Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=155042
Story Retrieval Date: 5/25/2013 7:33:58 AM CST
(Data: News bank database)
“I wish I could be here 50 more years to see what will happen, but I’m 78 so that won’t happen,” said Wallace Broecker, Newberry Professor of Geology at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and a pioneer in climate science. “I wish you all the help you can get because you’re going to need it.”
Broecker is talking about how we will cope with higher average temperatures – known as global warming – and the effect this will have on precipitation levels, sea levels and wind behavior for decades or longer, referred to as climate change.
However, not everyone is in agreement with Broecker that these changes are imminent and inevitable.
On Thursday, the Heartland Institute hosted a presentation in Chicago by Alexandra Liddy Bourne, executive director for the American Energy Freedom Center, and opponent of the Obama administration’s energy bill.
“I consider climate change science to be in its infancy,” Bourne said. “There is too much dependence on models and flawed science.”
Global warming and climate change are next in line, after health care, to be debated on Capitol Hill. In Wednesday night’s state of the union, President Barack Obama called on Congress to send him legislation to “save our planet from the ravages of climate change.” But, fundamental differences in the interpretation of the data and understanding of implications and potential solutions exist in Congress.
One area of disagreement is why the term climate change has become more commonly used than global warming.
Bourne said the term climate change is a marketing term to mask the
possibility that global temperatures are not actually rising.
But according to William Kearney, spokesman for the National Academy of Sciences, climate change is growing in preferred use to global warming because it helps convey that there are changes in addition to rising temperatures.
The academy notes that both climate change and global warming are influenced by a combination of natural factors and human activities.
“We prepare for war, for H1N1, terrorism, we prepare for this, we prepare for that – in this case we’re not even preparing,” Broecker said. “And that’s what annoys me.”