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Climate change

(Cambio climático)

Imagen partida en dos. En una mitad, está el esqueleto de un pez en la tierra seca y agrietada. En la otra mitad, el pez nada en el agua.

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), ‘Climate change refers to a change in the state of the climate that can be identified (e.g., by using statistical tests) by changes in the mean and/or the variability of its properties and that persists for an extended period, typically decades or longer’ (IPCC, 2018). For the IPCC, this may take place due to natural internal processes or external forces, including human activity.

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines climate change as ‘a change in climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable periods of time’ (UNFCCC, 1992). In other words, the UNFCCC differentiates natural climate variability and climate change which has an antropogenic origin.

Other sectors use terms such as climate crisis or climate emergency. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to keep in mind that they are not necessarily synonyms. Instead, they have different connotations and their employment depends on the user and the intention of the message.

According to the consultations conducted in the development of this reflectary in Spanish, some media do not use the term climate change as often because it does not sufficiently engage the audience, nor does it transmit the seriousness of the situation and the urgency of the problem. As a result, climate crisis or climate emergency are used more often.

In terms of consulted civil society organizations, climate change is employed to a lesser extent and always stressing its anthropogenic origin. Instead, this sector prefers the use of climate crisis or climate emergency as a strategy to approach the audience to create further impact and convey concern for the ongoing phenomenon that is foreseen to have devastating consequences in the future.


Tesauro de medio ambiente de la UE

IPCC, 2018: Anexo I: Glosario [Matthews J.B.R. (ed.)]. En: Calentamiento global de 1,5 °C, Informe especial del IPCC sobre los impactos del calentamiento global de 1,5 oC con respecto a los niveles preindustriales y las trayectorias correspondientes que deberían seguir las emisiones mundiales de gases de efecto invernadero, en el contexto del reforzamiento de la respuesta mundial a la amenaza del cambio climático, el desarrollo sostenible y los esfuerzos por erradicar la pobreza [Masson-Delmotte V., P. Zhai, H.-O. Pörtner, D. Roberts, J. Skea, P.R. Shukla, A. Pirani, W. Moufouma-Okia, C. Péan, R. Pidcock, S. Connors, J.B.R. Matthews, Y. Chen, X. Zhou, M.I. Gomis, E. Lonnoy, T. Maycock, M. Tignor y T. Water eld (eds.)].

Glosario IPCC

Cambio climático | Naciones Unidas – the United › sections › issues-depth › climate-change Los efectos del cambio climático – Climate Change: Vital … › efectos

Plan Clima Paris Metodología para valorar los costes de los impactos del cambio climático

Guía para la puesta en marcha de estrategias locales de lucha contra el cambio climático

Encuesta y grupos focales consultados para la elaboración de este reflexionario

Photo credit Piyaset

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