Man-made climate change is here.
Climate change is a reality we can no longer ignore. We see the impacts in our everyday lives, from extreme superstorms, to heat waves, to massive wildfires and droughts. But climate denial, bankrolled by Dirty Energy companies and justified by pseudoscience, persists.
Reality Drop, inspired by Skeptical Science, is a library of science-based rebuttals to climate change deniers.
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Deniers say: It's not just carbon dioxide. What about volcanoes, solar variations, methane, aerosols and clouds?Science says: Ask the majority of climate scientists: Man-made carbon pollution is the cause of the global warming we’re seeing now.Scientists know our climate is changing, primarily due to carbon pollution from the burning of dirty energy like oil and coal. It's true that other factors affect our climate, including other greenhouse gases such as methane. Solar variation, volcanoes and clouds all affect the climate, too. But scientists take all these factors into account and weigh the contributions that each one makes to our climate. When they do, it's clear that man-made carbon dioxide pollution is overwhelmingly responsible for the warming we’re experiencing now.
Deniers say: Some scientists say that CO2 doesn’t even account for half of the warming we’ve seen recently.Science says: What's the biggest cause of global warming today? Man-made pollution from carbon dioxide.A 2010 study found that methane, ground-level ozone, and black carbon (i.e., soot) increase the global warming effect of carbon dioxide by 65 percent. Some people misread this as a suggestion that carbon dioxide was only responsible for 35 percent as much global warming as previously believed. What it actually says is that these short-term pollutants cause warming IN ADDITION to carbon dioxide. Nothing in the study changes the fact that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the warming we’re seeing today.
Deniers say: Methane is a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.Science says: Does methane trap heat? Yes. But carbon dioxide has caused three times more warming than methane.Even though methane is better at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, there’s a lot less of it in the atmosphere. Over the last century, carbon dioxide has caused about three times more warming than methane. And sorry, we can’t duck responsibility for methane-induced warming any more than we can for carbon dioxide-induced warming. At least half of the methane in the atmosphere comes from sources like livestock (we’re not talking wild cows, here) along with coal mines and landfills.
Deniers say: Natural gas is a ‘bridge fuel’ with relatively low carbon emissions.Science says: Natural gas is a bridge to nowhere. It undermines progress on clean energy and is dangerous for our climate.Natural gas is a dirty fossil fuel. Like coal and oil, it produces carbon pollution that disrupts our climate and greatly increases our risk of costly disasters. Nonetheless, natural gas is often touted as a temporary “bridge fuel” that will help us move away from coal and toward renewable energy like wind and solar. But here’s the thing: We don’t have to wait. The longer we delay our transition to truly clean energy, the worse off we’ll be. Natural gas is mostly made of methane, which is a greenhouse gas over 20 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. If methane leaks from natural gas extraction and distribution prove to be as high as initial studies indicate, natural gas could even be worse for our climate than coal. Moreover, the International Energy Agency found that a large natural gas boom, even with practices to reduce methane leakage, would still put us on track for an unsustainable global temperature rise of 3.5 degrees Celsius. The good news? We have viable alternatives. In 2012, the top new electricity source in the U.S. was wind power — not natural gas. To reduce carbon pollution, we need to ramp up our clean energy use without any further delay — and not get sidetracked by dirty energy like natural gas.
Deniers say: The Climate Action Plan will kill jobs and hurt the economy.Science says: The Climate Action Plan will save lives by reducing carbon pollution while creating good jobs and providing billions of dollars in annual savings to the U.S. It’s a win-win-win scenario.Implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan will reduce pollution and provide significant economic benefits to the U.S. From 2011 to 2012, the U.S. experienced 25 weather and climate disasters with damages totaling over $1 billion each, affecting the lives and livelihoods of many working families. Many such events are expected to become more frequent and intense with climate change. President Obama recognizes the social and economic threat that climate change poses, and his Climate Action Plan (CAP) is a vital step toward addressing it, transitioning the U.S. to a cleaner, more sustainable economy and away from the dirty fossil fuels that pollute our air and are the biggest contributors to climate change. His plan targets four areas where the U.S. can achieve significant reductions in emissions: new and existing power plants, energy efficiency, hydrofluorocarbons, and methane. Targeting these four areas will reduce dangerous carbon pollution and help curb climate change. And, the best part of this plan is that it will provide tremendous economic benefits. For example, a dollar invested in clean energy creates three times as many jobs as would be created by the fossil fuel industry, and workers in the clean economy earn better wages than the median American wage. This plan will create good jobs, save lives, and provide billions of dollars in annual savings to the U.S.