Sunday, December 09, 2007

Language problem ...

... Climate Conflicts. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

"It took years for a consensus on the existence and causes of climate change to emerge."

I submit that this is a largely meaningless sentence. Climate, by definition, is a process. Like the ocean, it is never at rest, but continuously changing. So if you acknowledge the existence of climate,which it is hard not to do, you must necessarily acknowledge the existence climate change, since climate means the ongoing change in meteorological conditions. Note, though, that the link takes us to something about "global warming." So we do not mean "climate change" at all, but are referring instead to predictions regarding the direction such change may be taking. Regarding which, read this abstract of an article in the International Journal of Climatology. A 100 to 300 percent difference is not slight. Please note that what I am most interested in here is the weaselly mode of discourse.


  1. Now a day global warming controversy is very hype. NASA sciencetists completely work on global warming research. According the sciencetists after 30 year earth is completely effected by global warming.

  2. I don't think anyone denies that during the 20th century the average temperature of the planet increased by slightly more that one degree Fahrenheit. But since the warming phenomenon is more specifically a matter of elevated temperatures mostly but not exclusively in the northern hemisphere, the global average is a more or less meaningless number. The debate centers on a number of things. One, the planet may be warmer - but compared to what? Have we determined yet what the optimum temperature is? I don't think so. Also, to what extent is the increase anthropogenic? There seems to be a growing amount of data challenging the presumption that's man's activity in this respect has been decisive. Also, as I pointed out in my post, it is the nature of the discourse cited that I found disturbing.