If politicians and scientists want to convey the urgency and importance of a warming world, they are far better off using the term “global warming” than “climate change,” according to a new report.
Produced by researchers at the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University, the report says that Americans are much more familiar with the term “global warming” and that it engenders more negative associations and concern.
Based on recent surveys, the report said that — to varying degrees — moderates, women, Hispanics, political independents, and younger Americans associate the term “global warming” with alarming developments such as melting glaciers and extreme weather. Among many groups, “global warming” also creates a greater sense of threat to one’s family and future generations.
“Scientists often prefer the term climate change for technical reasons, but should be aware that the two terms generate different interpretations among the general public and specific subgroups,” the report said. The survey found that among Republicans the two terms are generally synonymous.