Climate Change vs Global Warming: Are You Using the Correct Term?

By path2positive

Climate Communication can be dicey water as the discourse summons political affiliation, scientific distrust and self interest from deniers. One semantic misstep and a climate communicator is liable to windup in the hot seat. Making it imperative for climate leaders to choose their words wisely.

It has been said before, but it bares repeating: people do not react well to the term 'global warming.'

In what may only be categorized as a social phenomenon, climate deniers (despite their rejection of scientific findings) demand that climate communication be scientifically consistent. While I'm not going to debate the scientific merit of the term 'global warming,' I am going to say that according to Cornell University, people generally do not respond well to it, favoring 'climate change' instead.

Public Warmer On 'Climate Change' Than 'Global Warming'

By H. Roger Segelken for Cornell Chronicles

Stop someone on the street in the storm-battered Northeast (or Northwest or just about anywhere in between) this winter. Ask about “global warming” and you’d better be prepared for a heated debate. Ask about “climate change” and cooler heads may prevail.

The American public responds differently to questions about “climate change” and “global warming” – even while the media often conflate the two – a new study by Cornell and University of Southern California researchers reveals.

“A key finding is that the public perceives more scientific agreement on the issue of ‘climate change’ than ‘global warming,’” reports Cornell’s Jonathon Schuldt, who led the study examining a survey of 2,000 American adults from the comfort of his Department of Communication office (not from a snow-covered street corner). “Recent studies suggest that perceiving a scientific consensus is an important predictor of people’s support for new regulations that address the problem.”

Read More


Stay connected and get updates from Blessed Tomorrow.


You May Also Like

April 2, 2021

Coming out of a year of multiple crises and a decisive election, 2021 is our moment to forge a path forward to a stable climate...

Read More

March 30, 2021

Faith communities around the world are becoming more vocal and visible on climate change, elevating it as a moral issue. We can see this in...

Read More

February 10, 2021

The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal Blessed Tomorrow Leadership Circle Executive Committee Chair, the Rev. Dr. Jim Antal, gave a powerful post-inauguration sermon recently that we...

Read More


Blessed Tomorrow is a program of ecoAmerica


© ecoAmerica 2006 – 2021 The contents of this website may be shared and used under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International License.