Global Warming? Climate Change? What’s the difference?

I’m recently back from a training session with The Climate Reality Project at which an important part of the message was Al Gore exhorting us to “win the conversation“. By this he means that we must challenge those who deny the reality of the climate crisis. To meet this challenge we need to be comfortable talking about a complicated scientific issue.

To help us get more comfortable I will publish short over-simplified articles with these themes: What is it;  What are the implications;  What can we do about it. With each article I’ll include references to more detailed explanations of the specific topic under discussion but will avoid explaining the details myself.

Here goes.

Global Warming is basic and fairly simple: as humans burn fossil fuels the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increases. A higher concentration of CO2 allows a smaller portion of the sun’s energy to be radiated back into space, and the earth gradually gets hotter. The scientific community has been studying this for nearly 200 years, and by 1896 Svante Arrhenius predicted the extent of the temperature change. His prediction has been confirmed by actual measurements and by increasingly sophisticated models for 110 years.

Climate Change is the result of the hotter earth that is caused by Global Warming.

The graph to the right shows the correlation between CO2 and temperature over the last 1000 years. Many independent experiments  have confirmed the trends represented in this graph. The graph represents reality.

Next Article.

Here are some references to detailed articles about Global Warming.


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