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Sustainability.Edu

Why We Must Replace the term “Global Warming” with “Climate Destabilization” in Climate Debates and the Media

Submitted by TheAdmin on

Farmers in Africa’s Sahel region have planted trees on 5 million hectares of degraded land, since 1975

"How we frame the climate conversation matters --- it matters a lot."    Andrew Guzman on NPR Radio

More non-profit environmental groups, responsible media, NGOs, enlightened corporations and governments are beginning to abandon the terms climate change and global warming for the new terms climate destabilization, catastrophic climate destabilization, irreversible climate destabilization and extinction level climate destabilization. (If you have not yet read the full and concise definition of what climate destabilization is, click here.)

They are doing so for many reasons:

1.) It has now become public knowledge that lobbyists, think tanks and PR firms on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry have been working behind the scenes to very intentionally, and with great concerted effort, use their power to replace the term global warming with the far more nebulous, benign and confusing term climate change. They are doing this at every level in the local, regional, national and even international discussions of the climate crisis; you will find both the media and government using climate change where they used to use global warming. Even large environmental organizations have unconsciously been duped by the clever fossil fuel PR firms and lobbyists and have started using the confusing and crisis-diminishing language embodied in the term climate change.

2.) Another good reason for changing to the new climate destabilization term is that the term climate change is so vague it conveys almost nothing of the real importance about the runaway climate destabilization process and the current climate crisis. The clever fossil fuel PR firms knew that redefining global warming into climate change was brilliant.

It completely reframed the way you  interpret what you are hearing. For example, because the climate is always changing in our daily experience of our weather, there is no big deal or implied importance within such an innocent term as climate change! After all, the climate is always changing. This makes the term meaninglessly and benign, and it certainly would not alarm anyone or call him or her to action, even when action and alarm is appropriate.

The Term Global Warming Does Not Reflect the Seriousness of the Challenge We Face in Our Future:

The term global warming has been confusing to the general public's personal experience of the ever-changing global weather. Global warming is also not accurate enough to describe the current climate conditions that humanity now faces since the idea of global warming was first introduced to the public in the 1970's.

Global warming leads the average person to believe that the whole world will be getting warmer consistently. Yet, as the average temperature of the planet increases, certain places will actually become colder. Some places may become warmer, it's true, but the problem is not just that our air conditioning costs will rise. Because of other natural climate factors, some years it will be warmer, and there will be worse storms. Some years it will be cooler and there will be less storms, but in spite of this inconsistency, the climate destabilization trend will be toward warmer temperatures and more extreme storms.

We'll also be dealing with more destructive, frequent and severe storms, which will take new drainage pathways never seen before. Sudden and extreme flooding will increase in certain places while intensifying drought, wildfires and desertification will be the issue in others. We will also be dealing with rising sea levels (possibly up to 2 to as many as 8 meters before the end of the century), causing storm surges like the planet has not seen in tens of thousands of years.

The climate cliff, climate destabilization, catastrophic climate destabilization, irreversible and extinction level climate destabilization are the new terms of art, because they are far more accurate and useful in reflecting what is already happening or what will continue to happen with increasing severity, scale and frequency --- unless we take effective planet-wide action immediately! (Extinction level here is defined as the projected potential extinction of approximately half or more of the species on earth and most (60-90% if not all, of humanity. Irreversible, whenever used, is defined as severe climate destabilization consequences that could take hundreds or even thousands of years to correct or rebalance or may never be corrected or rebalanced.)

Destabilization is a more accurate term, because the global climate is being destabilized from a relatively stable post ice age state toward a much hotter state resembling an  earlier time in the planet's fiery evolution. Destabilization reflects what will happen to our economic, political and social systems as increasing human-caused carbon pollution accelerates climate destabilization.

If we do not take action and solve this challenge, catastrophic, irreversible and extinction level climate destabilization is the perfect way to describe what will probably lead to the eventual catastrophic reduction or extinction of the human population from almost 8 billion to several hundred million people forced to live near the poles.

