Scientists, politicians, environmentalists and journalists have long been stymied by the difficult task of engaging people so that they will agree to begin curbing toxic greenhouse gas emissions.
Some people deny — out of fear or vested interests — that there are increased levels of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, some say if there is a problem it isn’t caused by humans and some just don’t seem to care.
A U.S. study, What’s in a name: Global warming versus climate change (PDF), released last week has found, however, that confusion over language is another reason for a lack of concerted action to deal with what United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says is the greatest threat to humankind.
There is a huge difference in how Americans regard the terms “global warming” and “climate change,” according to a 31-page report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Centre for Climate Change Communications.
The report states that “global warming” and “climate change” also “activate different sets of beliefs, feelings, and behaviors, as well as different degrees of urgency about the need to respond.”