When you hear the word “climate,” what’s the first word that you think of?
Hot… or cold?
Well according to Twitter, it’s “scam” – if you type “climate” into the platform’s search bar, the first hashtag that comes up is #ClimateScam.
This is concerning, considering that over 300 million people use Twitter every month, and even more so when you realise that some of the most prolific climate denial accounts have amassed followings of hundreds of thousands.
Climate denial and disinformation are on the rise, and in some cases are getting scarily more convincing by the day, especially when prominent figures of society appear to validate their claims with distorted scientific figures and graphs.
A cult of climate fascism has declared war on human society, with an agenda of lies, stealth & greed. Its enemy is carbon dioxide, which sustains all life, makes agriculture possible & gives us the air we breath. Climate & weather come from the sun, moon & deep ocean currents. pic.twitter.com/6m1x4LpYqF
— Peter Clack (@PeterDClack) November 23, 2022
We can therefore all be forgiven for misinterpreting things we read online, and it’s understandable if you feel exhausted by the ubiquity of depressing climate headlines, initiatives and warnings around every corner of daily life.
But don’t let the noise get to you, because the bottom line still remains the same: Our climate is changing, and the problems this phenomenon poses for our planet are not going away – they’re going to get worse unless we change.
So, in order to help cut through the climate clutter, we’ve compiled a brief summary of clarifications for some common climate change misconceptions, so that instead of being lost in the online abyss of opinion, we can all start the year with some scientific clarity.
1. Climate change is part of Earth’s natural cycles – it has happened before, it’s not our fault, and we can’t do anything to stop it
Yes, it’s true that in the 4.5 billion years of Earth’s existence, the climate has changed a lot, and over the many millennia there have been several other mass extinction events triggered by warming, mostly due to orbital changes that alter our planet’s proximity to the sun.
But this time it is different, because none such events have ever involved the same pace of planetary warming that we are seeing today, temperatures are now rising 10 times faster than ever before, and when paired with the extreme increase in levels of CO2 in our atmosphere, the human-induced greenhouse effect these gasses exact on our planet is an established fact.
And this is a fact of the utmost importance that governs everything we do (or don’t do): This particular climate change is the direct result of human action, and it’s the first time in the history of this planet that this has happened.
2. There are too many humans on the planet – we need to stop procreating
There are now over eight billion people on the planet, and the topic of overpopulation is debated amongst even the most revered climate advocates within our global society.
However, besides the recent reports of global sperm counts halving, reproductive rates declining, and the threat of aging populations growing, it still remains true that the parts of the world driving climate change the most, are more often than not also the nations with the lowest birth rates.
The impact of human activity on the planet is without question, as is the fact that more humans will of course increase the size of this impact, but stopping procreating is still not the answer, and for pro-life and religious people, it certainly is not. The smarter answer to reducing our impact, and one that will get everybody to agree, is behaviour change.
3. ESG is a scam
There has been a lot of confusion and misconceptions about ESG – environmental, social, governance – investment strategies this year, with many labelling sustainable banking policies backed by finance giants such as BlackRock, as greenwashed gimmicks that are really only weapons of “woke capitalism” disguised as social justice.
But like anything that becomes popular in a short period of time; where there’s demand there will be scams, but that doesn’t degrade the universal benefit of the real deal. You just have to be selective with who you trust your money with.
You wouldn’t walk into Gucci on Bond Street and scream “HOAX!” at the handbags, just because you can find cheaper fakes 50-a-piece elsewhere, would you?
4. The recent extreme cold weather proves climate change is a lie
How is it possible that on a warming planet, we are seeing an increase in the severity and frequency of extreme cold weather like the deep freeze seen across Northern Europe and America recently?
The answer is what’s happening in the Arctic.
Global warming is melting the ice sheets in the Arctic, causing warmer pockets of air to build up in the region which in turn disrupts the polar winds that keep the cold air inside the Arctic Circle. As a result, this air gets forced further south, bringing polar conditions with it.
Ergo, intensifying global warming means more melting and destabilisation of the polar air masses, and therefore more cold weather in previously unseen territory.
5. Renewable energy sources are unreliable, and cannot meet the power demands of global society – they’re just a money-making scheme
Solar rays provide one of the most abundant sources of energy on the planet; the power provided by the total solar energy hitting our planet in only one hour is more than enough to meet the entire planet’s energy needs for a whole year.
It’s true that we need to be able to harness this energy to be able to utilise it, but recent reports show that with the current trajectory of development and instalment of renewable technologies, we will be more than capable of meeting the world’s energy demands without the need for fossil fuels.
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What’s more, on May 8 this year, the entire state of California – population of nearly 40 million, and over 160,000 square miles in size – was powered exclusively by renewable energy sources, and 2022 marked a record year for solar energy installations in Europe, up by almost 50%.
6. Solar power only works when the sun is shining, so it’s no use in cloudy countries
Of course, solar panels work better in direct sunlight, and shade can cause problems, but they still generate energy from indirect sunlight or through cloud cover. Just because it’s cloudy, doesn’t mean there are no solar rays to be captured, it’s still daytime after all.
Besides, the energy captured on very sunny days (which can of course be few and far between in some countries) can be stored for later use within the panels’ solar battery.
There are even some new technologies being developed to create solar panels that work at night!
7. There’s no hope of overcoming climate change, it has already gone too far
There is a significant doomsday narrative that overshadows climate conversations at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that hope is lost.
Although there are some inevitable impacts of global warming that, at this stage, are already in motion, but there is still a lot of space to change course.
Every year, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) release an updated report on the climate crisis, as well as the best roadmap to resolve it. This year they reported that although “major transitions” will be required immediately within all sectors, and that the “next few years are critical” in deeply reducing emissions, we could still halve emissions by 2030 and limit warming to 1.5°C.
Like the Chairman of the IPCC said at the 2022 report release press conference, “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future… it’s now or never.”
8. A few degrees warmer won’t make any difference
On the current trajectory of warming, if we make no changes, according to the latest IPCC report, the global average temperature is expected to rise by more than 3°C by 2100, in comparison to pre-industrial levels.
This doesn’t sound like a lot, but even tiny fluctuations in global temperature can trigger catastrophic events such as mass extinction, prolonged extreme weather, or earth’s vital elements such as the rainforests, ice sheets and coral reefs, reaching critical climate tipping points and spiraling into self-perpetuating cascades of deterioration.
The scale of destruction is entirely determined by how much we can curb our unsustainable lives, stop burning fossil fuels, and start relying on renewable energy sources to keep global warming to no more than 1.5°C.
9. It’s all China’s fault
China does produce more CO2 emissions annually than any other nation on the planet, but they also have the largest population, and are the second largest country by land mass.
If you reframe emissions analysis, and look at the CO2 produced in each country per capita, it’s actually a completely different story.
The biggest emitters are in the middle east, and China moves much further down the list, even below much of Europe, the US and Canada.
China has also invested tremendously in renewable technologies such as solar, and has shown commitment to expediting the rollout of national renewable infrastructure, now pledging to generate a third of its electricity demand from renewable sources by 2025.
Let’s hope China actually keeps its pledge, because as of now, it still relies excessively on coal for production electricity: Over 50%, putting it at the top of the list worldwide.
10. Climate lockdowns are coming
You may have seen some scaremongering going on on social media as of late, claiming that some cities have passed legislation to trial “climate lockdowns” in 2024, whereby residents will be “trapped” in one of six zones, confined by electronic gates that block entry or exit “on key roads in and out of the city,” all in an effort to help lower emissions.
Oxfordshire County Council yesterday approved plans to lock residents into one of six zones to ‘save the planet’ from global warming. Under the new scheme if residents want to leave their zone they will need permission from the Council who gets to decide who is worthy of freedom
— Sophie Corcoran (@sophielouisecc) December 4, 2022
This is a classic example of climate propaganda, fake news, gross misrepresentation – whatever label you want to use – it’s quite simply just not true.
What is true, is that someone completely twisted the news that Oxford in the UK will be trialing a new initiative to charge private vehicles to drive around the city between 7AM and 7PM – much like the congestion charge zones that have been successfully working in London for nearly two decades, without infringing on any kind of civil liberty. Go figure.
11. Climate activism is just for the hippies, hipsters, tree-huggers and scientists
Well neither of them are scientists or hipsters either, but they are both vocal climate activists.
There are also many other prominent figures of popular culture, society and everyday life who are neither far-left nor loopy, that are raising their voices in the name of the climate.
It’s true that we’ve seen an explosion in extreme protests this year, with anything from artwork to airport runways being targeted. And it’s also fair to say that more effort should perhaps be made to reach a less destructive middle-ground so that cultural heritage and societal infrastructure can be protected.
But if planning for your ambitious future is a priority of yours, then so should campaigning for climate action – because there won’t be a bright one without it.
To those sitting in their armchairs criticizing climate activists, if you can do better, show us. I'm being completely serious. We desperately need you to pitch in and demonstrate how to do it. Bring your brilliant ideas out into the world before we all lose it
— Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) October 16, 2022
In conclusion; warnings on global warming are not over dramatic. The phenomenon is certainly not driven by solar flares. Earth may technically be in an ice age, but that doesn’t mean the planet’s cooling. Climate models are reliable, and scientists are not just making the data points up. And finally, climate change is of course a problem for the future, but it’s also a problem – and a reality – for right now.
What we do today sets the stage for tomorrow, the question is: What kind of future do you want?
Hope that clears things up!
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by the authors are their own, not those of Impakter.com — In the Featured Photo: Glasses. Featured Photo Credit: Bud Helisson/Unsplash