In an attempt to avoid "oversimplifying" the scientifically supported but nevertheless controversial theory of global warming, White House science adviser John Holdren unveiled a new way to describe the climate change phenomenon: "global climate disruption." The clunky phrase, which was announced in Holdren's speech in Oslo, Norway, is only the latest in a series of terms that veer away from "global warming" since temperature change was deemed not "the most severe effect of changing climate" by NASA in 2008. Needless to say, pundits—many of them conservative—had a field day with the new terminology.
Trips Off the Tongue, Doesn't It? quips Wesley J. Smith at First Things. "You know you are in political trouble when you feel the need to change the words used to describe a public controversy....We can call it what we want, and I for one, will continue with the original description because man-caused planetary warming (and what, if anything, to do about it) are what the controversy is all about. This much is for sure: Resorting to word engineering demonstrates a substantial lack of confidence in the effectiveness of hysteria advocacy."
- What Happened to the term 'Climate Change'? Fox News published a report stating, "It's unclear why Holdren prefers 'global climate disruption' over 'climate change,' the most commonly used alternative to 'global warming.'" The article also notes that: "In a 2007 presentation, Holdren suggested a similar phrase change -- 'global climatic disruption.'"
- This Is Very Ironic says Michelle Malkin on her blog. "An administration that goes out of its way to make terrorism sound less dangerous than it really is (i.e. 'man-caused disaster') makes the push to sell 'global warming' as more dangerous than it really is. Sounds like somebody’s starting to feel uncomfortable because the icecaps and Greenland ice sheets aren’t melting fast enough."
- New Term Just as 'Slippery' as 'Climate Change' finds The American Spectator's Chris Horner. "Also like 'climate change' this trades off the risible 'at this rate!' hysteria on which the movement dined out during its 'cooling' and 'warming' heyday, in return for the claimed ability to point to everything as its evidence (like many other faiths and doomsday cults)."
- Not the First Terminology Change the White House Has Pushed For observes Carol Driver at The Daily Mail. "Previous examples include ‘man-caused disaster’ and ‘overseas contingency operation’." But the Obama administration believes that the term "global warming" oversimplifies the problem whereas "global climate disruption" might just be able to "drive the message to ordinary people - and put the bill back on the agenda for next year's legislative session."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.