Talk:Global warming/Terminology section

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Terminology (Working version)[edit]

Note: this version may be edited to propose changes to the working version. To propose a widely variant version, or total removal, please create a new section below, following what's been done before. Note added by Abd (talk) 13:22, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

"Global warming" is a specific example of climate change, which can also refer to cooling. In principle 'global warming' is neutral as to the causes, but in common usage it often implies a human influence.[1] The UNFCCC uses 'climate change' for human-caused change, and 'climate variability' for other changes. [2] Some organizations use "anthropogenic climate change" or "anthropogenic global warming" for human-induced changes.

Comments on Working version[edit]

This version iswas from an old revision of the article, suggested today by WMC, below, in comments on Version 3. Because it immediately attracted approval from all but one of the editors active here -- and the other hasn't weighed in --, I've made it the working version. Comments on it can be in this subsection.--Abd (talk) 01:39, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I've already stated that I'm basically happy with this version, just doing so again in this section. Mishlai (talk) 03:08, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I've done some copy editing to it, feel free to revert, if anyone thinks it was better before, or to edit. I did not bold the sentence about in principle and common usage because I think that would distract from the basic function of the section, but I do agree that this is an important element. --Abd (talk) 03:16, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

This is ok with me. Though perhaps AGW should be defined. (Sorry to make you wait.)
You know I still want more on the history of the definition. What is good, what is bad, and most important WHY. But that can be placed in another section or another page. I just think that that information is valuable, and perhaps it can stop the next edit war. Q Science (talk) 06:40, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, that's what this page is about. The way I'd see it, this page will become a standing RfC on the Terminology section. When new editors (say they are skeptics) come in and try to change the Terminology section (after the existing consensus is clear and stable, here), it is quite likely, as it is now, that they will be reverted. But now the reversion will immediately refer to this page, or someone will make this clear to the new editor. "Revert change to consensus text. Editor is invited to join or shift the consensus at Talk:Global warming/blah blah. If their arguments are already on this page, then, presumably, they will also be answered on this page, they will have been considered in forming the consensus, and they will see, hopefully, that other skeptics have signed off on the result. There will be a poll here, by the time we are done, to show exactly who is part of the consensus and how strong it is; this will be a standing poll. (We'll work out the details as we go.) If the arguments are new, then the the new editor can comment here and attempt to shift the consensus in this "committee" -- another way of conceptualizing what we are doing. But controversy gets shifted out of the article to here, an environment that is quite different from the article or even the article Talk page; the goal here is complete consideration, as well as maximum consensus, and any new editor is invited to become a part of this. So a good-faith skeptic, say, can be confident of being heard and considered, without taking up everyone's time or space on the article Talk page, which is busy about many different issues that are not settled. And a bad-faith editor will quickly become visible as such, if persistent.
I don't necessarily consider the Terminology section fully settled. But we now have an acceptable core to work with. Given your consent, here, Q Science, one of us should replace the article section with this one and see if it sticks. If someone reverts it, they'll be invited to participate here, to try to convince us that the other version is better. We do not decide here what will be in the article, but we recommend and show consensus, which is almost the same, in the end.
And then we can turn to other issues, one at a time. This is long term cleanup intended to create a stable article without becoming rigid and unwelcoming. It's important that all POVs be represented in this process. --Abd (talk) 14:56, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
As to AGW, ACC is mentioned. The meaning of each of these is clear, I believe, without explanation, from the comment that GW is a special case of CC. GW refers to just what anyone would expect from the words, and commonly, at present, GW is used in a manner that implies that it is Anthropogenic. "Stop GW," as a slogan, would mean "Stop doing what we are doing that is causing GW and start doing what will reverse this." I.e., change human activity. If it didn't mean AGW, then we'd be trying or demanding that we change something that is immune to our activity, we'd be better off preparing for the changes, if they are happening. (Though, possibly, if GW were being caused by, say, solar activity, and we decided that it was in our collective interests to reverse that, there are climate engineering measures that might be taken. But this isn't what people are talking about, they are talking about reversing the effect that our existing activities are having on the climate.) Basically, we had a conflict here because both sides were right, but each in a different way. --Abd (talk) 15:05, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
one of us should replace the article section with this one and see if it sticks. Since this is a highly contested area with many people weighing in, don't just throw text around, as that would be the precursor for edit warring, which is why we started this sandbox in the first place. And I suggest you are more likely to have your thoughts considered if you were more concise in your rationale. --Skyemoor (talk) 16:05, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
We could have, as I thought might be necessary, solicited wider comment. But what's wrong with taking a version which has been explicitly approved by five editors, after, already, quite a bit of solicitation of input, and placing it in the article to replace an earlier version that already came from this workgroup? -- with the exception of some minor edits. I'm now being quite concise. So .... I removed the bold to satisfy the only specific objection KDP made. Skyemoor, I saw no reason to wait. Last time, the edit warring stopped because I and others didn't continue to edit war, faced with your apparent determination to do so. That restraint won't necessarily stand, once consensus is clear. Obviously, we can't be certain of consensus based on a limited sample of editors here, but I'd say we have a reasonable suspicion of consensus, sufficient for testing the water. --Abd (talk) 16:48, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry but what you have here, is not a "reasonable suspecion of consensus" - but rather a limited group of people, who are willing to discuss and read large blocks of text. The rest (just as me and Boris) simply ignored the discussion, because of its long and tedious character. And yes - i did read this page first, and came to the conclusion to ignore it, until a result was forthcoming.
As for a reason to wait, its generally a bad idea to present a new case, not even a day after people have accepted another one.... and edited it to a real consensus version. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 17:15, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
It wasn't a "new case." It was an old version from the article, which stood in roughly that condition for a long time. It has the explicit approval of four or five editors, including at least one skeptic and one prominent "GW supporter." Note that the supposed "real consensus version" was based on one that I'd placed from here as well. We had created a fork, with more editors, apparently, working actively on the version here, rather than in the article. While KDP objected, his objection did not stand. So far. None of this implies that a solid consensus has been formed, only that there was more basis for considering the current revision of the article, more or less the same as the working version above, as representing "consensus" than what it replaced. That's a reversible presumption, and, indeed, true NPOV requires that it always be considered reversible. With discussion and a wider or equivalent consensus. This process will continue. --Abd (talk) 13:18, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Abd I think your points are excellent. I would suggest, for completeness, including AGW, as in "some organizations use Anthropogenic Climate Change or Anthropogenic Global Warming to explicitly mean human caused changes." "explicitly" is a suggested add for clarity, it can be removed if someone doesn't like it. We might also, mention the IPCC definition? Seems likely to come up again. Mishlai (talk) 17:45, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I've now brought suggestions from the main Talk page here, made by Boris, mostly. Feel free to revert me if anyone thinks what I replaced is better. --Abd (talk) 18:40, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I added the word sometimes because the PBS special that introduced the world to GW does not use that interpretation. For concrete examples, please see the Common Usage section at the bottom of this talk page. Q Science (talk) 19:42, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I edited "sometimes" to "often," which is true without implying that this "common usage" is unusual. I assume this will be acceptable to Q Science and surely is more likely to be acceptable to the AGW camp than "sometimes," based on the history of this. --Abd (talk) 13:28, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry? "Introduced" as well as "the World" must stand for your own opinion on this subject. It neither introduced a subject already widely disseminated (at least in Europe), nor did it have any specific influence in "the World" (afaik). --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:25, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

