global warming iceThe terms “global warming” and “climate change” are often used interchangeably to describe the effect of increasing greenhouse gases but new research indicates the public responds to them very differently.

According to a report by Yale Project on Climate Change Communications and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, the term global warming is more engaging and more likely to be associated with negative affects. That term appears to carry more power with regular people than “climate change.”

Compared to “climate change” people tend to be more worried about “global warming” and see it as more of a bad thing. They are also more likely to think global warming will directly harm themselves, harm their families, and affect the weather in the United States.

In addition more Americans say “global warming” should be a high priority for Congress than say the same about “climate change.” So Americans say they are more willing to  join a campaign against global warming than against climate change.

It appears that “global warming” is currently a more powerful term especially among certain groups like Independents and young Americans.

Photo by Len Radlin under Creative Commons license