Biggs wrote:People who refer to global climate change as 'global warming' aren't very knowledgeable about it...this includes scientists, politicians, and (the worst offenders of all) journalists.
Global climate change does involve cooling. It also involves warming. Global climate change is occurring. It doesn't matter whether or not it is caused by people, because it is happening either way.
One of my pet peeves is the change in terminology, from "global warming", to "climate change", to refer to the same phenomenon.
The phrase "global warming" was coined by folks who believed the following chain of logic: 1) human activity is increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere; 2) increased atmospheric greenhouse gases increases the greenhouse effect (increased average global temperature).
Now, if the average global temperature is not increasing, then either there is no increase in the greenhouse effect, or increasing the greenhouse effect does not result in increased average global temperature. Both of those conclusions are inconsistent with the original axioms employed to voice the concern.
But, if the average global temperature is increasing, then I would expect to see average gloval temperatures increasing. But that has not happened over the past decade.
Now, maybe the effect can be observed only over multiple decades.
If that is so, then how is it that, up until the 1970's at least, there didn't seem to be any mention of the phenomenon of increasing average global temperatures?
In the 70's, there was some (minor, as I recall, but existent) concern about decreasing global temperatures (referred to by the phrase, "global cooling"-- not the came phenomenon as "nuclear winter"-- at the time)?
Again, if that is so (that the phenomenon is observable only over multiple decades), how can "global cooling" have turned into "global warming", since the 1970's?
Personally, I am uncertain what is happening, regarding average temperature, especially when viewing long term (tens to hundreds of thousands of years) history of earth average temperature. But, because there has been such wide variation in average earth temperature over a long period of time, and because the range of that variation that has ocurred over the past few tens of thousands of years, or even past few hundred years (since industrial revolution), is quite small compared to the total variation, I have to question whether human activity can be a major cause of whatever is happening.
But, my main point is that if the promulgators of the phrase, "global warming", now insist that it must be replaced by "global climate change", because there is both warming and cooling, but at different locations, but no net global increase, then those same folks are necessarily saying that the average global temperature is not increasing (else they would continue to say, "global warming" and not "global climate change"). And if there is no net increase of average global temperatures, then where is the increased greenhouse effect?
I mean that was the whole point of the original argument, wasn't it? (That increased human activity was increasing greenhouse gases, necessarily rsulting in higher aveage global temperature.)
In my purely anecdotal, empirical, self-perceiving observations, something seems to be happening, at least in the frame of reference of current human experience, and within the time-scale of human lifetimes, but I don't know what it is. I am suspicious, however, that we are experiencing an increase in average earth temperature. And I am suspicious of the chain of concern of "activity--> more greenhouse gases--> higher temperature".
Of course, this is my opinion.
Edit: This sentence: " I am suspicious, however, that we are experiencing an increase in average earth temperature." is ambiguous. I meant to say, "It is not clear to me that we are experiencing an increase in average earth temperature." Also, the next sentencd: "It is not clear to me that the chain...."
Bottom line, THe semantics of the phrase change would seem to deny the original claim. And, I am doubtful of the whole assertion of human-causation.