CLAIM: A post appeared on Twitter, a microblogging and social network platform, on Sept. 30, claiming that climate change does not exist. The post, which the tweep simply put as “Climate change doesn’t exist”, but without further explanation, has garnered 668 retweets, 736 comments and 4,216 likes as of Oct 11.
Climate change doesn’t exist.
— SUZIE GORDIN (@GordinSuzie) September 30, 2022
On the same platform, another post surfaced on Oct. 1, claiming that climate change is a scam. The post further notes “raising taxes and taking away freedoms doesn’t change the weather, it only makes you poorer and less free.” This has been retweeted 50 times, liked 98 times and gained seven comments between then and Oct 11.
Climate change is a scam.
Raising taxes and taking away freedoms doesn’t change the weather, it only makes you poorer and less free.
— American Soldier for Christ (@johnrackham82) October 1, 2022
Climate change according to the United Nations (UN) refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. These shifts, the global intergovernmental organisation said may be natural, but noted, however, that human activities have been the main driver of the global phenomenon since the 1800s. The UN said the change is primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas, which produces heat-trapping gases.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on its own asserts that climate change impacts human lives and health in a variety of ways; one of such ways according to the global health agency is how it threatens the essential ingredient of good health like clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply, and safe shelter as well as the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health.
VERIFICATION: Climate change has been a subject of public debate overtime. But while there were no reasons or evidence adduced by the two tweeps to arrive at the claims, there were several studies that prove the rate of change of earth’s climate since the middle of the 20th century.
One of such is a study by Julia Rosen, a journalist with a Ph.D. in geology, which was published on the New York Times website on April 19, 2021 and updated on Nov. 6, 2021. Rosen studied ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica to understand past climate changes.
She reported that for more than a century, scientists have understood the basic physics behind why greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide, cause warming. These gases, according to her make up just a small fraction of the atmosphere, but exert outsized control on Earth’s climate by trapping some of the planet’s heat before it escapes into space. The researcher said that this greenhouse effect is important, and attributed it to the reason a planet, so far from the sun, has liquid water and life.
This journalist explained that, however, during the Industrial Revolution, people started burning coal and other fossil fuels to power factories, smelters and steam engines, which added more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Ever since, Rosen claimed, human activities have been heating the planet.
“We know this is true, thanks to an overwhelming body of evidence that begins with temperature measurements taken at weather stations and on ships starting in the mid-1800s.
“Later, scientists began tracking surface temperatures with satellites and looking for clues about climate change in geologic records. Together, these data all tell the same story: Earth is getting hotter.
“Average global temperatures have increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit, or 1.2 degrees Celsius, since 1880, with the greatest changes happening in the late 20th century.
“Land areas have warmed more than the sea surface and the Arctic has warmed the most — by more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit just since the 1960s. Temperature extremes have also shifted. In the United States, daily record highs now outnumber record lows two-to-one,” Rosen reported.
Corroborating the findings of Rosen, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which has changed the earth’s climate.
The US agency noted that though natural processes, such as changes in the sun’s energy and volcanic eruptions, also affect the earth’s climate; these, it said, do not however, explain the warming observed over the last century.
The Earth Science Communication Team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology also cited the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as saying that “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal”. The NASA researchers agreed that there is unequivocal evidence that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate and human activity is the principal cause.
The team explained that ancient evidence for climate change could be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient evidence, according to the study revealed that current warming is occurring roughly 10 times faster than the average rate of warming after an ice age.
It added that Earth-orbiting satellites and new technologies have helped scientists see big picture, collecting many different types of information about the planet and its climate all over the world. These data, collected over many years, it said, revealed the signs and patterns of a changing climate.
VERDICT: The claims that climate change is a scam or does not exist are FALSE. There is overwhelming evidence to show that Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels.
This fact-check was produced by BONews Service with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.