From the Center for Climate Change communication:
"...Global warming and climate change are used differently and mean different things in the minds of many Americans. Scientists often prefer the term climate change for technical reasons, but should be aware that the two terms generate different interpretations among the general public and specific subgroups. [...]
It is important to note, however, that connotative meanings are dynamic and change, sometimes rapidly. It is possible that with repeated use, climate change will come to acquire similar connotative meanings as global warming, that the two will eventually become synonymous for most people, or that climate change will supplant global warming as the dominant term in public discourse. In the meantime, however, the results of these studies strongly suggest that the two terms continue to mean different things to many Americans."
Which do you prefer to use, global warming or climate change? To me, climate change seems to better encompass phenomena like ocean acidification, which is not temperature-dependent, as well as the secondary processes that result from warming, like decreased photorespiration in plants. There's a time and a place for both climate change and global warming, and it never hurts to ask what each term means to your audience.
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