With record highs and lows, intense forest fires ravaging Australia and California, and killer hurricanes wreaking havoc, it’s clear something is going on with the Earth’s environment. And each summer seems to break the last year’s temperature records. Some say it’s true, and some call “fake news” when talking about climate change.
After all, warming and cooling of the Earth has happened before, so what makes people think human activities are the cause of the warming trend now? With all this conflicting information, how do you know what to believe? Take the poll below and read on to learn more about what the science says about climate change.
Some Still Debate Global Warming
The debate over the cause of global warming rages on, with both sides well-aware of the other’s views, and both sides unmoved. A 2019 study published in Nature and Climate Change states unequivocally that we can no longer afford to ignore global temperature rise during the past four decades.
The lead author of the study says he hopes the information in the study will help convince climate change skeptics and spur people to action. Despite a misconception that scientists don’t know for sure why global warming seems to be accelerating, there is a scientific consensus about the cause.
The overwhelming scientific evidence that global warming is happening has reached everyone it can. At the same time, climate change deniers cling to their views, even as they see an increase in deadly heatwaves, floods, fires, and superstorms.
Greenhouse Gases Make the World Warmer
Greenhouse gases play a natural role in warming our planet. Without them, the Earth would be freezing. That’s because they let the sunshine in and keep some of its warmth in our atmosphere. But, the balance between pleasantly livable and dangerously warming is a delicate one.
When we burn fossil fuels, it’s like we are adding another layer of warmth to the one we naturally create, so the Earth begins to get warmer. As the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased as our use of fossil fuels has increased, there is a strong correlation between more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and higher temperatures.
Are Humans Responsible for Global Warming
Warmer temperatures aren’t the only mark humans have left on the Earth. The oceans have become more acidic. Extreme weather events are more common, and the glaciers are melting. Each year since 1977 has been warmer than the 20th-century average. And 16 of 17 of these warmer years occurred since 2001, and June 2019 was the hottest on record for the globe. A 2016 study found that without the emissions from burning fossil fuels, 13 out of 16 of these warmest years would probably not have happened.
We know that the Earth has warmed and cooled in the past and that many factors can influence the Earth’s climate, including volcanic eruptions, changes in the sun’s intensity, and heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
Scientists agree that the warming we see now is mainly caused by humans putting too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, we are also the solution to this issue, and there are things we can do to help the environment. By reducing emissions and making other changes, we have a little bit of time to prevent dangerous warming and leave a sustainable world to future generations.