Q: Why was it called global warming for so long, if the weather everywhere isn’t actually warming? Why aren’t they using that term as much anymore?
A: It was called global warming because the average global temperature is rising due to an increasing amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. However, this as led to misunderstanding and the anti-climate-science media campaigns have shown us the value of a more accurate and easily understood meaning.
Q: Why do some people refer to it as Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)?
A: This is a term used to create a devision between “global warming” that is occurring naturally, versus “global warming” that is the result of human society (AGW). While our planet’s climate changes on large swings, it happens slowly – in geological time frames. The climate today is changing much faster than the natural swing and can be directly related to human beings burning fossil fuels.
Q: Why “climate change” then?
A: This is a more accurate term now used to help make it clear in the midst of massive amounts of anti-science misinformation and media campaigns by polluters. Tehcnically, it would be even more accurate to call it Global Climate Disruption, as the increase in greenhouse gases throws every part of the ecosystem off balance – cause floods in some areas, droughts in others, increased severity and frequency of storms, causing some areas to cool (N. Europe and Northeast US) while others burn (Texas, Pakistan, Australia).
Q: Where is all this misunderstanding coming from?
A: Bil Oil and Coal dump unbelievable amounts of money into campaigns to make the public distrust the science (that’s right, science, the thing that is allow you to read this, drive your car, and in many cases be alive today – the basis for modern human existence). By undermining the public’s trust in climate science these companies can distort the facts so that we “debate” the existence of something that is considered “unequivocal” by credible scientists.
Q: Good god, why would they do such a thing?!
A: Uh, because they make money by polluting. And our economy is built such that if you make money, next year you must make more. It is in their best (short-term) interests to keep polluting as long as they can – change is costly and will likely result in the end of their industry all together. History is full of corporations fighting to keep up their business, even if it was a business harmful to society – tobacco companies and the British (East Indian Trading Company) pushed the colonists to war over similar issues (there it was taxation, sure, but also local businesses versus foreign interests on the colonists soil – read up on the Boston tea party) are two examples that come to mind.
Q: Now What?
A: Spread the word, don’t buy into the bullshit, and stop engaging with climate deniers. Climate change is already here, it’s happening quicker than we can do anything to stop it now. Best we can hope for is the resulting economic shocks/collapse from the ecological one will smack the deniers enough in the face that they will climb aboard the good ship Reason and Common Sense, so we can do more.
By engaging with the deniers you are giving legitimacy to their position, wasting your time and energy, and furthering their exposure to the larger world (if you are engaging with them online or in another public forum). Their position doesn’t have any legitimacy anymore. Don’t let them take your valuable energy away from you. Instead, direct your energy to positive, action-oriented ways of improving the world, your community and yourself.
Make your local community and your household more resilient to shocks. Invest locally, grow your own food and/or support your local farmers, buy a bike (or two, or three), stop wasting food and energy. Research Transition Towns, find one in your area.