Posted on | May 23, 2007 | 12 Comments
There’s a longstanding debate about whether we should use “climate change” or “global warming” in describe the global climate change-warming thingie. In that regard, this data from Google’s new search terms trends monitoring tool:
This is the relative use by people searching on Google of the terms “global warming” (blue line) and “climate change” (red line). It suggests the general public searching on Google uses “global warming” far more often. It validates a technique I’ve used in my work. I believe “climate change” more accurately describes what we’re talking about, because many of the relevant issues involve things other than merely rising temperature. On the other hand, “global warming” is the buzz phrase people will have already heard. So I try to use both, talking primarily about “climate change” but at least once, early in a story, invoking the phrase “global warming” to clue people in to what I’m talking about using language they’re already familiar with.
The bottom graph is espcially instructive. That’s the relative frequency of the two phrases as used in the news media searched by Google News. You can see they match up quite closely, suggesting the media is using the two phrases interchangeably.