Finally, there is a phrase that describes what we're going through as far as climate change is all about. Let's be honest, no one can oppose something called 'global warming' can they? Especially the 'warming' part, we all like to be warm and cozy and very comfy. If things began to warm up, notice the use of 'warm', not become unbearably hot and miserable you get support.
However if you decide to say it's 'global weirding', then you have a picture of something out of control, or anarchy and of the old tried and true no longer being there. It means things are getting out of control and we had better do something. The site Double Tongue describes the phrase in this manner:
n. an increase in severe or unusual environmental activity often attributed to global warming
I came across the phrase in the book "Hot, Flat and Crowded" by Thomas Friedman. In chapter with the same name, he gives the background to the phrase and what it is meaning in the present and perhaps the future. The problem again stems from too much CO2 in the atmosphere. We are at 387 ppm, some figure we can go as high as 450, which translates into a 2C change in temperature. That means there is some 'warming' but not enough to affect everything, just the people and places that really don't matter- ie the third world for example.
I should point out that one article states that Friedman is wrong to use the phrase since it gives the idea that it's almost one off. However a full study will lead one to realize that things are moving out of control, or at least there is that strong potential. It can mean hard storms when we don't expect it, or no storms when we hope for some rain or moisture of some sort. What it truly means is that:
hotter heat spells, longer and sharper droughts, more violent storms, and more intense flooding
will become the norm, thus the weird stage. The abnormal becomes sadly the normal and the end result of that is not very good for any life on the planet.
It is now half way through Copenhagen 15, the summit has been marked with bizarrely bad draft treaties, division between the haves and have nots and a protest march,which featured a lot of arrests. In other words, an almost normal summit.
The division between the developed nations and the undeveloped nations has to do with tolerance, and that comes to temperature. The developed want 2C increase, something which is completely reachable and doesn't truly affect the West much, after all, we've been pumping the stuff into the atmosphere for over 200 years, we can tolerate a bit more and get it to the upper limits, while nations such as Tuvalu are pushing for lower temperature increase:
Led by Tuvalu, negotiations at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen dramatically broke down today after developing countries split between those who favour a new protocol and others who want to continue with the legally binding Kyoto agreement.
The split appeared after several small island states and poor African states had demanded a legally binding treaty to aim at a maximum global warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius. They also wanted greenhouse gas concentrations stabilized at 350 parts per million (ppm) rather than the 450ppm favored by developed countries and some major developing nations.
The small islands states and their supporters claimed the existing agreement, the Kyoto Protocol, was not tough enough for the countries most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. They wanted a new legally-binding protocol to run alongside the existing Kyoto Protocol.
They don't have a whole lot of high ground to go to, so if the temperature goes up too high and there's massive melt at Antarctica and Greenland, they and the Maldives suddenly have some issues, such as staying dry.
So what must we do, easy, get the CO2 levels down, don't accept anything that gives a licence to keep pumping the stuff into the atmosphere and don't allow any one group to tell us we got to keep things going. We can't. It's that simple.