A tweep, @sandydal2 shared a post, where he made a series of claims, relating to climate change. The Twitter user said the world needs more nuclear energy and natural gas, and that CO2, i.e carbon dioxide, is not scientifically proven to affect the planet Earth negatively.
Rather, CO2, he said, was beneficial to the plants, trees and ecosystems, noting further that wind and solar energy is unreliable and expensive.
“We need more nuclear energy & natural gas. CO2 is not scientifically proven to affect negatively our planet but it is beneficial to our plants, trees & ecosystems. Wind & solar energy is unreliable and expensive,” the tweep put in the post.
@JustinTrudeau @s_guilbeault: We need more nuclear energy & natural gas. CO2 is not scientifically proven to affect negatively our planet but is is beneficial to our plants, trees & ecosystems. Wind & solar energy is unreliable and expensive.
Listen 2 experts & look for evidence.
— sandy dal (@sandydal2) April 26, 2023
VERIFICATION: Climate crisis is the greatest challenge facing the world today. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations has notified that to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, there is a need to reduce CO2 emissions by 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Nuclear Energy, Natural Gas and Climate Change
The proponents of nuclear energy as a climate solution highlight the fact that nuclear reactors emit low greenhouse gases during operation, while providing baseload generation. Nuclear, wind and solar power have significant and comparably lower lifecycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions than coal and natural gas plants. However, the proponents of nuclear power overlook the significant risks inherent in the technology and the fact that scaling up nuclear power would take too long and is too costly to be an effective climate solution.
Instead, climate scientists stressed the need to scale up renewable energy technologies like wind and solar to increase zero-carbon generation, while accelerating energy efficiency and storage technologies. Together, these solutions will provide consistent power and address baseload capacity traditionally provided by coal and nuclear plants. The two renewable energy sources are also said to be reliable.
The IPCC, which comprises over 200 scientists, summarises the risks of nuclear power well: ‘‘Barriers to and risks associated with an increasing use of nuclear energy include operational risks and the associated safety concerns, uranium mining risks, financial and regulatory risks, unresolved waste management issues, nuclear weapons proliferation concerns, and adverse public opinion.” Collectively these risks make nuclear power a non-starter for addressing climate change.
Nuclear power plants rely on radioactive uranium for fuel. Uranium mining is inherently risky and produces radon emissions and soil and water pollution. Uranium mining frequently occurs in areas where Indigenous peoples live and in sensitive ecological areas.
For Natural gas appliances, they warm the planet in two ways: generating carbon dioxide by burning natural gas as a fuel and leaking unburned methane into the air, thereby rising the global temperature.
Although carbon dioxide is more abundant in the atmosphere, methane’s global warming potential is about 86 times as great over a 20-year period and at least 25 times as great a century after its release. Methane also threatens air quality by increasing the concentration of tropospheric ozone, exposure to which causes an estimated 1 million premature deaths annually worldwide due to respiratory illnesses. Methane’s relative concentration has grown more than twice as fast as that of carbon dioxide since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, because of human-driven emissions.
Scientific proof of the effects of CO2 on climate change
UCAR Centre for Science Education describes carbon dioxide as a colourless and non-flammable gas at normal temperature and pressure.
Although much less abundant than nitrogen and oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, the research-focused centre said carbon dioxide is an important constituent of the planet’s air. A molecule of carbon dioxide (CO2), it said, is made up of one carbon atom and two oxygen atoms.
NASA, a United States-based global leader in space exploration, said carbon dioxide (CO2) is an important heat-trapping gas, or greenhouse gas, that comes from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas, from wildfires, and from natural processes like volcanic eruptions.
Without carbon dioxide, Science Direct said Earth’s planet would be inhospitably cold, but an increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere is, however, causing average global temperatures to rise, disrupting other aspects of Earth’s climate.
It is the fourth most abundant component of dry air, according to the UCAR Centre for Science Education; and today, it has a concentration of over 400 ppm (parts per million) in the atmosphere, as against the 270 ppm before industrial activity.
Rice (1993) cited by Science Direct corroborated further that carbon dioxide is the major nonhydrocarbon gas found in coal beds, and can range from 0% to 99% of the total gas in coal beds.
Truly, carbon dioxide is the nutritional basis for aquatic plants which is supplemented through micro and macronutrients and light. The balance between all these elements is, however, necessary for thriving plant growth in the aquarium.
NASA claimed, nonetheless, that about 40 percent rise in the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere since the start of the Industrial Revolution is raising global temperature.
Lewis Ziska in his study titled “Rising Carbon Dioxide and Global Nutrition: Evidence and Action Needed“, cautioned that carbon dioxide should not be seen as uniformly beneficial since it serves as a nutrient to plant. Rather, he said, benefits for plants do not outweigh the physical disruptions associated with anthropogenic climate change.
“That role is also of tremendous importance, not only from a human health viewpoint, but also from a global food–web perspective.”
CONCLUSION: The multi-claim post that the world needs more nuclear energy and natural gas; and that carbon dioxide, is not scientifically proven to affect the planet Earth negatively, but beneficial to the plants, trees and ecosystems is misleading, and FALSE. Though CO2 is a nutrient to plants, the current rise in its level is raising the global temperature, while scientists consensus is that wind and solar energy is more reliable than nuclear energy and natural gas.
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.