Hopeless! UK – Policy paper defines “climate change”, without saying what “climate” is!

A UK Policy paper (2012/2015),: “2010 to 2015 government policy: climate change international action”,  assert in Annex 5 to provide a definition on “climate change” (Link and full text below), but instead speak about statistics related to components of the atmosphere, oceans, cryosphere, and land surface. Actually they say: “Climate is a statistical characteristic“. Such an explanation is meaningless, at least superficial and thoughtlessly. One cannot change something without saying what this something is. This is the first fault, because a statistic is a statistic, and informative only for one individual item of investigation.

Maybe the UK Policy paper refers unsaid to the widely used saying (including the International Meteorological Organization  – IMO) that “climate is average weather”. Although this layman expression is for scientific research and thruthworthy communication hopelessly out of place, the UK Policy paper demonstrates that it does not care at all, respectively that they have little understanding of the issue, when they include into “climate change” also:

  • statistical characteristics of the oceans (such as heat content or sea level rise),
  • statistical characteristics of the cryosphere (such as extent of sea ice or length of glaciers) or
  • statistical characteristics of the land surface (such as changes in vegetation type)

Such an all-embracing definition explains noting, and may only serve to lie in the own pocket, or misguide the general public. A clear and meaningful language is a minimum science and politics should use.

Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-climate-change-international-action/2010-to-2015-government-policy-climate-change-international-action

UK Policy paper (2012/2015) (Annex 5):
A formal definition of climate change is:

“A change in the statistical characteristics of the atmosphere (such as temperature, rainfall, pressure, or winds), oceans (such as heat content or sea level rise), cryosphere (such as extent of sea ice or length of glaciers) or land surface (such as changes in vegetation type) typically sustained over several decades or longer. A change in climate may be due to natural or anthropogenic (i.e. due to human activity) factors, or a combination of both.”

Human-induced climate change is the current, past and future change in climate being driven by greenhouse gas emissions and other human activities, such as deforestation.

When Government talks about “climate change policy”, or action to “tackle climate change”, we are talking about climate change mitigation and adaptation. Adaptation is taking steps to minimise exposure to damaging impacts of climate change, and to build resilience and reduce vulnerability to a changing climate. Mitigation is taking steps to minimise the scale of global temperature rise by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and taking other steps, such as planting more forests.” UNQUOTE


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  • LeeLarvey  says:

    It matters says Prof. Roger Pielke Sr. who discussed this question on his blog “Climate Science” already in 2005:
    “What is Climate Change? The different definitions of climate, have done much to confuse policymakers in the discussion of climate science “;
    https://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2005/07/ ;
    and again 2008: “What is Climate? Why Does it Matter How We Define Climate?, concluding
    „…it matters how we define climate and climate forcing”:

  • hunor duca  says:

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    “Climatology is the study of weather patterns of a place or region, or the change of weather patterns over time.
    Climate science is the study of one component piece of climatology.”

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