What’s the deal with “so-called climate change”?

In a Dec. 17 editorial, the Register-Guard wrote that “Editorially, The Register-Guard accepts the strong evidence for human-caused climate change.”

This leaves us wondering what’s up with the R-G‘s story today (see full story here) on Kitty Piercy’s State of the City address, where the following gem was found:

“But Piercy devoted much of her 20-minute speech to the city’s progress at meeting voluntary goals to reduce carbon emissions that many believe are responsible for so-called climate change.”

Maybe the R-G isn’t familiar with scientific consensus, with 97 percent of climate scientists agreeing that climate change is happening and is very likely caused by human activities (see NASA), but climate change is a pretty well-substantiated phenomenon, backed by scientists all over the world. Using undermining language like “many believe” and “so-called” is like saying “so-called gravity” or “so-called germ theory.”

Statements like this are dismissive of the fact that the global average temperature has seen a 1.4 degree F spike over the past century (see here), or that absolute sea level has increased about 0.07 inches per year from 1880 to 2011, while from 1993 to 2011, it rose about 0.12 inches per year, doubling the rate of the long-term trend (see here).

There is a vast sea of evidence for climate change, and not just the trend itself, but that it is human-caused. It’s irresponsible and misleading to use words of skepticism when describing an observable event. We expect better from newspapers that serve an environmentally-conscious community. What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.