There’s a lot of talk about climate change these days, but for those who haven’t been following the issue closely, it can be hard to know what to believe. We’re bombarded with conflicting reports from different sources and often have trouble figuring out which is the most reliable.
In this post, we’ll try to clarify some of that confusion by examining four common misconceptions about global warming.
First misconception: The Earth has never experienced a sustained increase in temperature before now.
Second misconception: Global warming will continue indefinitely until we destroy our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it, so there’s no point in doing anything or trying to prevent it from happening.
Third misconception: There are natural causes behind global warming – like solar activity – that we can’t do anything about.
Fourth misconception: Global warming is a hoax created by scientists to get more grant funding.
Misconception number one: The Earth has never experienced a sustained increase in temperature before now.
The truth is that the Earth’s temperature has fluctuated over time, and there have been some periods in which it has increased more rapidly than it is now.
The most recent example of this was the so-called “Medieval Warm Period” (MWP), which occurred approximately 1,000 years ago.
During that time, temperatures were about 1.5 degrees Celsius warmer than they are today, and the North Atlantic was up to 10 degrees Celsius warmer than today.
Another example is the Eemian Period, beginning about 130,000 years ago.
During that time, temperatures were about 1 degree Celsius warmer than they are today.
There’s also evidence of other warm periods over the past 600 million years.
Misconception number two: Global warming will continue indefinitely until we destroy our planet’s ability to sustain life as we know it, so there’s no point in doing anything or trying to prevent it from happening.
The truth is that while global warming will continue for some time, the rate of warming is likely to slow over the next few decades.
In fact, a recent study by the Met Office found that by 2035, we could see a 16% drop in carbon dioxide emissions relative to 1980 levels because of our increased use of natural gas and renewables.
However, if we’re not careful about slashing greenhouse gas emissions, there definitely will be an upswing in global warming later on – and it will likely go way beyond the 2-degree Celsius increase that scientists are currently aiming to avoid.
Misconception number three: There are natural causes behind global warming – like solar activity – that we can’t do anything about.
The truth is that while solar activity does play a role in global warming, it’s not the only factor at work.
In fact, human activity is responsible for about 80% of global warming.
That’s because when we burn fossil fuels like coal and oil, we release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
These gases trap heat, causing the Earth to warm up.
Misconception number four: Global warming is a hoax created by scientists to get more grant funding.
The truth is that global warming is a very real phenomenon that’s been documented by scientists for over 150 years.
In fact, the first time the phrase “global warming” was used was in a scientific paper from 1895.
Since then, there have been countless studies showing that it exists and is caused mainly by human activity.
So, there you have it – four of the most common misconceptions about global warming. Remember, the more you know about global warming, the better you’ll be able to help prevent it from happening.