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climate change, global warming

The terms climate change and global warming are not synonymous, and neither necessarily requires a human contribution or cause.

A climate change can be a cooling as well as a warming trend, in addition to major changes in precipitation or wind patterns, among other effects. Climate changes can occur naturally, such as in the last glacial period.

Global warming represents only one aspect of climate change and can also be natural, although today the emphasis is on the human contribution. That is why many prefer this term to refer to the current human-caused shift in climate.

Be careful when using these terms.