5 absurd things we (still) say about climate change

fot.Joel de Vriend/ Unsplash - Climate change - Hectic Magazine
fot.Joel de Vriend/ Unsplash

Whole fields of reaserch, numerous evidence and hours of scientific explanations still won’t persuade some of the hard-headed publicists. Extreme weather phenomena don’t inspire doubt or horror. What is frightening instead is the fact that in the 21st century, many of us still don’t believe in global warming. This despite the fact that it is no longer just a warning but a factual condition, not subject to any discussion.

The Paris Agreement was supposed to change the course of the world towards an inevitable climate catastrophe. UN member countries in the signed treaty pledged to stop the increase in the temperature of our planet within 1.5 degrees Celsius and to present a long-term plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In it, the European Union assumed to reduce them by 55% by 2050, compared to 1990. It will soon be 7 years since the signing of this agreement, and the results are disappointing. A UN report published last year shows that by 2030 global greenhouse gas emissions will increase by 16% compared to 2010.

We have a choice. Collective action or collective suicide — said António Guterres, UN Secretary General, during his speech at the Petersberg Climate Dialogue. So why don’t we want to take the former option?

Each of us has certainly encountered more than one of the numerous theories about global warming. There is nothing easier than to write stupidity in social media or just click “share”. This is why we continue to encounter the same, although scientifically debunked, myths about global warming in our society.

1. The melting of all the world’s ice will not lead to a rise in sea and ocean levels

An adherent of this theory is, among others, polish politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke. Scientists, however, are of a different opinion. Archimedes’ law proves that, indeed, the melting of floating ice would not make much difference in water levels. But melting glaciers would make one. Study by the Danish Arctic Research Institutes shows that the ice that melted from Greenland raised sea levels by 1.2 cm!

2. Volcanoes emit more carbon dioxide than humans

You have to look at the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide stocks. In the last 250 years, humans have added only one molecule of CO2 per 10,000 molecules to the atmosphere. A volcano ejects that much with one cough. — said Australian geologist Ian Plimer. His statement failed to take into account the fact that the CO2 content of the atmosphere comes mainly from human industrial activity. By comparison, the eruption of the Pinatubo volcano, (the strongest in the last 50 years) spewed 50 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air, while humans produce an average 36 billion of it a year!

3. Global warming is unrelated to extreme weather events

Violent storms, precipitation and droughts, according to climate skeptics, have nothing to do with global warming. They often cite the fact of water vapor in the air as an argument for this. Of course, water vapor is a greenhouse gas. However, they forget that it is a naturally occurring gas in the composition of the air, as well as its circulation. Only a slight increase in temperature, caused, for example, by the burning of fossil fuels, thus supplying the atmosphere with additional CO2 content, causes accelerated evaporation of water from soils, plants and water bodies, resulting in even more water in the atmosphere – the temperature rises further. The circle closes. The accumulating gases must eventually give vent to their energy, so they lead to heavy precipitation, violent storms, widespread droughts and fires.

4. Since it’s winter, global warming doesn’t exist

It is also worth looking at temperature records. Warmth records are much more common than low temperature records. The UK recorded the kelest measurements this year. And despite the fact that we hear about the winters of the century in the United States, this has nothing to do with the Earth’s temperature rise stopping. On the contrary – it probably confirms it. For the warming of the climate and the aforementioned melting of Arctic ice is leading to a change in water temperature and a disruption of the ocean current system, which is responsible for the climate of the coasts in the US.

5. Global warming is influenced by magnetic fields

One relatively new myth is the theory that global warming is influenced by changes in the magnetic field surrounding the Earth. Although it sounds interesting, this theory also has been debunked by scientists. Indeed, the globe is surrounded by a magnetic field, but it is designed, among other things, to protect us from cosmic radiation, and indeed the position of the magnetic poles is changing. However, this has been happening for millions of years. The state of current knowledge does not prove the dependence in polarization on climate change, they are of little importance compared to anthropogenic activities, because the air, except for a marginal content of iron, does not itself have magnetic properties.

There is no shortage of ideas to deny global warming. None of them are confirmed by science, and it is science we should trust. Climate catastrophe is happening before our eyes but we can still fight to mitigate its effects. However, we will succeed only if we understand that if the whole world does not change its behavior we will come to live in a world for which none of us is prepared. The earth will cope, but there may no longer be room for us on it.

Lucyna Gunia