Here’s an interesting thing: According to polls, significantly more people on the right of American politics believe that climate change is a real phenomenon than believe in global warming – and this is also reflected in the numbers who believe we should tackle the issue. This despite the fact that most people use the two terms interchangably!
Climate Change or Global Warming?
The Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) reports a University of Michigan study showing that whereas only 44% of Republicans believe in global warming, that rises to 60% if you call it climate change (which is arguably a better term anyway). Democrats are unafected by the terminology. The PRRI says this confirms a study they undertook in 2009 which showed that 36% of Republicans believed that climate change is very important, whereas only 23% believed the same about global warming.
This may be because when most leading Republicans were scoffing at the science back in the 90s, the phrase used was nearly always global warming, so this carries a very negative connotation with their electorate. Climate change was a less used phrase in those days and so didn’t suffer as badly.
The power of words
The moral is: be very careful about the words you choose to use. The precise words can carry as much weight as the actual meaning. Strange but true. Of course Christians have always known in theory about the power of words but sometimes we’ve tried to use them as steamrollers. Not for us this market-research mumbo jumbo! But all those interested in promoting just causes should take note. If you want to have meaningful conversation with someone, use words that don’t put them off!