and trade trading platform.

    The PC terms I've made a point to avoid using are 'undocumented worker' and 'homeless person'.

    They're illegal aliens and bums.

  19. Has there been a stupider public relations blunder than changing "global warming" to "climate change?"

    I don't know about public relations, but the new expression better represents the science. Both H2O and CO2 are green house gasses. CO2 dominates where the cold drives the H2O from the atmosphere. Read Freeman Dyson, for example. Nobody understands the H2O. Look at clouds.

  20. Le Mur says:

    "Climate change we can believe in."

    Or not.

  21. Airtommy says:

    people who accept that climate change is a negative, don't really understand that for most of Earth's history it was far warmer than today and that CO2 concentrations were higher

    Most people who reject climate change believe the Earth was created 5000 years ago.

  22. Neil Craig says: • Website

    But the advantage of being able to obscure the lack of global warming is such a big one.

    Also it allows the MSM to start any discusion with a sceptic with "so you don't believe in climate change then" which will tie any honest answerer in knots.

    The BBC recently based an entire programme on going round asking people how sure they were that climate change was happening. They disapproved of the public's reply but if they had asked "do you see sevidence of catastrophic global warming" the answer would have been much more decisive.

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    There is another way to interpret the data.

    Life on earth is carbon based. Formerly that carbon was in the atmosphere but it became naturally sequestered. That means that the forests of the Carboniferous period became coal and life forms from the Mesozoic became oil and gas.

    This dropped the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from over 3000 ppm to near 300 ppm. There was no life form or natural process that could correct this decline and maintain enough CO2 in the air to keep life going. Life was nearing a point by the Pleistocene where all plants would starve from lack of access to carbon.

    Then miraculously man emerged. He dug up the coal and he drilled for the oil and gas. Carbon Armageddon was averted at the eleventh hour.

    Albertosaurus

  24. Dahlia says:

    Steve,
    A few years back my husband and I watched a PBS documentary on advertising and they discussed "climate change" vs. "global warming". At the time, only Republicans were saying "climate change" so it was strictly a partisan thing back then.

    According to them, and from what I remember, Frank Luntz was credited with coming up with "climate change" for the Republican politicians to say because it was more neutral than "global warming". Since that show the liberals slowly started using that phrase themselves, co-opting it. I assumed, like you, they saw potential with this phrase because "climate change" has a great deal of plasticity to it.

    Unnaturally cold temps in winter? A problem for "global warming", but not "climate change"!

  25. Dahlia says:

    I don't know if my last comment got saved, but here is the link to the "climate change" vs. "global warming" debate I mentioned:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/persuaders/

    Frontline's "The Persuaders"
    Originally aired 11-9-04

    Go to "watch the full program online"
    and click on part 5 which mostly deals with politics and Frank Luntz. The discussion begins at about the 8 minute mark and only lasts about a minute.
    It doesn't say whether he invented the term, but says he was the one to persuade people to adopt it.

    "The Persuaders" was related to "The Merchants of Cool". Despite the Lefty whining at times, they really opened our eyes and were one of the most influential programs we had ever seen; they would probably bore Steve with his marketing background.

  26. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, no one is interested in debating whether the climate is being destabilized by dramatic increases in CO2. It is.

    You can call it whatever you want.

    Fact is, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will wonder why we were in denial for so long.

    Anyone truly interested in getting the facts on this topic can go to the National Academy of Science website http://americasclimatechoices.org/

    pd is sf.

  27. Billare says:

    As someone who aspires to "truth-seeking", I will say that I am quite certain that the Earth is warming, and fairly accepting that the change is substantially anthropogenic. Here are the couple of reasons I feel that way:

    First, I think, is the need for balance, the need for reciprocity. Though I often find the antics of the anti-AGW crowd to be very inspired — like them, it's not like I favor the policies that surely come bundled with the science — I can't help but feel that, if they are encouraged too far, that promotes the same kind of ignorance and know-nothingsm that characterizes other contentious debates, like HBD. I mean, in those debates, the informed will often cry "Go look the literature!", despite the fact admittedly a fair number of leftist scientists are arrayed against acknowledging the reality of human differences, indeed, including many whose data speak otherwise. Thus, it strikes me as, if not foolhardy, a political weakness to champion scientific interrogation of complicated issues in one sphere and not an other, especially when considering that if the two domains are cursorily compared, they could point out that hereditarian views have significantly less "consensus" than global warming does.

    Also, I think not acceding somewhat to the AGW hypothesis sets up a very convenient strawman for the Left to attack, similar to the strawmen they set up when they argue that hereditarians ignore familial environment (when they concede a 50/50 split), and say stupid things like HBDers believe skin color is a CAUSAL mediator of things like IQ or criminality.

    The real problem is the paranoia, not the science.

