Obama's Science Adviser: Don't Call it 'Global Warming'

September 14, 2010 - 4:34 PM

(CNSNews.com) - John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, says that the term "global warming" is "a dangerous misnomer” that should be replaced with “global climate disruption."

 John Holdren, Director of White House Science and Technology Policy with President Barack Obama at The White House

John Holdren, Director of White House Science and Technology Policy with President Barack Obama at The White House

At the Environmental Protection Agency's 40th celebration of the Clean Air Act on Tuesday, Holdren said, "I think one of the failures of the scientific community was in embracing the term 'global warming'. Global warming is in fact a dangerous misnomer." And in a speech last week in Norway, echoing remarks he made at a 2007 speech at Harvard University, Holdren said the term "global climate disruption" should be used instead of "global warming."

At the 2010 Kavli Prize Science Forum in Oslo, Norway on Sept. 6, Holdren gave a presentation entitled “Climate Change Science and Policy: What Do We Know? What Should We Do?” The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy has posted a PDF-version of Holdren's presentation of that speech on the White House Website.  One panel in the presentation says: “‘Global warming’ is a (dangerous) misnomer. That term implies something …uniform across the planet, mainly about temperature, gradual, quite possibly benign. What’s actually happening is… highly nonuniform, not just about temperature, rapid compared to capacities for adjustment, harmful for most places and times. We should call it ‘global climate disruption.’”

Rudy Baum, the editor-in-chief of Chemical and Engineering News who attended the event in Oslo, and wrote in his blog about Holdren’s remarks. The blog states: “Holdren then discussed the Obama Administration’s views on climate change. ‘Global warming is a dangerous misnomer,’ Holdren observed. ‘It suggests that the changes are uniform, primarily about temperature, gradual, and likely benign. None of these are true.’

“In fact, Holdren pointed out, the changes that are occurring are highly nonuniform, not only about temperature, occurring rapidly, and quite harmful to the environment. The correct term, he said, should be ‘global climate disruption.’”

On Sept. 13, 2007 during a presentation at the World Affairs Council of Northern California, Holdren said, “The widely used term of global warming is in fact a misnomer."

“I like to use the term ‘global climatic disruption’ in preference to ‘global warming’ or even ‘global heating,’ which is maybe a little better,” Holdren said.

When addressing the issue during a Harvard symposium on Nov. 6, 2007 Holdren said, “The first message is that 'global warming' is a misnomer. It implies something gradual, something uniform, something quite possibly benign. And what we are experiencing is none of those. It is rapid in relation to the capacity of societies and ecosystems to respond. It is highly non-uniform and it is certainly not benign. And that's why I prefer the term 'global climate disruption' to 'global warming.'"