This is the new Reality Drop. No games, just truths.

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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Showing 11 myths:

  • #55: It's too late

    Deniers say: Even if we stopped burning coal and oil today, the world would continue to warm. It’s too late to do anything about it. Why bother?
    Science says: Climate change is already happening today. How much the climate warms in the future is up to us.
    We’re already feeling the effects of climate change. But that’s precisely why we need to both prepare for the climate change impacts we can’t avoid, and act quickly to curb the carbon pollution that’s causing the problem in the first place. It’s not an “either-or” decision — we need to do both. The longer we wait to make the transition to clean energy, the worse this problem will get for our children and future generations. It’s our choice.
  • #100: Carbon limits will harm the economy

    Deniers say: Cutting carbon emissions will cut growth, cut the GDP and destroy our modern civilization.
    Science says: The worst thing we can do for our economy is sit back and do nothing about climate change.
    If we don't do anything about climate change, we will have serious economic problems on our hands. By one estimate, each ton of carbon pollution we put in the air costs society at least $85. Humans put about 35 billion tons of carbon pollution into the atmosphere every year! Here's the good news: A shift to a low-carbon economy could add $2.5 trillion to the world economy annually. That's why we need to stop changing the climate with carbon pollution from fossil fuels like oil and gas. Storms, droughts, sea level rise and the other impacts of climate change are terrible prospects for human beings and will put a heavy burden on the world economy.
  • #101: Carbon limits will hurt the poor

    Deniers say: Life under the climate change agenda will be even worse for people living in poverty.
    Science says: Poor people are the ones who will suffer the most if we don't do something about climate change.
    Contrary to what climate deniers would have you believe, it is the poor who will suffer the most if we don't do anything about climate change. Whether in the U.S. or elsewhere in the world, low-income people are often most vulnerable to extreme weather disasters linked to our warming climate. They’re the ones hurt the most when climate change reduces food and water supplies. They have the least access to the care they need when climate change threatens their health. Fortunately, clean energy is often a path out of poverty, as can already be seen in many parts of the world. For example, in Bangladesh today, over one million homes have solar panels. In many cases, a single solar power system is enough to keep a family fed, keep their businesses open longer, and help their children study after the sun goes down. Fighting climate change by reducing carbon pollution is a win-win for all of us.
  • #102: Renewable energy kills jobs

    Deniers say: Switching to renewable energy would be dangerous to the economy.
    Science says: Clean energy is one of the world's fastest growing industries, and it employs millions of people in America alone.
    The best way to create jobs and grow the economy is to invest in clean, renewable energy like wind, solar and geothermal power. Clean energy is one of the world's fastest growing industries. Global investment in clean energy climbed to $260 billion worldwide in 2011, a record high. That’s a 5% climb compared to 2009 and five times the investment made in 2004. And 2010 was the first time that investment in renewable energy surpassed investment in fossil fuels. According to one estimate, global clean energy investment will grow by another $140 billion by 2021.

    All this investment creates jobs. Just look at the solar industry in the U.S., where jobs more than doubled from 2009 to 2011. According to one comprehensive study, the green energy economy (which includes clean energy) employs 3.1 million Americans today. Clean energy investment is a smart jobs plan. Pollution isn’t.
  • #103: Renewable energy isn't reliable

    Deniers say: The wind stops blowing, the sun is covered by clouds, and the only backup for that unreliability is good old oil and coal.
    Science says: All day and all night, rain or shine, renewable energy is a reliable way to keep the lights on in the 21st century.
    Clean, renewable energy is turning out to be just as reliable as dirty fossil fuels — with the added benefit that it doesn't pollute the air or warm our climate. The right combination of a more flexible power grid and appropriate sources of clean energy can provide around-the-clock power — even when the sun isn’t shining or the wind isn’t blowing. In fact, by adding more clean energy, we’re making the entire grid more dependable. Which is a good thing, because every power plant is vulnerable to disruption. Take the coal-fired power plants in Nebraska, for instance, that were temporarily shut down in 2011 by flooding. One way engineers and scientists are working to improve the reliability of clean energy is through battery storage, which saves electricity when demand is low (or production is high) and releases it when demand is high (or production is low).