The real problem is that both Global Warming and Climate Change have multiple, conflicting definitions, and common usage depends on what year it is and which audience is being sampled. Q Science (talk) 20:00, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, this has been argued. I've come to the conclusion that it's not true. There is only one definition of "Global warming." It means what it says. However, it is used sometimes with an implication of anthropogenesis. The phrase "corrupt Republican administration," in an editorial today, has the same "definition" as it would have had many years ago, but it certainly would be used with an extra implication, normally, today. It would refer to the Bush administration, because of context. I don't know that we need to talk about "common usage" in the Terminology section, but it's True (TM) and if it is what it takes to satisfy a substantial camp of editors, that's fine with me, and we have reliable source for it. Or is it reliable? It's the EPA, which if it has any bias here, the bias would be in the other direction. That's why I suggest that the EPA version was already crafted to be NPOV, to be noncontroversial, acceptable to all camps. --Abd (talk) 13:35, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

I created a diff to show the difference between the current article text and the working version.[1]. I believe that the current working version is better than the current article version, so, without objection, I'll make the edit to the article. Note that there are some minor changes that haven't been broadly discussed here, recently made. Consent to replacement does not constitute consent to every single change, it simply represents an opinion that the replacement is an improvement. If objecting to replacement based on one of these details, please edit the Working version above to reflect your objection (which should, at this point, be the removal of the minor changes, so that we stay on track toward full consensus). I intend to continue to take changes back and forth so that the working version here reflects apparent improvements in the article, and so that the article reflects preliminary consensus here, or at least has an opportunity to. --Abd (talk) 13:55, 18 October 2008 (UTC)

Responding to a revert on the article that complained about lack of source for some of the working version, I've inserted the old source, the EPA definition, which is, to my knowledge, the source for "common usage." Based on lack of objection here, I'm going to go ahead and move the current working version to the article, with this source. I'm aware that there are objections to this source, but it's sourcing usage, not "science" as such. And, in fact, we agree that the term is often used that way. --Abd (talk) 15:41, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
And once more you confuse the lack of activity here, with consensus. (nb. and judging by this page - there is a distinct lack of consensus here on the EPA as a WP:RS!) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 18:50, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
I do not see the current working version as equal to or better than version 3 below. And I repeat the WP:RS issues with the EPA source as being insurmountable for this article. --Skyemoor (talk) 23:43, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
It's correct that there is a present lack of consensus on the use of the EPA as a source; however, the EPA was supplied as a source for the comment about "common usage," a very long time ago, and was stable as such until, lo, I came along and noticed the discrepancy between the source and what the article was making of it, a shift in emphasis that was clearly calculated for effect. Suddenly the EPA isn't okay as a source, though that stood through, what, 3000 revisions? It's a source for usage, it's an example of usage if nothing else, and it simply states what is common sense and common knowledge, and it does not deny anthropogenesis in any way. Skyemoor, I understand that you don't see the working version as superior to Version 3, but many editors have, and others, including yourself, considered it acceptable. The working version is actually a very old one from this article, suggested by WMC. What, specifically, is wrong with it? The "common usage" language is in both the working version and version 3, but it's not sourced in version 3. What's your source? --Abd (talk) 01:00, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)There have been some changes to the Working version that was explicitly accepted by a number of editors. If those changes made the version worse, in your opinion, feel free to (1) change the version above back, and/or (2) change the article to reverse those changes. Obviously, you are all free to make other changes, but I suggest respecting our process so that we can proceed with versions that have increasing consensus, instead of alternately satisfying one or another editor or faction. What has happened in the article is that bald reversion has been made to Version 3, and the shift from Version 3 to the Working version roughly as it is was explicitly approved as acceptable by the most editors. I have reverted once, now, as a bald revert (i.e., not incorporating changes attempting to satisfy suggestions or criticisms in a prior revert), compared to one bald revert each from two editors, Skyemoor and KimDabelsteinPetersen. --Abd (talk) 01:22, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Comments on prior Working version[edit]

Terminology (version 3)[edit]

this is the last version before removal/restoration edit war

In common usage, "Global warming" refers to the recent average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.[4][1] It may also, less commonly, be used to refer to other episodes of warming in Earth's history. In scientific circles, the phrase "anthropogenic climate change" may be preferred.

