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7 Untrue Things People Say About Climate Change

7 Things People Say About Climate Change That Aren’t At All True

The IPCC says warming is “unequivocal.” No matter what anyone else says, climate change is definitely happening.

posted on Sept. 27, 2013, at 6:01 p.m.
Kelly Oakes

1. “There’s no scientific consensus on climate change.”

Over 800 scientists were initially selected to work on the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which published its summary on Friday. The full report will cite thousands of scientific papers, and has been through many rounds of review, involving a total of 136,706 comments. And the report’s conclusion? “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

2. “Global warming has stopped.”

Nope. Global warming has accelerated, with more overall global warming in the past 15 years than the prior 15 years. For each of the last three decades the Earth’s surface has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850.

3. “The recent ‘pause’ in warming shows scientists are wrong about climate change.”

Average air temperature increase has slowed over the last 15 years. But that’s probably because 90% of overall warming goes into heating the oceans, and the oceans have been warming dramatically. That doesn’t make it OK.

4. “Sea level rise is being exaggerated.”

Rising ocean temperatures means ice sheets are melting and glaciers all over the world are shrinking. Combined with warming oceans, this is making sea levels rise. “The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia,” says the IPCC report.

5. “Humans are not to blame for rising temperatures.”

Scientists are more certain than ever that humanity is to blame for warming. From the IPCC report: “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”

6. “Being a little bit warmer wouldn’t be a bad thing, anyway.”

For one thing, not everywhere is going to get warmer. It’s likely that there will be more and longer heatwaves. But there’s also going to be more rain, and flooding, in some areas and more severe drought in others. The U.K. is likely to see warmer, wetter winters and more extreme rainfall.

7. “Climate change isn’t happening, this is just a huge conspiracy perpetrated by scientists for financial gain.”

Oh, come on.