The world of news is complex - and false stories and images are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’s editorial team spots the most popular hoaxes and misleading information on Climate change to help you discern truth from falsehood.

Man-made climate change hoax

NASA never said man-made climate change is a hoax

False claim: Posts shared on social media claim that NASA had admitted that man-made climate change is a hoax. “In 1958, Nasa first observed that changes in the solar orbit of the earth, along with alterations to earth’s axial tilt, are both responsible for what climate scientists call ‘Global Warming.’ In no way, shape, or form are humans warming the planet by using fossil fuels or eating beef,” reds the caption of some of the posts.

Truth:

  • In a document in which explains the scientific consensus that humans contribute to climate change, NASA states that more than 97 percent of actively publishing climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change.
  • “Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2. To a lesser extent, the clearing of land for agriculture, industry and other human activities has increased concentrations of greenhouse gases,” Nasa further says on its website.
  • Increased levels of so-called greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, cause the Earth to heat up, blocking heat from escaping the atmosphere and radiating it back to the Earth's surface.

Earth’s ