Why ‘climate change’ is a useless phrase

by John Seiler | February 10, 2014 10:50 am

In the late 2000s, “climate change” began replacing “global warming” as the phrase used to encourage government intervention to prevent man-caused climate catastrophes. In 2006, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006[1], greatly increasing regulatory control over state industries.

Shortly after, “global warming” went out of favor, replaced by “climate change.” Just two years later, in his acceptance speech [2]at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, candidate Barack Obama didn’t mention “global warming,” only “climate change.”

For example, in a debate over global warming on our site last week, one commentator wrote, “It’s called climate change, John. You have record cold in some places and record heat in others.”

But the phrase “climate change” is a logical fallacy called a tautology, also called circular reasoning. According to the Philosophy Index, “A tautology in logic is a formula that is always true on any valuation or interpretation of its terms.”

Or as I put it, something that explains everything, explains nothing.

Here are some examples [3]of tautologies:

So here are some examples using “climate change”:


Of course, the main reason this logical fallacy is used is to increase government control over our lives to make sure “climate change” doesn’t destroy the planet. It doesn’t hurt that some connected crony capitalists, such as Al Gore, have become even richer [4]by investing in global warming/climate change technology boosted by governments.

The problem has cropped up that the global-warming hypothesis is hard to advance when temperatures have ceased increasing the past 15 years[5]. And although one year doesn’t make a trend, it doesn’t help that much of the United States continues to freeze[6] under record low temperatures.

So “climate change” seems a better phrase because it can, as has been shown, mean anything. The problem though is that, although most people are not logicians, many people can sense something isn’t quite right about phrases based on logical fallacies.

A common fallacy is the argument based on an irrelevant appeal to an authority, such as a celebrity pitching a credit card or diet program. (Appealing to a real authority, such as a physician to heal your aliment, may be valid.) Many people understand that the celebrity isn’t a banking expert; or might have lost weight not because of the advertised program, but because of personal chefs and trainers only the rich can afford.

With a tautology like “climate change,” at least some people understand that it’s a phrase with no explanatory value.

(Note: I am is not arguing about whether or not global warming is occurring, only that those who believe it is occurring should use that phrase, not “climate change.”)

  1. Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/02/08/record-global-cooling-freezes-lake-superior/
  2. acceptance speech : http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/us/politics/28text-obama.html?pagewanted=all
  3. examples : http://examples.yourdictionary.com/reference/examples/examples-of-tautology.html
  4. have become even richer : http://www.examiner.com/article/al-gore-pushes-global-warming-for-personal-profit
  5. the past 15 years: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/22/science/la-sci-climate-change-uncertainty-20130923
  6. continues to freeze: http://calwatchdog.com/2014/02/08/record-global-cooling-freezes-lake-superior/

Source URL: https://calwatchdog.com/2014/02/10/why-climate-change-is-a-useless-phrase/