"Climate change" refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer) from whatever cause [1]. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) uses "climate change" for human-induced changes, and "climate variability" for natural changes.[5]"United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Article I". United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved 2007-01-15. </ref>

Comments on Version 3[edit]

I'm perfectly happy with this version. Mishlai (talk) 18:15, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

AGW should be added to it though. Mishlai (talk) 18:18, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
I can accept this version. --Skyemoor (talk) 17:25, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I can accept it pending our work on the section. Hence I'm acting. I'm putting this version into the article. Please don't revert it unless you really consider it unacceptable. (I understand that it has problems, but this is similar to what was in the article before the edit warring, and letting it be there now does not prejudice efforts to improve it. If it's biased, fix it by making it more faithful to sources or by adding new text to balance it, likewise reliably sourced.) --Abd (talk) 17:37, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
"the recent average increase in the temperature" is nonsense. It should read "the recent increase in the average temperature" Q Science (talk) 18:04, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
This is my version (unless I missed anything) and I'm happy with it. I'm also opposed to all the others. Adding AGW would be OK. Shuffling average around per Q Science, ditto William M. Connolley (talk) 18:08, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
It is the version, as to text, that some editors were edit warring to remove, I think AGW was already in it. I bolded it when I reinserted to make it more visible. The issues raised with this version have not been resolved. (This is a version that was descended in part, I think, from edits made to my version, which was based roughly on the EPA exact text plus some other material from other references. It has now been sourced from other than the EPA entirely, largely to satisfy Skyemoor and others, though the EPA had been the source for the definition for a very, very long time.) This version, however, will not satisfy GW skeptics, nor does it satisfy me (I am not a GW skeptic), and I believe it is possible to do both without offense to accuracy and NPOV. So work here should continue, or else, I expect, we'll see more edit warring in the future. --Abd (talk)
As stated above, I can accept this version. We don't have to satisfy GW skeptics, we only have to provide the best verifiable, reliable information. --Skyemoor (talk) 19:10, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
We don't have to do anything, but we should seek the broadest possible consensus, which is the most secure guarantee of NPOV. This does not mean pandering to fringe views, but it does mean being scrupulously fair, and if we do this, there should be greatly reduced contention over the text.
The lede also defines GW, and defines it differently. One definition assigns cause and the other doesn't. I strongly prefer the approach taken in the lede (no assumption of cause in the definition), but I also recognize that the definition of global warming increasingly does include the attribution of AGHG. How are we proposing to resolve that?
"Global warming is the increase in the average measured temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century, and its projected continuation."
I actually like the lede definition a lot. Mishlai (talk) 19:22, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Oh hen. I did miss something. I'm not happy with it. What I do like is a version from when wiki was younger: The term 'global warming' is a specific case of the more general term 'climate change' (which can also refer to cooling, such as occurs during Ice ages). In principle, 'global warming' is neutral as to the causes, but in common usage, 'global warming' generally implies a human influence. However, the UNFCCC uses 'climate change' for human-caused change, and 'climate variability' for other changes [3]. Some organizations use the term 'anthropogenic climate change' for human-induced changes. [6] I've added the bold, and I think its important. We can't *define* GW as anthropogenic, otherwise it makes no sense to talk about possible solar influences :-( William M. Connolley (talk) 20:06, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

In broad strokes I'm happy with this older version that you've suggested. It could perhaps be improved, but I would accept it as it is. Mishlai (talk) 20:28, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Oh rooster. Ok, this touches all the bases and is as neutral as a Swiss banker. I'll sign up to this. --Skyemoor (talk) 20:35, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Woohoo! New working version? What can be done about preserving but removing the lengthy discussion above? Mishlai (talk) 20:46, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Good work, William. I do think that this is equivalent to the EPA definition, but has been explained. What you have bolded is what I've been saying with, I'm sure, too many words. I wouldn't have put the in principle, it's neutral bit in because I don't know a source for it, unless you think we can leave that diff in as a reference :-). In other words, I doubt that I could have gotten away with sticking those words in, but your support might be sufficient. I suspect that this version will be far more satisfying to the reasonable among the skeptics (if anyone thinks that's a null set, please don't mention it!) than the versions I've considered problematic. I'll put this above as our working version and do some other housekeeping here. --Abd (talk) 01:31, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to stick with my first comment above. Straightforward, captures the most common scientific usage, covers all the bases completely. --Skyemoor (talk) 23:36, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

As I've noted elsewhere, there are problems with Version 3. The basic one is that it isn't true to its own sources, taken completely. The 2007 IPCC Assessment Reports consist of reports from Working Groups I-III, plus a Summary. The WGIII report is on mitigation, i.e., it assumes, in its task, both the existence of global warming and its cause as anthropogenic, hence its definition of "global warming" is specific, when they talk about "global warming," they are talking specifically about the recent warming, which they accept and do not debate or even argue for, and assume it is due to human activity. This is in their glossary. Each Working Group presents its own glossary, presumably defining terms as the working group uses them. The group that was concerned with the reality of global warming and its cause was Working Group I, which scrupulously, in reporting their conclusions, avoids the language of certainty that we have so casually included in Version 3, as if it were "scientific consensus." They do report the recent warming as "beyond doubt," as I recall the language, i.e., there is a warming since the mid-20th century. So they simply incorporate that. However, causation they do not report in that way. Rather they say that human causation through the greenhouse effect is "very likely" to be the cause of "most" of the global warming. "Very likely" has a precise meaning, as explained in the Summary (under the heading of Introduction/Treatment of uncertainty, p. 27).[7] It means greater than 90% probability of being true. There are two more levels of certainty in their usage: "Extremely likely" (greater than 95%) and "Virtually certain" (over 99%). They note the "advance" since the previous IPCC report, the probability of anthropogenesis through emission of greenhouse gases is upgraded from "likely" (greater than 66%) to "very likely." But, definitely, the IPCC report does not support definitive statements of anthropogenic cause as if there were no doubt, which is what the Version 3 definition implies. That was a special definition used by a special working group, which, in its task, debated and considered neither the existence nor the cause of global warming. It assumed, for their purposes, that it exists and it is anthropogenic through emission of greenhouse gases, and was concerned about what could be done about this. I am now advocating removal of the section on Terminology entirely, since, it turns out, the IPCC usage is followed quite well in the rest of the article, and we might consider incorporating this definition of "very likely." --Abd (talk) 22:53, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

Terminology (version 2)[edit]

Terminology (version 1)[edit]

Terminology (version 4)[edit]

Terminology (version 5)[edit]

The IPCC "Gold Standard" version

According to the IPCC (2007)

Global warming refers to the gradual increase, observed or projected, in global surface temperature, as one of the consequences of radiative forcing caused by anthropogenic emissions.


