Global warming vs. climate change
Rex Murphy has a beautiful command of the English language. In his opinion piece ‘What’s in a name?’ (NP, Nov. 21) he eloquently expresses his frustration at the variety of terms used to describe the effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet.
Yes, Rex, I’m afraid the climate issue is complex, and it’s hard to find a single term that neatly embraces the complicated interactions taking place as average global temperatures are rising.
Yes, the world overall is warming. So “global warming” is accurate. But the warming is not uniformly distributed; some localized regions are experiencing periods of cooling as jet streams and ocean currents are disturbed — so “climate change” seems a bit more comprehensive. The atmospheric changes are causing a lot of disruption in the form of drought, flooding and severe wind events, so “climate chaos” is not an inappropriate term.
Yes, “physics is still physics; botany is botany,” but the situation is not describable by any one single science. What’s going on with the climate involves a messy mix of physics, chemistry, biology, hydrology, meteorology etc. as well as a collection of less well-defined social sciences.
I’m sorry life is so complicated, Rex, but whatever terminology we use to label the climate problem, it’s a huge global problem and we are the generation that has to deal with it.
Ann Coxworth, Saskatoon