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Language Precision Urged On Climate Experts

Language Precision Urged On Climate Experts

Statement to members of 2006 NZ Climate Change and Governance Conference Wellington

The communication of climate change issues is lacking of a science. There has been a significant investment in the development of a science of climate processes. We now require research in the impact of the popular climate symbols. This work will use techniques such as consumption analysis and fMRI to determine actual responses to the use of key climate symbols.

Interim Response

It is proposed that conference members adopt the following symbol uses until a science of climate communication is established.

Avoid Climate Change
Suggestion: use Thermal Build-up, Net WarmUp Human-Induced Climate Imbalance.
Qualify any use of the climate change symbol with principal driver eg seasonal, solar, tectonic, human, El Nino, La Nina, etc

Avoid Global Warming
Suggestion: use Human-Induced Climate Imbalance, Thermal Build-up, Net WarmUp

Avoid greenhouse symbols
Suggestion: use Atmospheric Effect, Atmospheric Balances, Human-Induced Climate Imbalance, Warmer Trace Gases, Thermal Balance, etc.

Reserve use of greenhouse symbol for communication of best insulation practice in buildings, food storage, clothing etc i.e. carbon emissions mitigation practice.

Avoid blanket symbols
Suggestion: use Atmospheric Effect, Thermal Flows, Air’s Thermal Capacity,

Reserve use of blanket symbol for communication of best insulation practice in buildings, food storage, clothing etc i.e. carbon emissions mitigation practice.

Avoid confusion of state: constant state/no temperature change = warming, cooling. Change state/ temperature change = warming UP, cooling DOWN

Additional proposals

Avoid calling forms of energy energy. Suggestion: Talking energy forms, carriers and fuels? State energy forms, carriers and fuels. E.g. Do not exclude air from the energy equation by calling fuels (oil, coal, Gas) energy. Fuel PLUS Atmosphere = Energy

Avoid calling forms of power power. Suggestion: talking power form or source? State form eg solar, wind, tidal, electricity (state type eg thermoelectricity, atmospheric electricity, geoelectricity, Bulk-electricity v DG-electricity, static electricity, bioelectricity etc)

Join the call for an international review of the symbols we use to portray the nature of energy, including climate processes. More at

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