Comments on version 5[edit]

I see this as the cleanest, least problematic definition. Obviously, it has wide acceptance within the climatology community that produced the IPCC 2007 report, and has the added benefit of fitting cleanly with the common understanding of the definition. Others will undoubtedly try to attack it because it does not represent a small minority opinion, but that can be accomplished further back in the article. --Skyemoor (talk) 13:54, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

a definition of global warming which already assumes it to be anthropogenic is extremely problematic. Mishlai (talk) 18:20, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Why? That is the IPCC findings and the consensus of scientists. What other sources should be be basing the article on; Bush appointees? --Skyemoor (talk) 19:22, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
This is confusing "conclusions" -- which include consensus conclusions -- with logical and clear presentation of the meanings of terms. The two apparently variant meanings are actually not variant in reality, rather, they refer to different kinds of definitions. "Rise in average temperatures" is a clear meaning that, while it does depend on interpretation of data, depends on it at a very primitive level, one on which it is much easier to obtain consensus. What remaining quibbles might exist could be dealt with by attribution if such quibbles are notable. "Notable" is quite different from "consensus" opinion, a fringe view might be notable while being the view of a small minority. (undue weight deals with a different issue; it can be possible to be fair to fringe views without creating undue weight. You could establish "rise" (quite well, at least) with data tables and clear rules for interpreting them. Establishing "rise due to human activity" is extraordinarily difficult and possibly impossible in detail and with full accuracy, even if there is a consensus that there is some such rise, or significant such rise, or even a great rise. It can be inferred from data, such as showing close correlation between two variables, but as is well known to anyone who has studied where scientists have fallen on their faces, historically, such correlations can have hidden causes, can be coincidental, and careful scientific reporting on this will state confidence levels, not absolute facts. Or something like that. (I'm not a scientist, as such, I'm a generalist with a great deal of respect for the scientific method as well as some understanding of its limits.)
The article wouldn't be based on "Bush appointees." While Bush appointees could have censored this definition, I highly doubt that they wrote it, it simply doesn't serve their purposes, except that it finesses the conclusion of cause, but only in part. If the appointees had their way, we'd probably have seen "theory" and some considerably imbalanced mention of dissent. Instead, they simply defined the terms! Note that the EPA definition specifically includes the IPCC "definition" -- which I'm contending is not actually a "definition," it's a "description," and, in a description of global warming, mentioning cause can be quite appropriate. But that is not necessarily an encyclopedic definition. An encyclopedia might define Global warming as "warming (etc). Global warming is attributed by the vast majority of scientists to increased human activity (etc)," if one wants to be fair to the minority. A statement like this should be sourced (as would "consensus of scientists," and this is where I wouldn't trust the EPA as a source, for lots of subtle judgments and difficulties are involved in a responsible estimate of the percentage (of what?) who hold a view (precisely what view?) No, I'd trust an ordinary RS to make that judgment, with preference for peer-reviewed study based on solid research (some peer-reviewed publications are not a great deal more than speculation that was considered interesting by the reviewers and not obviously wrong). And where there is conflict, we, again, have means for dealing with that neutrally. --Abd (talk) 21:37, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
The consensus conclusion is the basis for the thesis statement, just as in a court of law, an expert witness gives testimony according to their specialty, and their word becomes evidence (far from 'problematic'). Your attempt to suppress undue weight goes against WP policy, so don't expect me to go along. Minority opinions are mentioned in the lede, though are not considered to be notable by the scientific consensus (our virtual expert witness here), so have no place in our definition. There, a complete explanation in a few short sentences. --Skyemoor (talk) 00:08, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I'll confess that I'm not sure I understand Skyemoor's comment here, but I can say for sure that he doesn't understand mine. There is no attempt to suppress WP:UNDUE above. Rather there is an apparently too-sophisticated examination of the interplay between WP:UNDUE and maximizing NPOV (which is judged by our consensus) without violating WP:UNDO. I'm not surprised that Skyemoor doesn't understand this, I've seen admins fail to understand it, some think that they own NPOV and it is the job of admins to enforce it, and I'm not sure that it's my job to explain it further, and definitely not tonight. --Abd (talk) 03:40, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I believe I understand what you are attempting to communicate, it's just that I have a different perspective than you, which is an important distinction. --Skyemoor (talk) 15:11, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Skyemoor unhid this, which is fine. It's not clear to me why this is considered the "gold standard," perhaps someone can explain that. I'd hidden it because nobody else was proposing it as the definition to be used in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by abd (talkcontribs)

Both Q Science and Mishlai used the term "Gold Standard" to describe the IPCC definition before I did. --Skyemoor (talk) 01:16, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Version 6: No Terminology section[edit]

This was proposed by Boris, and did attract some support. I'm not sure what the rest of the article looked like at that point, but looking today, after having studied the IPCC reports (2007), I now conclude that the definitions of global warming stated or used in the rest of the article are better than what is in the Terminology section, which is not true to the sources asserted, and have now come to consider that removal is indeed the best option, that the section isn't necessary; the plain and simple and obvious meaning of "global warming" is quite adequate. Climate change vs climate variability (per the UNFCCC or whatever) can be explained in situ as needed, if needed. If this is supported, here, I'll take it to Talk for the article. Or maybe edit the article accordingly, as can anyone. -- Abd (talk) 22:20, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

I went ahead and removed the Terminology section, with discussion and justification in article Talk. So far, no revert, but it's only been eight hours. I concluded the same, more or less, as Boris. The section was redundant at best, given that we use Global warming in the lead without any unclarity or problem. The idea that there are conflicting definitions is probably a red herring. There are no conflicting definitions, only various usages. Global warming refers to warming of the globe. We can, and do, get more specific about it, but that's the idea and why it is called "global warming." Most common usage: the current period of warming, since the mid-twentieth century. And since anthropogenesis is considered (by the IPCC) "very likely" (greater than 90% likelihood), naturally, most usage is associated with human activity. But incorporating that into the definition of the term makes mincemeat (tautologies) of usages like "Global warming is caused by human activity." It's an explanation and where do we explain the term? We start with a summary in the lead, which should be based on more detailed and sourced material in the rest of the article.... For this term, Global Warming, we don't need a Terminology section. The usage of Climate change and Climate variability are explained elsewhere to cover the UNFCCC special meaning. --Abd (talk) 22:29, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

General comments, comparisons, etc[edit]

I've set up a structure for this working page, with three versions: the last version before removal of the section, my full version from before that, and a version which existed before my revamping of the section. --Abd (talk) 14:08, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

After that, I added at the top, a "Working version" to be edited. The idea was that numbered versions were to be fixed, not edited except by consent of the creator of that version or by general consent. The Working version should come to represent a consensus as the best version to put back into the article, if that's what we decide to do. The other versions are for comparison, or, should we decide to take a poll, we'd have specific alternatives to refer to. I'd rather wait before any polling. Please don't create a new version just to make some minor change. Rather, we can discuss specific versions in the spaces set aside for that. We should end up with a set of alternatives that all of us agree is inclusive of anything we'd want to consider, a kind of proposed consensus version (the working version) and there will also be the null alternative, no action. (Which means no terminology section, right now, that could change.) If you think that one of the numbered version is better than the working version, you could try replacing the Working version with it and see if that sticks. It shouldn't be a big deal, because the name "Working version" doesn't really prejudice our final conclusion. -- I'd say that if a numbered version replaces the Working version, the Working version should become a new numbered version. We can eliminate numbered versions that nobody thinks are needed any more. Think a version isn't needed? Delete it. Nobody reverts, it isn't needed. Isn't Wikipedia wonderful? --Abd (talk) 18:17, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

What is "common usage"?[edit]

Common usage here has been, I think, misunderstood. It means that when someone says that they are going to discuss Global warming, they don't mean that they are going to discuss the end of the Ice Ages or some other period or some other cause than anthropogenesis, they are going to discuss anthropogenic global warming, largely because, I'd assert, this is something we might be able to do something about, and further because the present warming is by general consensus, anthropogenic. So if someone who believes that the warming is anthropogenic talks about the present global warming, that person is going to talk about anthropogenic global warming.

Saying that "in common usage, Global warming refers to warming caused by human activity" simply means that this is a very common topic of discussion, among scientists and nonscientists, and this discussion is mostly about anthropogenic global warming, and, in fact, probably, most of the discussion about possible nonanthropogenic global warming is among scientists (but also skeptics as well). I suspect that there might be a survey of this somewhere.

Common usage here doesn't mean that the term itself has been defined to include anthropogenesis, though.

In any case, we tend to talk about relevant topics, i.e., ones where our talking might be hoped to make a difference. (We might actually be able to do something about other possible causes of global warming, but not if we can't talk about that as a separate topic!) We are not, though, going to convince GW skeptics -- or a less involved public -- that AGW is real if we can't first convince them that GW is real! It's ironic, I find, that those who might consider themselves to have or be promoting a scientific perspective will make a very gross scientific error: presuming that the cause of a phenomenon is known and linking the cause with the phenomenon so that they become inseparable. If that assumption is made, we have proof of anthropogenesis: the earth is warming. Why does this fail to convince? The answer is pretty obvious! That the earth is warming does not prove that we are warming it, that is a separate inference, much more difficult to make than the primary, observational one that only needs, at most, massive collection of data and good mathematical analysis of it.

This series of events actually started with Jaimaster replacing, as I recall, "caused by human activity" with "attributed to human activity." The latter statement is, on purely abstract grounds, more NPOV than the first. It is practically impossible to deny the second statement, much easier the first. Anyone who says that it isn't being attributed to human activity has been paying no attention at all. Yet Jaimaster's comment was called a "whitewash." No, to continue the analogy, the truth is dark, but when you replace a black tarp with a clear one, the thing appears "whiter." One could go further, attributed to human activity" could become attributed by scientific consensus to human activity. A skeptic might want to weaken that slightly, and this would be the last refuge of legitimate debate, I'd say, how about "attributed by nearly all scientists to human activity." Does any skeptic here deny this? (And if we don't have any skeptics here, we'd better get one, or a few, because we will not find a stable consensus without their participation, at least in the near term That's why this "block the disruptive POV pushers" mentality will maintain long-term disruption.)

Unfortunately, we can't just synthesize a definition, that may have been the real problem with Jaimaster's edit. Or can we? I'd say that, if we can agree completely on it, or at least almost completely, such that GW believers and GW skeptics sign on or at least stand aside without resentment, we can. Short of that, we have only insistence on faithfulness to source to legitimately rely upon.

