Global Warming: What's Wrong with Four Arguments for Denying Man-Made Global Warming

As world leaders gathered at the COP26 summit in Glasglow, Scotland to debate how to tackle climate change, misleading statements and climate falsehoods have increased on social media.

The BBC has analyzed some of the allegations that have gone viral over the past year and what they can tell us now about the denial of climate change.

Claim 1: The Sun Will Cool, Stopping Global Warming

People have long incorrectly claimed that the temperature changes in the last century are just part of the Earth’s natural cycle, not the result of human behavior.

In recent months, we have seen a new version of this argument.

Thousands of posts on social media, reaching hundreds of thousands of people last year, claim that a “Large Solar Minimum” will lead to a natural drop in temperatures, without human intervention.

But that’s not what the evidence shows. stram.

A large solar minimum is a real phenomenon when the Sun emits less energy as part of its natural cycle.

Studies suggest that the Sun it may well go through a weaker phase sometime this century, but that would lead, at most, to a temporary cooling of 0.1 – 0.2 °C of our planet.

This doesn’t even come close to offsetting human activity, which has already warmed the planet by about 1.2 °C in the last 26 years and will continue to increase, possibly reaching 2 .4 °C at the end of the century.

We know that recent temperature increases were not caused by changes in the Sun’s natural cycle because the layer of atmosphere closest to Earth is decaying. warming, while the layer closest to the Sun —the stratosphere— is cooling.

The heat that would normally be released into the stratosphere is being trapped by greenhouse gases such as released carbon dioxide by burning fuel.

If temperature changes on Earth were caused by the Sun, we would expect the entire atmosphere to warm (or cool) at the same time.

Claim 2: global warming it’s good

Several posts circulating on social networks claim that global warming will make parts of the Earth more habitable ​​and that cold kills more people than heat.

These arguments often select favorable facts, ignoring anyone who contradicts them.

For example, it is true that some inhospitable and cold parts of the world can become more easy to live for some time.

But in these same places, warming can also lead to extreme rainfall, affecting living conditions and growing capacity.

At the same time, other parts of the world would become uninhabitable as a result of the rise in temperature and the rise in sea level, such as the heavenly Maldives Islands.

We may come to you r fewer cold-related deaths. But according to a study published in the scientific journal Lancet, between 200 and 200, more people died from the cold than from the heat.

However, an increase in heat-related deaths should offset all the lives saved.

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says, in general, “climate-related health risks livelihoods…should increase with 1.5 degree global warming”.

It is expected that any small local benefits of fewer cold days will be offset by the risks of more frequent periods extreme heat.

Claim 3: climate change actions will make people poorer

A common claim made by those who care. What are opposed to efforts to combat climate change is that fossil fuels have been essential to driving economic growth.

So limiting their use, the argument goes, will inevitably slow that growth and increase the cost of living, hurting the poorest.

But this is not the full picture.

Fossil fuels boosted vehicles, factories and technology, enabling for humans in the last century to do things on a scale and speed that were previously impossible. This has allowed many people to produce, sell and buy more things.and get richer.

But stopping using charcoal does not mean returning to the days of ox-drawn carts and crank machines—now we have other technologies that can do a similar job.

In many places, renewable electricity —powered by wind or solar power, for example— is now cheaper than electricity powered by coal, oil or gas.

On the other hand, studies predict that if we do not act on climate change by 2050, the global economy could shrink 18% because of damage caused by natural disasters and extreme temperatures to buildings, lives, businesses and food supplies.

This damage would hit the world’s poorest hardest.

Claim 4: renewable energy is dangerously unreliable

Misleading posts claiming that renewable energy failures led to blackouts went viral earlier this year , when a massive network failure left millions of Texans in the dark and cold.

These posts, which were taken up by several conservative media outlets in the United States, wrongly attributed the blackout to wind turbines.

“Blackouts are an artifact of the mismanagement of electricity generation and distribution,” said John Gluyas, executive director of the Durham Energy Institute in the United States.

He says the claim that renewable energy causes blackouts is “absurd… Venezuela has a lot of oil and frequent blackouts”.

According to Jennie King of ISD Global think tank, this discrediting of renewable energy ​​is a “key line of attack for those who wish to preserve dependence on and subsidies from oil and gas”.

The critics of renewable energy schemes also claim that the technology kills birds and bats, ignoring studies that estimate that fossil-fuel-powered plants kill more. many more animals.

There is no doubt that some wild animals, including birds, are killed by wind turbines.

But according to the Institute of Climate Change and Environment Research, University London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), London, UK: “The wildlife benefits of climate change mitigation are considered by conservation NGOs… for offset the risks, as long as the correct planning safeguards are in place, including careful site selection.”

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