  28. Billare says:

    (cont'd)

    More sickening to my eyes is how climate scientists and conservationists routinely ignore natural selection and adaptation when discussing global warming, as if species were fixed in time. (Razib skirted around the issue here.) I have no idea why it is the preserve of humanity to keep obscure lizards and insects from extinction, when can be fairly sure their well-adapted and quite interesting descendants will assume their place. The weird thing is that these people often think themselves superbly enlightened, and disinclined to the mistakes of their forebearers — witness the invective thrown at the great eugenicists; the writing of books such as Diamond's Collapse for example — as they go about committing many of the same "essentialist" fallacies they accused them of.

  29. Billare says:

    (cont'd)

    For example, like a previous Anonymous mentioned, it is hardly ever mentioned in the new stories that in general colder periods were bad for the human lineage. (If you're interested, I expounded on this at greater length at TGGP's blog here.) Clive Finlayson's book, "The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died and We Survived" goes on and on about this point. It bears remembering that Europe was barely habitable by humans just 40,000 years ago, because it was so cold and hunting was so sparse. Indeed, I've read plenty of research demonstrating that warmer periods were in general more speciose and supported larger amounts of biomass than cooler periods. What's more, the public knows very little of the simulations that show that agricultural yields will increase, on net, as a result of global warming, and that North America will especially benefit. Paranoid scientists talk about (overblown) ocean acidification concerns and inconsequential islands all day, but are unusually reticent about discussing the the economic simulations. It's a significant weakness in their case that can be demonstrated to the public.

  30. Billare says:

    (cont'd)

    For example, like a previous Anonymous has mentioned, it is hardly ever mentioned in the new stories that in general colder periods were bad for the human lineage. (If you're interested, I expounded on this at greater length at TGGP's blog here.) Clive Finlayson's book, "The Humans Who Went Extinct: Why Neanderthals Died and We Survived" goes on and on about this point. It bears remembering that Europe was barely habitable by humans just 40,000 years ago, because it was so cold and hunting was so sparse. Indeed, I've read plenty of research demonstrating that warmer periods were in general more speciose and supported larger amounts of biomass than cooler periods. What's more, the public knows very little of the simulations that show that agricultural yields will increase, on net, as a result of global warming, and that North America will especially benefit. Paranoid scientists talk about (overblown) ocean acidification concerns and inconsequential islands all day, but are unusually reticent about discussing the the economic simulations. It's a significant weakness in their case that can be demonstrated to the public.

    More sickening to my eyes is how climate scientists and conservationists routinely ignore natural selection and adaptation when discussing global warming, as if species were fixed in time. (Razib skirted around the issue here.) I have no idea why it is the preserve of humanity to keep obscure lizards and insects from extinction, when can be fairly sure their well-adapted and quite interesting descendants will assume their place. The weird thing is that these people often think themselves superbly enlightened, and disinclined to the mistakes of their forebearers — witness the invective thrown at the great eugenicists; the writing of books such as Diamond's Collapse for example — as they go about committing many of the same "essentialist" fallacies they accused them of.

  31. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    I was initially intrigued by the global warming skeptics, but the more I looked the more disappointed I was. They tend to evasion, don't publish, have conspiracy theories to defend their lack of publishing, look for any talking point to support their side, and justify sophistry with the "but my opponent does it too" evasion.

    Yes, there is some self-confirmation and politicization of mainstream global warming (Mann hanging on DKos). But the skeptics are actually worse. Bad news. This is somewhat the INVERSE of the HBD/genetics field in terms of hard core research and science.

  32. Airtommy says:

    I suspect Steve has not posted much on this topic because he knows it will elicit comments such as this:

    "People are starting to notice that the Earth is not warming."

    Silly me, I didn't know that it was COLDER weather that was causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise.

  33. I have no idea why it is the preserve of humanity to keep obscure lizards and insects from extinction, when can be fairly sure their well-adapted and quite interesting descendants will assume their place.

    Leftists want the present order to last forever. They're worried about the possible extinction and replacement of themselves and their Kulchur.

    And since they have little or no religious faith, Lefties greatly fear their own mortality.

    Some climate chnage fears are proxies for more personal, pyschological fears.

  34. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The hysteria around Global Warming/Climate Change is senseless.

    By the alarmists own models, ALL major nations would have to dramatically reduce their CO2 which will never happen. Something like 90% reduction for the next 100 years to return to "normal" previous states according to their own sensitive climate models.

    Lord Monckton makes the point that adaption is the only realistic strategy. Like Steve, he also notes that climate change is a fact of history and warmer is generally far better than colder for nearly all living things on earth (including humans).

  35. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    They tend to evasion, don't publish, have conspiracy theories to defend their lack of publishing

    But we now know since the climategate emails that warmists have actively manipulated the publishing and peer review process.

    Seems to me that since climategate the warmists have a veritable moutain to climb to regain credability.

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Steve, no one is interested in debating whether the climate is being destabilized by dramatic increases in CO2.

    No one?

    Apart from all the people who are interested.

  37. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Billare mentioned the fate of inconsequential islands.

    I suspect, long term, places like the Maldives are always doomed. Countless low lying islands like that must have been formed and eroded away. Even natural wave action will eventually do for them, given enough time. Don't need to posit rising sea levels.

