Climate change and global warming have been used in mass media interchangeably for some time. These two terms however refer to different but related phenomenon. Global warming is "the increase in Earth’s average surface temperature due to rising levels of greenhouse gases," while climate change is "a long-term change in the Earth’s climate, or of a region on Earth." Or put it simply, "global warming is one symptom of the much larger problem of human-caused climate change."
The differences between these two terms do not only reflect in their definitions but also manifest in public reactions when hearing these two terms. For instance, global warming are more likely to generate negative feelings, compared to climate change. Meanwhile, survey data suggests that these two terms have both been politicized, making the strategy to increase using climate change in the public discourse less effective in closing the political division than many scientists hope it to be.
Are these two labels different or similar to the American public? A new study finds that Republicans are more likely to believe in the existence of climate change (74.4%) than global warming (65.5%), whereas Democrats are equally inclined to accept the existence of both (94%). In other words, the difference of these two labels still matters among some Republicans.
The silver lining, though, is that a majority of Republicans believe in the existence, whether it's global warming or climate change.