Tags: climate change | vs | global warming | politicians

Climate Change vs. Global Warming: Which Do Politicians Prefer?

By    |   Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 07:44 PM

In choosing between the terms “climate change” vs. “global warming,” Republican politicians use "global warming" slightly more often while Democrat politicians use “climate change” much more.

That conclusion is borne out by FiveThirtyEight's DataLab, using information from the Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words website, which tracks the number of times words or phrases are used in the Congressional record and by which party.

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According to those sources, figures showed in June 2014 that since the Obama presidency began in January 2009:

• Democrats had mentioned climate change 3,584 times and global warming 865 times.

• Republicans had mentioned global warming 1,338 times and climate change 1,243 times.

• Four of the five members of Congress who mentioned climate change the most were Democrats. DataLab indicated one, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, had been on a “one-man crusade” to try to get Congress to act on climate change.

• Four of the five Congress members who mentioned global warming the most were Republicans. DataLab reported the person who used the phrase most, Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, doesn’t believe global warming is man-made.

Though people often use the phrases interchangeably, climate change and global warming mean two different things. NASA defines global warming as the increase the Earth has seen in its average surface temperatures due to rising levels of greenhouse gases while climate change is long-term change of the climate of the Earth or of one of its regions.

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Republicans have historically sought to downplay the possibility and/or threat of global warming. They took the lead in 2002 in seeking to replace that phrase with what they considered to be the less-threatening term, “climate change.” According to a May 2014 Yale report, Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz recommended the move in a secret memo to the George W. Bush administration prior to that year’s elections.

But the Yale report suggested the political atmosphere regarding use of the phrases has since changed. It said more recent research indicates conservative think tanks trying to downplay the threat have more commonly used the term “global warming” while liberal think tanks seeking to emphasize it have more frequently used “climate change.”

The Yale report also indicated that:

• 88 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of liberal/moderate Republicans thought global warming was happening compared to 28 percent of conservative Republicans.

• 81 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of liberal/moderate Republicans were worried about global warming compared to 19 percent of conservative Republicans.

• 82 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of liberal/moderate Republicans supported strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, compared to 31 percent of conservative Republicans.

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In choosing between the terms "climate change" vs. "global warming," Republican politicians use "global warming" slightly more often while Democrat politicians use "climate change" much more.
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2014-44-18
Tuesday, 18 Nov 2014 07:44 PM
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