For some, the terms “global warming” and “climate change” are interchangeable. Although the two terms are inextricably linked — “global warming” refers to the trend of a rising global temperature, while “climate change” refers to the changes in global climates that have resulted from that increase in temperature — they essentially refer to different things.
According to Nature World News, the scientific community largely prefers to use the term “climate change” to refer to the broad global environmental changes that have taken place over time.
A new poll conducted by the Yale Project of Climate Change Communication, however, suggests that the term “global warming” has a much more significant impact when it comes to public understanding and perception.
“We found that the term global warming is associated with greater public understanding, emotional engagement and support for personal and national action than the term climate change,” the report reads, according to ThinkProgress, “...the use of the term climate change appears to actually reduce issue engagement by Democrats, Independents, liberals, and moderates, as well as a variety of subgroups within American society, including men, women, minorities, different generations, and across political and partisan lines.”
These findings suggest some elements of the controversial memo penned by political strategist Frank Luntz are true. The memo advised conservative politicians to use the term “climate change” instead of “global warming” because it is “less frightening.”