May 28, 2022

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Five myths about climate change

Five myths about climate change

Paris, France | As COP26 approaches, the AFP fact check will review some general arguments that question global warming caused by human activity.

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Stunt or conspiracy

For some, the climate crisis is a conspiracy by governments to justify their funding to scientists or to control the people. It is considered to be an institution of unprecedented complexity, coordinated by successive governments in a large number of countries with the complexity of a real army of scientists.

However, tens of thousands of studies, reviewed and corrected by other scientists each time, have led to an almost unanimous consensus on the reality of human-induced climate change. And rather than in secret, this process is illustrated by the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is open to all UN member states.

Created in 1988 and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, the IPCC brings together hundreds of scientists who review the status of science with a method and public reference on a voluntary basis.

Its latest 3,500-page report, published in August, was written by 234 authors from 66 countries and approved by delegates from 195 states.

The climate has always changed

Planet Earth has a long history of alternating glacial and warm periods, with one glacier every 10,000 years. So is current warming just another phase in this cycle that has lasted for about a million years?

Experts have no answer, because the speed, amplitude and global nature of current warming make it extraordinary. “Since 1970, global temperatures have risen faster than in any other 50 years in the last two millennia,” the IPCC stressed, based on weather records (since they existed) and previous sediments, ice cores or other material studies. Periods.

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Human causes have not been proven

As evidence of warming, some are questioning the greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activity from its human origin, the fossil fuel based industrial revolution.

The IPCC has developed a model to measure the effects of various factors on global warming. “Human impact is undoubtedly warming the atmosphere, oceans and the earth,” the IPCC wrote in its “Summary for Decision-makers” in its final report, published in August (pages 7 and 8 of this document in English).

A little heat does not hurt

“A good part of the country is suffering from enormous snow and cold. “

On January 20, 2018, Donald Trump, then US President and infamous skeptic, posted this common sense idea on Twitter: Why are there always extreme cold episodes if the planet is warming up?

But climate and its changes can be observed in the long run, while weather phenomena have their own, more immediate mechanisms, which can be emphasized by some climate change.

And the benefits of warming the icy Siberia are not the only ones. Permafrost, a layer of permanently frozen soil, contains enormous amounts of greenhouse gases, which are released by thawing, not to mention viruses.

And the world at + 2 ° C compared to the pre-industrial era is raising sea levels by half a meter or more, threatening millions of people living in coastal areas.

Scientists are questioning the reality of climate change

Some have expressed doubts in the forums, but in general, these are not meteorologists. And historically, scientific knowledge has been built by controversy, then by building a consensus of knowledge.

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And on climate change, this consensus is now overwhelming. According to a recent study by Cornell University in the United States, more than 99% of articles published on peer-reviewed scientific journals since 2012 agree on attributing this phenomenon to the consequences of human action (

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