    Clean energy technology will also get better as consumer demand increases. That trend is already underway: Clean energy is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, accounting for more than half of all new electric power added in 2009 and 2010.
  • #104: Renewable energy is too expensive

    Deniers say: Renewable energy is a nice idea, but it just isn’t economically viable.
    Science says: The wind and the sun are free, and they also don't ruin the climate.
    The claim that renewable energy is too expensive is out-of-date propaganda. The price of clean, renewable energy is plummeting. In some parts of the U.S., it's now almost as cheap to buy solar as it is to buy electricity from coal or gas. New estimates suggest wind power now costs customers about the same as natural gas in some areas and is even a little cheaper than coal. So it's no surprise that clean energy is one of the world's fastest growing industries, and already makes up 20% of the world's energy supply. Best of all? When you use clean energy, you don't have to pay for the millions of kids with asthma as a result of air pollution from coal. You don't have to pay Middle Eastern dictators to hand over their oil supplies. And you don't have to pay for the devastating financial and human impacts of climate change.
  • #105: It's too hard to shift to clean energy

    Deniers say: Shifting over to clean energy would require changing our way of life and shutting down our economy, and wouldn’t even solve the problem.
    Science says: Is it too hard to go to the moon, eradicate smallpox or end apartheid? Is it too hard to build a computer that fits in your pocket? No? Then it's not too hard to build a clean energy future, either.
    When was the last time we used “it’s too hard” as an excuse? Is that what they said in the U.S. when President Kennedy wanted to go to the moon? Is that what they said before the Iron Curtain fell in Eastern Europe? Or before smallpox was eradicated from the face of the earth? No. In just the same way, we’re already seeing that shifting to clean energy is a whole lot easier than we thought. Clean energy accounted for more than half of all new electric power added in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, China boosted its clean energy generation to 226 Megawatts four times the annual electricity use of the United Kingdom. Global investment in clean energy climbed to record highs in 2011, topping out at $260 billion worldwide. That’s a 5 percent climb compared to 2009 and five times the investment made in 2004. The transition to clean energy won’t happen overnight, but it will happen sooner than we think.
  • #106: Tar sands oil is just oil

    Deniers say: Tar sands oil that will be carried by the Keystone XL pipeline is no worse than any other oil.
    Science says: Barrel for barrel, tar sands oil is even worse for the climate than conventional oil.
    Oil is a dirty fossil fuel, and it’s one of the leading causes of the carbon pollution that’s warming our planet. But some forms of oil are even worse than others. Overwhelmingly, experts agree that oil mined from tar sands in Alberta, Canada is far worse for the climate than most of the oil currently produced and sold in the United States, because of the added pollution from extracting, refining, and delivering it. Here’s why: Tar sands oil requires more effort to extract and transport; it needs more chemical processing to meet U.S. fuel standards; and open-pit mining is extremely destructive to soils and forests that naturally remove carbon from the air. Our urgent priority should be to stop using dirty energy like oil, and move toward clean, renewable energy sources. But we should especially avoid using more tar sands oil that would be transported through projects like the Keystone XL pipeline.
  • #107: Natural gas is a bridge fuel

    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.
  • #108: Clean coal is the answer

    Deniers say: Why invest in wind and solar when we have clean coal?
    Science says: Don’t be fooled by the promise of “clean” coal. “Clean coal” is the industry’s tooth fairy. There’s no such thing. Wind and solar on the other hand, are real clean energy technologies that are viable today.
    In reality, there’s no such thing as "clean coal” — it’s a false solution. Coal is a dirty fuel — from start to finish. During the coal mining process mountaintops are blasted away and toxic slurry ponds left behind. Burning coal results in pollutants that are harmful to human health, like mercury and smog. As if this weren't enough, worldwide, more carbon pollution comes from the burning of coal than any other fuel. A limited number of coal plant operators are now experimenting with capturing the carbon pollution their plants produce and storing it underground. But the present cost of this technology — known as Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) — is extremely high and safe storage areas are limited. While CCS may play a limited role in a low-carbon future, it shouldn’t be mistaken for a quick fix to the climate crisis. To make meaningful progress in curbing climate change we need to invest in real clean energy sources, like wind and solar, which are more economically viable and better for our climate and health, too. That’s the bit Big Coal won’t advertise.
  • #109: President Obama’s Climate Action Plan is bad for the economy

    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.