There are a lot of misconceptions about climate change. Which makes sense. It’s a complex issue. Here, we break down some common misconceptions and give you the straight facts.
CLIMATE CHANGE ISN'T SETTLED SCIENCE.
Virtually all climate scientists agree it is.
Over 99% of climate scientists agree on the basic facts about climate change, it’s real, it’s human-caused, it’s harming people now, but it’s solvable. Actually, the main uncertainty is us. How much sea levels rise, how bad hurricanes get, or how many people are forced to flee their homes will depend on how quickly humans stop pumping pollution into the air. One thing is absolutely certain: The longer we wait to act, the worse it will be.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS A NATURAL PHENOMENON.
It's not Earth. It's us.
The climate has changed naturally in the past, but that’s not what’s happening today. Right now, the world is warming up to 100 times faster than it has previously. That’s because humans have burned billions of tons of coal, oil and natural gas, which release carbon pollution into the air that traps the sun’s heat. That pollution can remain in the air for thousands of years, making the planet hotter and hotter. Right now, it is already comparable to a 10.5 foot thick blanket of carbon pollution surrounding the earth, dangerously warming the planet.
CLIMATE CHANGE IS WAY OFF IN THE DISTANT FUTURE.
It’s happening right now.
We’re not talking about some far off threat. Heat-trapping pollution is already harming people right here, right now. Across the country, we’re experiencing record-breaking disasters. In the west, hot, dry conditions are fueling massive fires, with smoke that blocks out the sun and poisons the air. In the southwest, historic droughts threaten our food supply. And in the south, warmer oceans are fueling stronger, deadlier hurricanes that are destroying people’s homes and lives.
IT MIGHT GET BAD, BUT AMERICA CAN HANDLE IT.
If left unchecked, climate change could break us.
The heat trapped by the thickening pollution blanket will make virtually every natural disaster more deadly and destructive. And these disasters are increasingly happening at the same time, destroying more homes and businesses, leaving many people with no way to recover. After all, there is only so much emergency relief available. Eventually, communities will get overwhelmed.
THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT.
There is still time to address it! (But not much.)
It’s not too late to prevent the worst case scenarios. But to do so, we must stop polluting, and that means moving from fossil fuels to the clean, renewable energy sources of the 21st century. As a society, we already have the technology to build a clean economy that creates millions of jobs and a stable world. But we must act now. As mothers and citizens, the most important thing we can do is demand that our leaders act to stop global warming and create a safe, clean, prosperous world for our kids.
To learn more about how our changing climate will affect us and our children, watch “Global Weirding” by one of our very own Science Moms, Katharine Hayhoe.