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Climate Change: Basics from the Databases

"Climate change" is the preferred terminology to describe "global warming". It is more inclusive of the various phenomena involved.

Credo Topic: Climate Change

from Culture Wars in America: An Encyclopedia of Issues, Viewpoints, and Voices

Climate change” is the now commonly used term, having replaced “global warming,” for the rapid rise in the average temperature of the Earth's surface, including air and ocean, for the past century or more. The increase is widely attributed to the phenomenon known as “the greenhouse effect,” whereby the atmospheric buildup of excess concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, and nitrous oxide—known as greenhouse gases (GHGs)—prevents infrared energy from escaping and traps heat at the earth's surface. Although there remains a minority of staunch skeptics, climate change is almost universally regarded as a fact in the scientific community and generally linked to human activity, in particular the burning of fossil fuels. In the context of the culture wars, the debate over climate change has centered on the extent of the problem and whether or not a proactive federal response, such as strict but costly regulations and programs that subsidize clean-energy technologies over carbon-based ones, is imminently needed.The concern over GHGs accumulating in the atmosphere dates to the 1950s. To read more...

Economics of Climate Change

Economic development and prosperity since the Industrial Revolution have come about through technology, largely driven by fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. It is increasingly clear, however, that this prosperity comes at a cost—not only are we fast depleting these natural resources, but burning fossil fuels pollutes the atmosphere. A growing body of evidence points to emissions of greenhouse gases, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2), as a cause of global warming, and the consensus now among scientists worldwide is that we risk devastating climate change unless emissions are cut quickly and drastically. Read more