For decades the debate has raged on regarding whether or not climate change can be attributed to human CO2 production. Those within the scientific community have spent countless hours and billions of dollars researching the way that our planets climate shifts in response to dozens of factors and are quite convinced that humans are the sole cause of this drastic shift we have seen, but many citizens are still unsure. In 2015 the Pew Research Center conducted surveys of countries from around the globe and found that nations with the highest CO2 emissions tend to be the least concerned about climate change – the United States is among those least concerned.
In addition it seems that citizens of the United States are drastically split on their opinions regarding the matter. 68% of Democrats surveyed believed climate change to be a very serious issue, while only 20% of Republicans agreed. My goal here is not to express concern or favor towards one particular party’s ability to run a country, but simply to state the facts regarding the average individuals scientific literacy and to provide reliable sources so that we, as humans, may come to a better understanding of the truth.
One of the main reasons why the United States ranks so low in this study is because our culture is dominated by media that may or may not be accurate. Countless websites and news networks don’t properly check their sources before sharing, and their audience blindly trusts them because of their popularity. For example, a study published earlier this year by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found no significant link between chocolate consumption and increased placental function. However a Boston CBS news program used this same article to say “eating 30g a day of chocolate… could improve blood flow to the placenta and benefit the growth and development of your baby”.
This continues to happen around the country for several reasons, the first being that when articles are given press releases they simply share a summary of the findings under an often misleading title. In this particular case the title given by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine was “The Benefits of Chocolate During Pregnancy”. Looking for a good story that will attract viewers, news networks often skim titles and share information that is completely inaccurate.
On top of this it seems oil companies have purposely spread false information regarding climate change. In July of 1977 senior scientist James Black of Exxon made the statement, “In the first place, there is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels”. In the 1970s and 1980s Exxon spent over one million dollars studying how CO2 was absorbed by the oceans, meaning they were very well informed on the impact of fossil fuels. Yet Exxon was one of the many companies to help form the Global Climate Coalition which questioned the scientific accuracy of man made climate change. Other companies involved include Chemical Manufacturers Association, the American Forest and Paper Association, the Edison Electric Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, Atlantic Richfield Coal Co., Bethlehem Steel, Chrysler, Dow Chemical, GM, Goodyear, Mobil, and Shell Oil.
Are you really surprised? The oil industry has been at the center of global economics for over one hundred years and has made many people very rich. If fossil fuels are destroying our entire planet then scientists may begin looking for new ways to power our world and those in the industry will lose what they have worked so hard for. That is why it is important now more than ever to do research for yourself to find what the reality of this issue is. Below you will find statements frequently made by those who deny climate change along with responses provided by the entire scientific community. I hope that you will examine the evidence logically and come to your own conclusions.
The Evidence for Man Made Climate Change
Myth #1: Volcanoes produce more CO2 than humans.
While it is true that volcanoes produce large amounts of CO2, their output is dwarfed by the CO2 produced by human use of fossil fuels.
Myth #2: Climate change has happened before. It’s just part of a natural cycle.
There is a natural cycle when it comes to changing global temperatures, but those are slow changes often taking place over millions of years. However there are other times in history, such as now, where the change is rapid. This is almost always because of a large increase in CO2 emissions.
Myth #3: The sun is causing climate change, not humans.
Actually, the evidence shows the exact opposite. The sun has been on a cooling trend over the past 35 years, yet global temperatures continue to rise.
Myth #4: Ocean acidification isn’t that big of a deal. There is no way humans could cause that much harm.
Sorry, but we can and we have. 25%-50% of CO2 emissions are absorbed into our oceans and have already killed dozens of species. 93% of the Great Barrier Reef has been bleached and if things don’t change very soon we will have killed a 25-million year old object.
Myth #5: It’s freaking cold where I live! Global warming my ass.
Local weather and global climate are two separate things. A local cold day says nothing about global temperatures increasing over all.
Myth #6: Water vapor is is a more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.
Water vapor at natural levels is not an issue, however it has become an issue because of increased CO2 levels. As CO2 increases atmospheric temperatures, more water also evaporates which only adds to the issue. This is called a positive feedback loop.
Pew Research Center, nor any other source, bears responsibility for the interpretations presented or conclusions reached based on analysis of the data.