If you pay any attention to the news, then you occasionally, or even frequently, hear stories about global warming and climate change. These issues come up a lot in the news, usually regarding either thing about the Earth’s environment that are changing or have a high risk of potential for adverse change. It’s enough to leave you wondering if there are actually differences between global warming and climate change.
Global warming is basically the idea that the planet is getting hotter over the course of many years. The theory also holds that man-made pollution, primarily from fossil fuels, is the catalyst for this. As greenhouse gasses accumulate in the atmosphere, more of the sun’s heat is retained, and the air and water warm up. This does everything from kill coral reef to melt ice caps, causing rising water levels in coastal areas.
A serious push was made by conservative politicians and businesses to try and discredit the idea, even though most reputable scientists believe in the data they have. The blowback was hard enough however, that, the phrase climate change largely took over, since it did not just cover pollution, hotter summers, and rising ocean levels, but also possibly harsher winters and increases in hurricane activity.
Climate change is a broader concept than global warming, and harder to argue against, since it can be changed in either direction. It also reflects the idea that the world’s environment and weather are more volatile and unpredictable than they used to be just a generation ago.
In conclusion, the concept of global warming can certainly be a subset or large part of climate change, but climate change itself is a bigger concept, so that term can’t be interchanged with the earlier one, even if it was its replacement.