I would argue that it's acceptable in the lede or in a description of terms as used in the article to synthesize a definition that helps the reader understand what precisely is being said. The point is that it should be NPOV and have the effect of clarifying rather than slanting the article. It may be that I misunderstand policy, I'm a relatively inexperienced editor.
Excessive word lawyering in the name of satisfying opposing camps is sometimes useful, but it can result in a difficult to read introduction to an important topic. The basic thrust here is that terms like global warming and climate change can have multiple meanings. We need to address what they are. Other terms like anthropogenic global warming are much more specific but unwieldy and rarely used. Each side of the debate has come to assign "global warming" to mean what it means to them - either a hoax perpetrated by liberal scientists, an environmental crisis created by the use of fossil fuels, or something in between these. Our job is to illuminate these viewpoints and to break the definition down into something that is understandable and meaningful. I think the working version at present is close to doing that.
I don't understand what your opinion about "common usage" is, could you clarify? Mishlai (talk) 19:30, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
Common usage has two major meanings. (1) a variation on a meaning that is common, i.e., of higher frequency than other usages. Usually this will come first in a definition (unless other organizing principles put it later). (2) a common context in which the word is used, in which it can take on additional characteristics because of what discussions are common. I believe that this is the meaning here. The "additional characteristic" is "anthropogenic." I don't think there is really any difference in meaning, global warming means what it says, a general {"global") warming, regardless of cause. A temperature effect, not a theory or hypothesis or conclusion. --Abd (talk) 19:38, 15 October 2008 (UTC)
I see above that Skyemoor has interpreted "common usage" with a third meaning: "by a layperson, as distinct from experts." (I.e., when people commonly talk about "global warming" they are referring to anthropogenic global warming, in general, just as when people talk about lung cancer, they are talking about something largely caused by cigarette smoking), but I don't think that is what the EPA meant. They meant that the usage is frequent, including among scientists. Does this usage thereby become an intrinsic part of the meaning? To consider so removes a meme from the language, not a good idea if what we want is intelligent and accurate discourse. The Webster dictionary cited above is really the same: Global warming: an increase in the earth's atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution. Does this mean that if it were found that the increase wasn't due to that source, that it wouldn't be "global warming?" I don't think so. It is merely noting the common context for the usage of the word. --Abd (talk) 16:19, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
...but I don't think that is what the EPA meant. Point of order: We are concerned with what the proper terminology is, not what the intent of the EPA was, which is (currently) an unreliable source on this subject. And as Boris points out, "in common usage" is not needed when referring to how scientists define GW as due to human activity. --Skyemoor (talk) 16:45, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Skyemoor has repeated this "EPA as an unreliable source" argument over and over. While it has some merit, it is not necessarily true, as evidenced by the fact that the EPA was used as a source for this section of the article for a very long time. If nothing else, it is clear evidence of usage (in both ways). Has anyone seen any RS objection to the EPA definition? It looks to me as if it was very carefully crafted to be neutral, i.e., acceptable to all POVs except the extremes. That's, in fact, what I'd expect from a U.S. governmental agency, normally. There are, of course, exceptions, where political pressure has been heavily applied, which usually causes a firestorm, it's not like this was some secret memo. I just don't see signs of that here. Defining a term with its obvious linguistic meaning first isn't biased! They were not obligated to mention, in the definition, anthropogenesis, but they did, yet, still, this definition did not satisfy some of us. They apparently want their POV to come first, then, maybe or maybe not, what is totally neutral. That's backwards! (The EPA definition/explanation is quoted in Talk:Global_warming/Terminology_section#Terminology (version_2.29) above, and there is also discussion of it in Talk:Global_warming/Terminology_section#Comments_on_prior_Working_version. --Abd (talk) 12:57, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
The "'common usage' not needed" argument is based on a misunderstanding of the term "common usage." It means, here, "frequently," not "by nonscientists." This phrase allows us to present both definitions. We could say it differently. "In frequent usage...." See above in this section.--Abd (talk) 13:03, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
I'm suspicious of EPA literature on global warming because I've seen it slanted before, but the definition was fine and I think that it's going too far to say that they aren't a RS. Some of their literature may have a strong POV via sharpening and leveling, but I'd be surprised if they put out very much that was blatantly false. Mishlai (talk) 13:06, 18 October 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, that's what I thought. --Abd (talk) 20:47, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

(unindent)The IPCC "gold standard definition" (Skyemoor's new name for it) appears in a glossary for Working Group III. It isn't in the glossaries for the other working groups, nor for the Synthesis Report. What's different about Working Group III? Well, WGIII was charged with studying mitigation; their work assumed anthropogenesis, i.e., it's as if they were asked "If global warming is anthropogenic, what could we do about it?" So of course their glossary incorporates that assumption. That's how they were using the term! This was a special definition, not a general one. If what Working Group I or the Synthesis Report says about GW is put into the article, some of our editors -- insisting on the IPCC as the most reliable source -- will be screaming "whitewash." And that kind of behavior has to stop. --Abd (talk) 20:53, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

There is just the tiny problem that the WGIII report isn't based on a "what if" scenario, as you lay it out. But instead is tightly coupled to the conclusions already reached in the WGI report (ie. very likely, most, last part 20th century). (and i'm not just talking AR4 but also the earlier reports). And i very much doubt if anyone is going to scream anything about "whitewash", if you adhere strictly to the IPCC conclusions. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 00:09, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Both Q Science and Mishlai used the term "Gold Standard" to describe the IPCC definition before I did. You hid these posts. --Skyemoor (talk) 01:18, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Exact reporting of the IPCC conclusions has already been called a "whitewash." Yes. The WGIII report is what you say. Which is also what I say. (Your comment is internally contradictory.) WGIII uses a special definition of "global warming" which assumes what is called "very likely" by WGI, if I've got it right. The WGI comments include the language of uncertainty which is quite what has been called "whitewash," but, enough. Go ahead and doubt what has already occurred, if you like. Let's see what other editors think, as this comes to their attention. --Abd (talk) 02:15, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
No, the WGIII doesn't use a "special definition" of global warming. That seems to be original research of your own. And what you completely forget is that while its very likely that most is human caused - its virtually certain that the warming cannot be natural. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:29, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
It's obvious from the source. WGI and WGII don't even have "global warming" in the glossary, though WGI is the group that specifically examines cause. You can spout "original research" as often as you like, but you have presented nothing from the sources that shows anything different, and you have supported, with Talk and with bald reverts, text which is unsourced or which doesn't reflect what the asserted sources actually contain. So ... good luck trying to justify all this, should it become necessary. --Abd (talk) 17:57, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

Common Usage[edit]

The purpose of this section is to give clear examples of common usage.

These are some selected quotes from the 2 hour PBS/Frontline documentary "What's Up With the Weather?" (transcript)

  • There is no basis to say that more CO2 in the air is going to lead to catastrophic global warming.
  • Withering heat waves in Texas and in Florida, cities that are setting thousand-year records for high temperatures - how much more proof do we need that global warming is real?
  • when people talk about global warming, it's always in terms of, "Oh, gosh, it was hot last summer."
  • If ..., does it prove humans are causing global warming?
  • In the contentious debate about man-made global warming, ...
  • But there is no basis, no mechanism that anybody can point to or look at to say that more CO2 in the air is going to lead to catastrophic global warming

Please don't read these quotes as supporting or denying the science, but as showing that the phrase Global Warming does not include blaming people. It simple refers to an increase in temperature. Q Science (talk) 17:14, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

Cherry-picked quotes from such a limited spectrum of people shouldn't be used for anything... What exactly does Gore's (to take an example) have to do with anything? And how would a 2000 PBS special have any relevance to this topic? --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 20:22, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
"Cherry-picked" is an interesting spin - I searched the transcript for the phrase "Global Warming" and selected those quotes that showed one meaning or the other. The phrase was used in many other quotes but could be interpreted as either blaming or not blaming people. This special is relevant because it shows how several people were using the phrase at that point in time and because we are discussing terminology. In addition, since this program is re-shown every year or 2, it is still a current reference. (That info used to be online, but I can't find it today.) Based on the combined, multi-year audience size, only Al Gore's film might have more relevance to this discussion.
Al Gore's quote is important because it is the only quote in the documentary implies that people are responsible for Global Warming.
I was also hoping that other people would add quotes from other sources to demonstrate common usage. I never intended to be the only contributor or that one documentary be the only source.
Q Science (talk) 21:57, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

Definitions found[edit]

Please add, here, sourced definitions for "global warming." (Non-RS sources may be useful for our discussion, not for the article.) --Abd (talk) 17:15, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Global Warming: An overall increase in world temperatures which may be caused by additional heat being trapped by greenhouse gases.NOAA
    • defines GW as "an overall increase in world temperatures." If it's not caused by greenhouse gases (allowed in the source), it would still be called "global warming" --Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Compendium of definitions by Google:[10]
  • Global warming: an increase in the earth's atmospheric and oceanic temperatures widely predicted to occur due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution.Merriam-Webster
    • Again, the "widely predicted" is explanation or usage, not definition.--Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Global warming: An increase in the average temperature of the Earth's surface. Global warming is one of the consequences of the enhanced greenhouse effect and will cause worldwide changes to climate patterns.Australian Academy of Science
    • Very clear: global warming is an increase in temperature. The second sentence isn't definition, it's explanation.--Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Global Warming: The progressive gradual rise of the Earth's average surface temperature thought to be caused in part by increased concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere.Pew Climate
    • Quite the same. There is no variation in definition or terminology here, just some variation in usage. --Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Global warming: Global warming is a phenomenon believed to occur as a result of the build—up of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. It has been identified by many scientists as a major global environmental threat OECD
    • This isn't a definition at all, except that it's a "phenomenon," which is about as non-specific as one can get. I find it hard to think of anything that isn't a "phenomenon." --Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
    • It's sourced to another document.[11].
  • Global warming: The progressive gradual rise of the earth’s surface temperature thought to be caused by the greenhouse effect and responsible for changes in global climate patterns. See enhanced greenhouse effect, greenhouse effect, climate change. UNFCCC
    • Again, the definition of the term is the "progressive gradual rise of the earth's surface temperature." Then the glossary gives what is "thought to be" the cause. The phenomenon does not depend on the cause, if it were caused by something else (in part, for example), it's still "global warming." --Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
  • Global Warming: An increase in the near surface temperature of the Earth. Global warming has occurred in the distant past as the result of natural influences, but the term is most often used to refer to the warming predicted to occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases. IPCC Special Reports on Climate Change - Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer - COP6 (2000) Den Hague
    • Very clear, the definition is the first sentence. Then a common usage is given, that's not a different definition. It's global warming whether it happens now or then, predicted or not, anthropogenic or not. --Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

Note that there is variation: for the IPCC, climate change refers to, er, changes in climate. For the UNFCCC, they have established special usage, we've been told in the article (and I think the EPA says this): climate change is restricted to anthropogenic change, i.e., change is considered to be human activity, whereas climate variability is used for natural change. (Did I get this right? I find this problematic, how do they, then, talk about the temperature phenomenon? I really should read that source!) --Abd (talk) 23:04, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

I would say that you get the "climate change" vs. "climate variability" seems to be correct. But your interpretation above, about what is important, and what is not - isn't. A glossary description defines the meaning of a wording, as a whole. Your original research on what is important, and what can be ignored - is only interesting as rationalization for your POV. (i particularly liked your dismissal of the OECD def.) --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 23:35, 22 October 2008 (UTC)

OECD doesn't "define" global warming, they say what causes it. What is it that the greenhouse effect causes? A "phenomenon." What is that? A political movement? A phosphorescent tide? Death of jellyfishes? Or expansion of the jellyfish population? There are other phenomena caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide. Which one is global warming? Wait! It says that it is believed to be a "global environmental threat." Aha! The Bush Administration! Or is the corps of lobbyists for Big Oil? Or liberal environmental PACs? Sorry, Kim, that's not a definition of global warming. All the others include a definition except that one. Why not? Well, because the meaning of, the definition of "global warming" is obvious. It means "warming of the globe." Expand that with more precise language (what does "warming" mean? what, precisely, is warming?), you get IPCC terminology, etc. Get serious, Kim. I'm not putting this so-called "original research" in the article. It's for our study purposes. --Abd (talk) 00:19, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

As said before, even when a specific wording may have a literal meaning, it can have a specific meaning. As examples given: anti-semitism does not have its literal meaning, but instead is specific. Your assertion that the literal meaning overrides the specific - is purely your POV, and is not supported by the references or the usage of the wording. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 01:04, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
This is correct as to "literal" vs. "specific." However, normally specific usage does not override literal or general. Antisemitism is unusual, actually, due to the common equating of "semitic" with "Jewish." And I could definitely go onandon about that. The literal meaning is given in many sources, often but not always accompanied by an example. Some sources define by example. But to restrict the meaning to the example is preposterous, and it would make, as noted, tautologies out of such obscure sources as the "IPCC gold standard." Stop beating a dead horse. There is no consensus here for the claim that "global warming" means, by definition, anthropogenic global warming, and the fact that we don't object to the term "anthropogenic global warming" as a tautology, and we all know what it means, and what "non-anthropogenic global warming" means, likewise, shows that. Is the latter concept an oxymoron? --Abd (talk) 11:52, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
By the way, it's normal that the specific meaning does not override the literal or general. Context will supply what meaning is appropriate. I am not claiming what KDP asserted: the literal meaning does not, either, override the specific, when the latter is clear from context. What I see here is endless argument with the obvious, for no apparent purpose other than supporting a POV spin to the article (moot at the moment because the Terminology section has been removed). From a skeptic, this would result in a block, quickly. I'm not arguing that KDP should be blocked, only to note that there has been biased maintenance of this article with support from involved administrators. Hopefully, that's over. --Abd (talk) 12:27, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Apparently you still haven't found out what the meaning of WP:NPA is. Or why you should keep to discussing the issues, and not the editors? It is getting tiring. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 14:16, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Abd wrote; What I see here is endless argument with the obvious, for no apparent purpose other than supporting a POV spin to the article. Abd, several editors have said similar things to you. Please consider your own actions before negatively assessing those of others. --Skyemoor (talk) 16:15, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Skyemoor, I haven't seen such comment, i.e., "similar things," from any neutral editor, with regard to my behavior with the Global warming article, with which I have only very recent involvement, an involvement coming from noticing, over an extended period of time, the behavior that I've described. If I'm wrong about that behavior, fine. I assume my error will be corrected. Let me repeat: I noticed the behavior that I've described before ever becoming involved, I originally noticed it as part of an effort to neutrally examine problems with the article as part of an RfC that I stumbled upon, and then with a report on AN/I. Have you read the RfC? --Abd (talk) 17:53, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
(note this written prior to the comment from Skyemoor, above) There is a distinction between gratuitous personal attack and discussion of editor behavior that has an impact on articles. I've seen an "endless argument" comment used by you, Kim, and by some of your friends, and I didn't see objection to it, from you, or from those friends. And likewise with other comments that, should my own comments be "personal attacks," would be the same. Shall I compile a list of examples? That's a waste of time, unless it becomes necessary. Is it necessary? For starters, read Wikipedia:Requests for comment/GoRight. That RfC concluded that GoRight had acted improperly, but the general consensus was that so had other editors, with equal severity, and I think you'd be on that list. The stated reason that no sanctions were determined for the other editors is that the RfC wasn't on them. I comment here, about editor behavior, for a reason: what has been happening with the Global warming article, and with related articles, must be discussed so that it can stop. What is it going to take?--Abd (talk) 16:08, 23 October 2008 (UTC)
Please stop with the personal attacks Abd. Either take it to a private conversation, or bring it up in the appropriate channels. --Kim D. Petersen (talk) 19:38, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

