Global warming vs. climate change

Global Warming, Climate Change
May 11, 2015 – 09:46 am

It seems to me that Roger Pielke Jr. is now persona non grata at Nate Silver’s 538 blog. Silver, whose statistics-based predictions of the last presidential election were stunningly accurate, hoped to capitalize on his celebrity by starting a blog which would present interesting and sometimes important posts which were based on competent analysis of actual data. What a concept! Unfortunately for Silver (in my opinion), he failed miserably when choosing Pielke as his point-man for the global warming/climate change issue. Many of us noted the kerfuffle which followed Pielke’s first foray, with Silver himself admitting publicly that it wasn’t up to the standard he hoped to set.

I wandered over the other day, checked out posts filed under “climate change, ” and although I’m gratified to see that Pielke isn’t their point man any more, I wasn’t exactly impressed. The latest is about the use of the phrase “global warming” vs “climate change” by U.S. politicians.GWseasonal2 First of all, I think it kind of misses the point — which phrase is used is far less important, in my humble opinion, than how often either is uttered, by whom, and in what context.

Second, I didn’t really find much analysis in that post. Yes, there were numbers and yes, they were relevant to the subject — so I suppose I shouldn’t be too critical. Maybe I’m just too immersed in analysis-in-depth to know what the appropriate level is for a “popular” blog. Or, maybe Nate Silver should hire me.

Still, use of the phrases “global warming” and “climate change” is interesting, and happily, Google Trends provided me with data about their use as search terms so I didn’t have to do too much work (after all, Nate Silver isn’t paying me). Let’s look at the use of those phrases as Google search terms over the last 10 years or so, right here in the good old USA.

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