  38. Whenever I read or view the US msm I keep this in mind (from Wikipedia: Media bias in the United States)

    "ABC News political director Mark Halperin stated that, as individuals, most journalists and news producers hold liberal political views and these views affect their reporting.[27] In a survey conducted by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 1997, 61% of reporters stated that they were members of or shared the beliefs of the Democratic Party. Only 15% say their beliefs were best represented by the Republican Party.[28] This leaves 24% undecided or Independent."

    You have to make massive corrections and/or additions to any news report to get to the real truth instead of the "truth" they want you to swallow, whether it be about climate change, HBD or politics in general.

    For me, any US msm report is merely the starting point for further investigation via blogs and Google.

  39. Mr. Anon says:

    "airtommy said…

    Silly me, I didn't know that it was COLDER weather that was causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise."

    There have been numerous instances in the recent past (i.e., in the holocene) when temperatures increased as much as, and as fast as, they have increased over the last 150 years. Such is the evidence provided by ice-core data from Greenland. And it is worth noting that the northern latitudes are where we were told the effects of global warming were to be the worst. Well, those episodes couldn't have been that bad, given that the ice in central Greenland persisted (otherwise, no ice-core data). And they were clearly not due to the exploitation of fossil fuels.

    The big change occurred of course at the end of the last ice-age, when average temperatures increased strongly. Conversely, as we head into the next ice-age, the big story will be the precipitous drop in temperature leading to world-wide famine and death. We're already about 12,000 years into the current inter-glacial.

    It is true that the CO2 concentration has increased by about 40% over the last century due to human activity. But it's effect is small compared to that of water vapor, and there is possibly some here-to-fore unknown sink (perhaps plants that use the C4 metabolic pathway).

    As near as I can tell, belief in global warming is the latest secular religion. A pity too. It would be nice if a majority of scientists just wanted to understand how the climate works, rather than issue jeremiads about how evil industrial civilization is.

  40. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    David Davenport:

    Leftists want the present order to last forever. They're worried about the possible extinction and replacement of themselves and their Kulchur.

    That would make them conservatives.

  41. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The whining about peer review shutouts is the biggest load of BS and a noted issue for fringe groups. Where are their white papers, and if shut out of Science, why not find speciality journals. "Skeptics" are crap. HBDers are a lot sharper and more truthseeking.

  42. Neil Craig says: • Website

    Sea levels aren't rising more than they have for the last 10,000 years. The globe is currently cooling It is cooler than during the Medieval Warming & considerably cooler than the Climate Optimum pre-5000BC.

    Can a single one of the eco-fascists who say there is no debate produce any actual evidence (as opposed to merely quoting each other as authorities) of catastrophic warming. I note that in Billare's screeds of self styled "truth seeking" he has produced not one shred of actualy evidence. Yhis is typical of these lting fascist parasites.

  43. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Sea levels aren't rising more than they have for the last 10,000 years."

    That's false. There is preliminary satellite data to show that the ocean is indeed rising at an unprecedented rate (in the last 10,000 years.)

    Anyone interested in examining the impacts of a radical increase in CO2, both in the atmosphere and ocean, can watch the recent National Academy of Science symposium on the topic:

    http://www.vodium.com/goto/portal/pn100882/launch.asp

    -pd in sf

  44. David Davenport:

    Leftists want the present order to last forever. They're worried about the possible extinction and replacement of themselves and their Kulchur.

    That would make them conservatives.

    Nope, bien pensant Lefty Lieberals are the reactionaries of the present era. They cling to an outdated 20th century worldview.

  45. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    "Sea levels aren't rising more than they have for the last 10,000 years."

    That's false. There is preliminary satellite data to show that the ocean is indeed rising at an unprecedented rate (in the last 10,000 years.)

    Singapore has good data going back more than 100 years and is greatly interested in this issue because of their low-lying geography. Their data shows *absolutely* no change in sea level.

    I've got a question for you: "What is the IDEAL temperature of the earth?"

  46. Neil Craig says: • Website

    The term Climate Optimum was coined to cover the priod from 9-5,000 BC when temperatures were up to 4 degrees warmer than they are now. During that period the Sahara wasluish savanna supporting animals like hippopatamus. Folk memory of that period probably produced the Garden of Edend legend.

    Optimum means ideal except to eco-fascists who consider any change, ever, to be bad.

  47. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    The problem is the idea that the majority of people aren't seen as having the intelligence enough to understand relatively complex scientific issues.

    The term "Global Warming" doesn't work because it isn't actually getting warmer all the time everywhere on the globe.

    "Climate change" is just as bad, if not worse, because it allows people to think that everytime the weather changs anywhere in the world, it means that it is the harbinger of a catastophe that is going to mean the end of the world, and it makes people who think that the Earth might, on average, be warming due to the activities of human beings seem like crackpot alarmists who jump at every shadow.

    It appears to be too difficult to explain things in terms of averages, trends and so on.

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