'“Global heating” is a more accurate term than “global warming” to describe the changes taking place to the world’s climate, according to a key scientist at the UK Met Office.
Prof Richard Betts, who leads the climate research arm of Britain’s meteorological monitoring organisation, made the comments amid growing evidence that rising temperatures have passed the comfort zone and are now bringing increased threats to humanity.
“Global heating is technically more correct because we are talking about changes in the energy balance of the planet,” the scientist said at the UN climate summit in Katowice, Poland. “We should be talking about risk rather than uncertainty.”
Earlier this month, the Met Office produced a new report that showed the searing heatwave that hit the UK this summer – along with other parts of the northern hemisphere – was made 30 times more likely by human-caused climate change.
Betts said the shifting climate was pushing some natural processes – such as the blossoming of trees and laying of eggs – out of sync. “That’s already happening. We are also seeing higher temperatures of heatwaves. The kind of thing we saw this year will happen more often.
“The risks are compounding all the time. It stands to reason that the sooner we can take action, the quicker we can rein them in.”
His views were echoed by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, a professor of theoretical physics and founder of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He said his recent Hothouse Earth report , which was one of the most widely quoted and downloaded studies of this year, had helped to change the language used to describe the climate crisis.
“Global warming doesn’t capture the scale of destruction. Speaking of hothouse Earth is legitimate,” he said.'
Read more: Global warming should be called global heating, says key scientist
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