1) The globe is warming because of greenhouse gases
2) Global mean surface temperature is not in any way directly consequential
3) Global mean surface temperature is scientifically interesting as a measure of anthropogenic climate change
4) The climate is changing due to anthropogenic forcing at a rate very rapid compared to natural change, largely because of greenhouse gases
5) The changing climate is increasingly consequential and the consequences go up steeply as change accelerates
6) The more we rock the boat, the more the boat rocks
7) Global warming is happening. But global warming is not the problem. Accelerating anthropogenic climate change is the problem. “Climate disruption” is an excellent name for this problem, because it captures the idea of willful interference that interrupts the normal course of events.
8) To say “climate disruption” is not to deny global warming. Global warming hasn’t gone anywhere. Saying “climate disruption” is stating the whole problem. Ordinary expectations of weather patterns are going to be less useful as time advances, and this will probably cause a lot of dislocation and confusion.
Update: Collecting naysayer types suddenly making a fuss about this nomenclature. I note that I’ve been using it consistently for over a year by linking to Harvey Taylor’s news. Please provide links in comments.
Update via Paulina Essunger in comments:
Global Climatic Disruption
June 18, 1997
We are scientists who are familiar with the causes and effects of climatic change as summarized recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We endorse those reports and observe that the further accumulation of greenhouse gases commits the earth irreversibly to further global climatic change and consequent ecological, economic and social disruption. The risks associated with such changes justify preventive action through reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. In ratifying the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States agreed in principle to reduce its emissions. It is time for the United States, as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to fulfill this commitment and demonstrate leadership in a global effort.
Human-induced global climatic change is under way. The IPCC concluded that global mean surface air temperature has increased by between about 0.5 and 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years and anticipates a further continuing rise of 1.8 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit during the next century. Sea-level has risen on average 4-10 inches during the past 100 years and is expected to rise another 6 inches to 3 feet by 2100. Global warming from the increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere causes an amplified hydrological cycle resulting in increased precipitation and flooding in some regions and more severe aridity in other areas. The IPCC concluded that “The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.” The warming is expected to expand the geographical ranges of malaria and dengue fever and to open large new areas to other human diseases and plant and animal pests. Effects of the disruption of climate are sufficiently complicated that it is appropriate to assume there will be effects not now anticipated.
Our familiarity with the scale, severity, and costs to human welfare of the disruptions that the climatic changes threaten leads us to introduce this note of urgency and to call for early domestic action to reduce U.S. emissions via the most cost-effective means. We encourage other nations to join in similar actions with the purpose of producing a substantial and progressive global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions beginning immediately. We call attention to the fact that there are financial as well as environmental advantages to reducing emissions. More than 2000 economists recently observed that there are many potential policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions for which total benefits outweigh the total costs.
The Framework Convention on Climate Change, ratified by the United States and more than 165 other nations, calls for stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels that will protect human interests and nature. The Parties to the Convention will meet in December, 1997, in Kyoto, Japan to prepare a protocol implementing the convention. We urge that the United States enter that meeting with a clear national plan to limit emissions, and a recommendation as to how the U.S. will assist other nations in significant steps toward achieving the joint purpose of stabilization.
- Dr. John P. Holdren
- Dr. Jane Lubchenco
- Dr. Harold A. Mooney
- Dr. Peter H. Raven
- Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland
- Dr. George M. Woodwell
Signed by 2409 scientists as of June 11, 1997