Does Global Warming Need a Makeover?
22 September 2010
First corn syrup, now global warming. Image makeovers seem to abound these days.
The Corn Refiners' Association plans to ask the FDA to rename high-fructose corn syrup as simply "corn sugar," in an attempt to boost sales at a time when consumption of the insidious sweetener is at an all-time low.
Apparently global warming has an image problem, too.
A top White House science advisor John P. Holdren suggested at a speech in Oslo on Sept. 6 that "global warming" mistakenly implies the phenomenon would be gradual and uniform across the globe, and even "quite possibly benign," John Collins Rudolf points out in a New York Times blog.
And since climate changes are expected to be rapid, distributed unevenly and with unbalanced effects for different parts of the globe, a more illuminating term might be "global climate disruption," Holdren is reported as saying.
"They're trying to come up with more politically palatable ways to sell some of this stuff," said Adam Geller, one of two Republican organizers quoted by Fox and reported in the NYT.
Climate scientists have long had to contend with skeptics, the most recent of which was the "Climategate" brew-ha – a set of highly controversial, private e-mails among climate researchers that was hacked from a university server. The e-mails pointed to possible cases of misconduct and were touted by skeptics as the "smoking gun" against climate change, though no scientific fraud was revealed. The leading climate researchers also still agree that humans are contributing to climate change by the production of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels.