With the influx of information available on the Internet and all the hype in the media, it is often difficult to discern scientifically accepted facts about global warming from the distorted myths. You can help spread the truth so that we can prevent global warming. This article will provide a brief overview of the main facts and myths about the causes of global warming and the effects on humans, animals, and the earth.
Myth #1: Humans Aren’t Responsible
Fact: Worldwide, climate scientists are united in agreement that the current rise in greenhouse gases and global temperatures are directly correlated to human-related causes.
The evidence is frightfully clear about the fact that global temperatures are rising. There is no longer any real, scientific global warming debate. The vast majority of climate scientists- the people intimately studying atmospheric changes who are experts in their fields agree that global warming has increased significantly since the Industrial Revolution. It is important for you to understand that those changes correspond with increased burning of fossil fuels and other human activities.
Don’t let the hype fool you. Skeptics are often spokespeople or “scientists” hired by industries that have a stake in new emission-cutting regulations or changes in consumer buying patterns that would curb global warming.
Myth #2: A Natural Cycle
Fact: While climate change does follow a natural cycle of fluctuation in global and regional temperatures over time, we are experiencing a major increase in the rate at which climate change is occurring that does not fall within the normal boundaries of the earth’s global climate cycles.
The current change is so unnatural that scientists are sounding alarm bells. Scientists predict that the average global temperature will increase anywhere from 2.5 to 10.4 degrees F in the 21st century alone. You might think this is a small fluctuation on a regional scale, but on a global scale it is devastating. The last Ice Age was only 5-9 degrees colder than today’s temperatures.
Myth #3: There Are Positive Effects
You’ll soon see terrible disasters such as drought, flooding and famine, but these are just a handful of the harmful effects of global warming. Sadly, you will find that many of the extreme weather events will occur in areas that are already having trouble producing their own food because of resource depletion, specifically in the developing world where hunger is already prevalent. Additionally, rising sea levels are predicted to displace 13 to 88 million people each year, placing a greater strain on agricultural lands.
Destructive organisms will run rampant as a result of warming temperate zones. Warmer winters and an increased growing season will extend the range of many invasive plant and animal species, which may crowd out natives. Harmful insects that eat crops or harbor disease will have expanded geographical and seasonal ranges.
Myth #4: You Don’t Need To Worry
Fact: If we don’t make dramatic changes immediately, you can be sure that your children and their children will have to endure a world much greater pain and suffering than our own.
If the trend continues, we risk losing everything. The rate of increase and the degree of warming will exceed anything experienced since the beginning of human civilization. Soon the effects of global warming will be so overwhelming that no action on the part of of governments, industries, and individuals will be able to deal with the sheer magnitude of the problem.
Conflict will ripple across the globe as we fight over food and water. Even if developed countries are able to come up with technology to ease the effects of global warming, poorer countries will be unable to cope. Environmental refugees will flee from devastation to to the few wealthy parts of the world.
You should still have hope, because it is not too late. On global, industrial, political, and individual levels it is imperative for you to address one of the biggest environmental challenges the human species has ever seen. Don’t doubt for a minute that you can make a difference. In fact, the power you have to stop global warming is huge. Learn how.
Wang, James, PhD. and Michael Oppenheimer, PhD. “The Latest Myths and Facts on Global Warming.” Environmental Defense, 2005. [PDF]
“Myth Manners Thinks Abrupt Climate Change Would Be Rude.” Grinning Planet. June 21, 2005.
Author: Brown, Nathan. A Cooler Climate, 2008.