CLAIM: Australian Senator, Malcolm Roberts in a video shared on Twitter claims that carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere is controlled by nature entirely. Therefore, humans cannot and do not affect the level.
The video was shared by Wide Awake Media, an online platform that is becoming renowned for sharing misinformation about climate change.
“Humans cannot, and do not, affect the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It’s controlled by nature entirely,” Roberts concluded in the 1.30 minute audio-visual content.
Australian senator, Malcolm Roberts:
“Humans cannot, and do not, affect the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It’s controlled by nature entirely.”#ClimateScam #ClimateCult #NetZero #Agenda21 #Agenda2030 #GreatReset pic.twitter.com/mN09cAMxBo
— Wide Awake Media (@wideawake_media) April 22, 2023
Between April 22, when the video was posted by the Wide Awake Media and May 12, the video has been viewed more than 110,000 times, retweeted more than 3,000 and liked by close to 5,000 tweeps with several comments.
VERIFICATION: The effect of carbon emissions on climate change is a subject of controversy between climate scientists and those skeptical to the existence of the global phenomenon.
A key argument used by climate skeptics to downplay the consequences of climate change is the idea that carbon dioxide emissions are a net positive for the planet’s vegetation, while scientists see carbon dioxide as the primary greenhouse gas contributing to recent climate change.
The scientists argue that aside from natural sources, carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels, solid waste, trees, and other biological materials, and as a result of certain chemical reactions, such as cement manufacturing.
Truly, studies confirm that there are natural sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, such as outgassing from the ocean, decomposing vegetation and other biomass, venting volcanoes, naturally occurring wildfires, and even belches from ruminant animals. These natural sources of carbon dioxide are offset by “sinks” —things like photosynthesis by plants on land and in the ocean, direct absorption into the ocean, and the creation of soil and peat.
Studies note that during all the ice ages over at least the past million years, these opposing branches of the carbon cycle have kept the atmospheric carbon dioxide level at or below 300 parts per million (ppm). But today, that level is close to 410 ppm. Not only has this the highest carbon dioxide during all of human civilisation, it has reached these levels virtually instantaneously in geologic time frames. During ice age cycles of the past, a change this large would likely have taken thousands of years to occur.
This extremely rapid build-up of carbon dioxide is happening because humans are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere faster than natural sinks can remove it. By burning fossil fuels, humans have essentially taken millions of years of carbon uptake by plants and returned it to the atmosphere in less than 300 years.
CONCLUSION: A claim by Senator Roberts that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is controlled by nature entirely; therefore humans (activity) cannot and do not affect its level is misleading and FALSE. While there are truly natural sources of atmospheric carbon dioxide, scientific evidence suggests that the highest level of carbon dioxide has been during all of human civilization. Human activities such as burning fossil fuels, including coal and oil, as a result of industrialisation have increased greenhouse gas (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere.
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.