The IPCC definition[edit]

The IPCC definition of global warming, found in one of the Working Group glossaries, (WGIII) has been called the "gold standard." What is it, where did it come from, and is it a "definition" or an "explanation"? An explanation will include information about the subject behind the term being explained, a definition will only state what is necessary to understand the term itself, generally, though definitions may sometimes give examples; the examples are not intended to be exclusive; really, they are part of an "explanation."

This is the IPCC "gold standard" definition, supposedly:

Global warming
Global warming refers to the gradual increase, observed or projected, in global surface temperature, as one of the consequences of radiative forcing caused by anthropogenic emissions.

Linguistically, if global warming is a consequence of "radiative forcing caused by anthropogenic emissions," that cause isn't part of the definition. It's an example or a usage. Is there other "global warming," not caused by human activity? Of course there is, because the earth has warmed before human activity was taking place on a scale that would be seriously significant. Could there presently be causes for global warming other than human activity? In theory, yes. Various phenomena that cause climate variability have not stopped operating because we've been modifying CO2 levels. Some of these cause cooling, some cause warming. So some global warming is not caused by human activity, and the IPCC report includes this in their conclusions.

Other Working Group glossaries for the 2007 report did not include this definition of "global warming." What's the difference? Well, this was the glossary for Working Group III. Their report is titled: Working Group III Report "Mitigation of Climate Change." [12]. This working group appears to assume that human activity is the cause of global warming, which is perfectly appropriate. But it leads them to define the term for their usage as referring to what would elsewhere be called anthropogenic global warming.

The other Working Group glossaries don't include the term "Global warming." Those group reports are titled:

  • Working Group I Report "The Physical Science Basis"
  • Working Group II Report "Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability"

Working Group II looks at the effects of "climate change." For their purposes, it doesn't matter what is causing the change. We would face these effects whether the cause is human activity or changes in cosmic ray flux, for example.

Working Group I is concerned with what is happening (i.e., changes in atmospheric composition, temperature, etc.) I've reported here and in Talk for the article some of what they conclude, here is some different stuff:

Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.

"Warming of the climate system" is roughly equivalent to "global warming," and the sentence works if we make the substitution. This statement is entirely independent from cause. As to cause, they state that separately:

Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.12 This is an advance since the TAR’s conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.

If we put this into the Terminology section, at this point, it's predictable how some editors will respond. Translating and substituting as would be appropriate in the Terminology section -- if it is to mention causation -- we would have:

Global warming is the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century, very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

And it will be called a "whitewash." But that's what the IPCC actually said, in the Working Group I Assessment Report.[13] They added the qualifiers "most" and "very likely." This was good scientific writing, in fact. We should take a hint.

What these editors have been insisting on, over many different versions, and with edit warring, is a bald statement like this (from the current version, which replaced a version where I had supplied the "very likely" qualifier:

global warming" refers to the recent increase in the average temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth's surface caused by emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.

That definition can be supported by the Working Group III glossary, but that Working Group, in its mission, assumed the cause was human activity, which was quite appropriate. WGIII was about "What can we do about it," and mostly this would be about changing or reversing what we've done to cause it. If we can cause it, we should be able to reverse it. But that's a restricted definition, for their purposes.

Now, I'm new to this and it would be very easy for me to overlook stuff. There are users here with much more experience on this topic than I, and some of them actually care about NPOV and consensus. Regardless, all of them can be useful, if we cooperate.

Just found one more tidbit: the Synthesis report[14] defines "very likely." It means a probability assessment of greater than 90% but less than 95% (which would be "extremely likely"). Note that the highest assessment level they name is "virtually certain," greater than 99%. At the "very likely" level an encyclopedia article should carefully maintain an avoidance of certainty. --Abd (talk) 20:29, 21 October 2008 (UTC)

References[edit]

This just makes it a little easier to read the references Q Science (talk) 07:45, 15 October 2008 (UTC)

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Climate Change: Basic Information". United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2006-12-14. Retrieved 2007-02-09.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. ^ "Climate Change 2001: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis". IPCC. 2001-05-17. Retrieved 2008-10-17.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  3. ^ "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Article I". United Nations. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  4. ^ "Summary for Policymakers" (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-02-02. See, fn 1  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  5. ^ "Summary for Policymakers" (PDF). Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 2007-02-05. Retrieved 2007-02-02.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  6. ^ "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Article I". United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  7. ^ EPA FAQ: What is the difference between climate change and global warming?
  8. ^ "United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Article I". United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  9. ^ "Frequent Questions - Science - Climate Change - U.S. EPA". U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. January 8, 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-19.