Climate Change is a topic that has monopolized conversations over the past decade; everyone has an opinion on climate change and what to do about it.
Some prefer to spend their time assigning blame while others prefer to take action and educate one another. Of course, this has led to an outpouring of unsubstantiated claims and information about the issue. Making it important to distill the fiction into fact.
So, what’s the truth? To help you filter the clutter, here is a guide to ten of the most pervasive myths on climate change:
Climate change is normal and natural
Science has found that over the course of the Earth’s history, temperatures have fluctuated with natural cycles of cooling and warming. In fact, it is estimated that the earth was hotter in medieval times.
However, that being said the earth is currently heating at unprecedented rates that have nothing to do with natural cycles. The recent decades, since the advent of the industrial revolution, have led to an increase in the burning of fossil fuels and the release of greenhouse gasses. Both of which have significantly contributed to accelerated heating.
This is why current climate change is not natural or normal. It is entirely man-made and is called anthropogenic climate change.
It does not exist
Naysayers love to say that climate change does not exist. Unfortunately for them, that’s false. Climate change has been proven time and time again. The earth’s temperature has been rapidly rising for the past 40 years at least. With 2016 and 2020 being some of the warmest years on record. The ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic are melting billions of tons of ice per year.
Glaciers are retreating everywhere, snow cover has decreased, sea levels are rising and forest fires are rampant. The evidence is overwhelming and obvious. Climate Change is most definitely real.
Climate change is a problem for ‘x’ countries only
There are two main camps in the politics of climate change. The first believes that climate change is a problem that only developed countries need to work on. This is because the majority of the emissions that cause climate change are released by developed, rich countries. A large group believes that it is henceforth their responsibility to alleviate the world of the problems they are causing.
The other camp believes that since climate change is most acutely felt by developing nations struggling to industrialize, the issue is their responsibility. As with most debates in politics the conflict has completely failed to provide a nuanced solution. The truth is that climate change is a global issue that requires action from all countries in whatever capacity they can provide.
Carbon Dioxide is good for plants
Probably one of the more confusing myths. Because it is what we are taught, plants absorb carbon dioxide and give out oxygen. So it makes sense to argue that more carbon dioxide is good for plants.
However, this argument fails to take into account the fact that greenery on the planet has greatly reduced in order to satisfy human consumption. Not to mention that even if we had much greenery, there would still be a threshold to how much carbon dioxide plants could absorb. Humans currently emit such a large quantity of carbon dioxide that it would be completely impossible for plants to filter it.
Clean energy is expensive
This is less of a myth and more of an excuse. Clean or renewable energy is some of the cheapest energy available. Not to mention, there is a huge variety in the type of renewable energy you can utilize. No matter where you are on the planet, there will be a renewable energy option. From geothermal to the wind to solar, renewable energy abound in diversity.
In fact fossil fuel is incredibly expensive by comparison, and it is definitely not available everywhere. Not to mention it has limited quantity.
The sun is causing climate change
The sun does not impact current climate change. While the sun does warm the planet, it has been found to have reduced the heat that it emits towards the earth. Besides, if the sun was causing climate change the heat would be found through every layer of the atmosphere. But, it has been proven that there is warming in the layers closer to the earth and cooling in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
It’s too cold for global warming
The whole planet will not face the same effects of climate change. It would be more accurate to say that the poles will face a substantial increase in temperature as compared to the equatorial regions.
But that does not discount the fact that overall, there will still be a jump in temperature. The whole earth will warm.
Not all scientists believe in climate change
This is extremely misleading. Scientists will never all agree to one thing. But, it has been found that over 97% of climate scientist agree that humans have caused recent climate change (anthropogenic climate change).
So, scientists believing in climate change, that is unequivocally a myth.
Human’s don’t have any impact on climate change
If it hasn’t become obvious already. Humans caused recent climate change. It started with the industrial revolution and the mass release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas emissions have been proven by NASA paleoclimate data to have an impact on the warming of the earth. This involves the study of ice cores drawn for Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers.
Proving irrevocably that humans are at fault.
It’s too late to do anything
Perhaps the most dangerous myth of them all. Every individual can do something. There exists a large body of research on things to do, that can help the climate. Educating yourself on the things that make a difference would be a great place to start. Besides, doing things for the climate involves making small but impactful choices and decisions as you go about your life. It is not hard and it is fulfilling.
It can involve anything from changing your diet to signing petitions for community action. As long as you do something, it adds up.