Letter: Global warming, climate collapse and the urgency of our terms

Do you remember “global warming,” the comforting term applied to the tendency of the Earth to grow slowly warmer?

That warming is a consequence of what we call “greenhouse gases,” molecules like CO2 and methane. These molecules absorb and return some of the infrared radiation by which the Earth manages to stay cool in spite of the heating radiation from our fiery neighbor, the sun.

Then, adjusting to political pressures, “global warming” became the more neutral “climate change,” which could be either good or bad, depending on your politics and your predilections.

Now, however, as polar ice disappears and the level of the sea rises, while its acidity increases along with a host of changes in the patterns of rainfall (not to mention hurricanes), we are ready for some new terminology to help us focus accurately on our future. We’ve had “climate crisis,” which comes close, but now I am hearing “climate collapse,” which is stronger and better.

Furthermore, we can now read about “climate grief,” with its suggestion that the game is over and we are headed for extinction.

Does humanity have the time, or the will, to reverse the predictable extinction of human life of our only home, the Earth?

John Worlock

Salt Lake City