Friday, February 16, 2007

"Climate Change" Label Better Than "Global Warming"

Gov. Jim Doyle is wisely establishing a state task force on global warming. It's a smart use of state authority because the government is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

Its regulatory power and broader, non-legal influences also effect the relevant behaviors of other governments, businesses and individuals in the state, too.

But the term "global warming" is limited, somewhat inaccurate and open to the mocking leveled against it daily by talk radio and other negative media, especially in cold weather states like Wisconsin.

Gov. Doyle and others involved in these important scientific and policy arenas would be more effective by using the term "climate change," rather than global warming, because it's more accurate.

And less prone to the bad science and dismissive retorts of the right's wingnuttery.

While portions of the globe are warming at an alarming rate, such as the Arctic ice cap, other areas, such as the oceans, will react by cooling through the absorption of that breakaway, melting arctic ice.

And while ocean depths may therefore rise, threatening shoreline nations and US states, midwestern bodies of water like Lake Michigan may become more shallow if warmer temperatures increase evaporation.

Monitoring multiple types of intersecting impacts and predictions associated with overall climate change is a proper task for Wisconsin government - - but it will be better communicated to and participated in by the public if it is called by its most accurate label.

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