Is climate change real? Myths vs reality
You hear all sorts of things when it comes to the topic of the climate emergency and climate change facts. As a result, it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish between fact and fiction. Here are five myths about global warming and its consequences on the environment.
There is no climate emergency
❌ What evidence for climate change?
Before we look at whether climate change has begun, to get a better understanding, it is important to distinguish the weather from climate. The weather indicates what the conditions will be like at a specific time and place, varying over short periods of time. Climate, on the other hand, describes changes over longer periods and on a larger scale.
A few days of extreme cold in a specific region does not necessarily mean there is evidence for climate change. To prove it, it is necessary to observe the change in climatic conditions (heavy rains, increase in average temperature, intense droughts) regularly and significantly, over a long period and in a given region.
According to IPCC estimates, the Earth's surface temperature has already risen by around 1°C compared to the industrial era due to greenhouse gases emitted in significant quantities by human activities. Indeed, the more research is carried out, the more the evidence for man made climate change being one of the key issues we need to tackle over the next few years.
If global warming continues at this rate, there could be an increase of more than 1.5°C by 2100, causing disastrous weather events across the planet and having huge consequences for our environment. It would take about 30 years of observation to define climate change. Therefore, it is easier to observe changes in weather patterns rather than climate change.
- Climate change in Antarctica facts
- Climate in the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed by 3°C meaning that once stable ice shelves are now retreating. Since the 1950s this is a loss of 25,000 km2 of ice shelf.
- Satellite measurements since the early 1990s indicate that sea level is rising at a rate of 3mm per year.
- Emperor penguins have experienced a decline in numbers by up to 50% in places.
Source:British Antartic Survey.
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Why does the IPCC lie?
❌ The IPPC does not lie, it makes projections with varying degrees of probability.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) investigates climate change, its risks to humans and the environment, and warns policy makers to take action internationally.
Little known, the IPCC suffers from criticism from many climate sceptics who claim that global warming is not real and deny climate change facts and figures.
The IPCC does not conduct research, but rather collates existing information and makes forecasts that are often of concern for the environment. Their reports, which are published approximately every 6 years, deal with specific issues about the severity of climate change.
The conclusions in the various IPCC reports are based on an assessment of the evidence and corresponding consistency. Five levels of likelihood have been established to measure the probability of these conclusions: very low, low, medium, high and very high. The IPCC does not pretend to describe exact scenarios but tries to make educated projections.
At the time of the IPCC’s first report in 1990, technology did not allow the same level of precision as it does today, which is one of the most recurring criticisms it faces. Current reports are much more accurate than previous ones.
The climate in the UK will be the same in 10 years from now
❌ How will climate change affect us?
While there are people who deny facts about climate change and global warming, there is already evidence that climate change in the UK is already happening and it is noticeable.
Evidence for man made climate change A study carried out in 2018 and published in IOP Science claimed that the floods associated with Storm Desmond in the UK were 60% more likely due to human-induced climate change.
While the government has set a zero-carbon target for the UK by 2050, a number of reports have been published predicting significant changes in the climate and how that will affect our lives. These include:
- Temperatures: It is likely that temperatures in the UK will rise, leading to hotter and longer summers. Very cold winters will become increasingly rare.
- Rainfall: Winters will be wetter and the UK will have more annual rainfall. This will lead to increased local flooding and flash floods.
- Rising sea levels: This will have an impact on coastal erosion and impact those living in low lying areas around the coast.
- Agriculture: Climate change will lead to changes in the types of crops that can be grown in the UK.
- Wildlife: Humans will not be the only ones affected. The UK’s birds, fish and animals will also be under threat with some not being able to adapt to the environmental changes.
- Climate change in the UK: Facts
- 2020 was the third warmest UK year since 1884; with all the years in the top 10 coming since 2002.
- 2020 was also the UK’s fifth wettest year. Six of the 10 wettest years have been since 1998.
- Spring 2020 was the UK’s sunniest on record, and sunnier than most UK summers.
Source:UK State of the Climate report.
Sustainable development goals are not necessary to achieve a sustainable future
❌ The notion of sustainable development is essential to move towards a sustainable society.
Some believe that future technological advances may limit the negative impacts of climate on the environment.
However, at present, it is impossible to predict any major breakthrough influencing climate, environmental degradation, inequality, poverty, prosperity, peace or justice - the main challenges we face globally and that the 17 SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) are trying to address.
The measures established by policy makers are sufficient to limit global warming
❌ There is no such thing as too much action to fight global warming.
David Attenborough's 'Climate Change: The facts'In his 2019 documentary, considered to be a wake up call for people around the world, David Attenborough claims it is not too late to take action against climate change. He cites the example of nations taking action to stop using the chlorine-based chemicals that were depleting the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere in the 1980's.
The signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 saw 196 countries commit to limit their greenhouse gas emissions in order to avoid global warming to 2°C by 2100.
However, the application of individual measures is essential to fight against global warming. In fact, it is possible to significantly reduce one's carbon footprint by changing certain daily habits, such as:
- Reduce your consumption of meat;
- Travel in a sustainable way;
- Switch to a company that offers green energy;
- Produce your own energy;
- Offset your CO2 emissions through an environmental project, such as Selectra's Gandhi project.
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