Using the terms climate destabilization, or catastrophic, irreversible and extinction level climate destabilization conveys the true urgency of the situation. They reframe and redefine the climate discussion toward the real problems and rapidly escalating catastrophic consequences of the issue rather than toward vague or misleading descriptions that promote ambiguity..

If you’re a farmer, and you lose your annual crop to a climate destabilization-caused drought, that's a catastrophe with urgency! If you’re a home owner, and you lose your home to climate destabilization-caused floods or wildfires, that's a catastrophe with real urgency! If you’re a consumer, and your food prices keep going up because of climate destabilization-caused droughts and shortages, and you cannot afford enough food to eat, that's an urgent, serious potential extinction problem and, at the least, a catastrophe in the making for billions of people -- just like you and me.

If climate destabilization goes out of control to its potential projected maximums and 7.8 billion people die, that is the ultimate catastrophe. It will be the extinction or near extinction of the human species, and many other species will go with us. This growing loss of species is already being called the sixth great mass extinction event.

Bringing up the subject of the climate cliff and catastrophic or irreversible climate destabilization with others also engenders a whole new level of reaction and engagement. It sounds bad -- is bad -- and can convincingly be argued that it is the most important single issue related to our species' survival and our descending environmental quality of life in the 21st century.

Simply put, resolving the climate cliff and climate destabilization has become the single most important task in all of human history. Continuing to use older, confusing and vague terms such as global warming and climate change hides the real consequences and the criticalness of the problem to all of humanity.

"The greatest fear for the future of humanity is the still unknown critical tipping points involved in today's accelerating catastrophic climate destabilization. Without discovering these quickly, we could find ourselves facing complete extinction as a species without even knowing that we had passed the climate tipping points of no return (or reasonable recovery,) until it was too late to do anything about it. No other fear or human problem today matches the destructive scope, probability and immediacy of this climate destabilization challenge.

Catastrophic, Irreversible and Extinction Level Climate Destabilization should be thought of in the same scope of potential global destructiveness as a massive asteroid on a direct, certain and imminent collision course with earth. You certainly would not sit idle in that situation without demanding more and better information from your leaders on arrival dates, consequences and necessary preparations. Why aren't we collectively doing this now for catastrophic climate destabilization?"    Lawrence Wollersheim

Please stop using the confusing, misleading and non-specific terms global warming and climate change, and start using climate cliff, climate destabilization or catastrophic, irreversible and extinction level climate destabilization, and watch what happens. From an evolutionary perspective, we have not evolved to adapt effectively to non-specific and vague threats to our survival. We need to communicate a real and specific danger to mobilize our common adaptation abilities and resolve the climate cliff and climate destabilization challenges.

The older non-specific, confusing and misleading global warming and climate change conversation has been going on for over 30 years with little success. Please encourage individuals and organizations to help change the climate conversation by using more specific, accurate and useful terms climate cliff, climate destabilization, catastrophic climate destabilization, and irreversible and extinction level climate destabilization.

This is something simple and easy that everyone of us can do. This long overdue, appropriate and more accurate re-framing of this issue alone will do a tremendous amount to move us closer to its resolution. Or as the Buddhists might say "right speech (words,) leads to right action."

If you know of any environmental organizations, media or government branches still using the fossil fuel industry’s misleading and misdirecting term climate change, please forward this information to them as soon as possible. Please ask them to stop using climate change and start using climate destabilization, and keep asking them until they do. Let's get the attention of the Public Will focused on a real, serious and now unfolding challenge to our global, national, regional and local well-being.

To learn what global warming-caused climate destabilization is, click here.

To learn what you can do to reverse global warming and climate destabilization, click here.

Please note, the term climate destabilization appears to have been first used by Greg Craven in his book, What's the Worst that Could Happen? A rational response to the climate change debate.

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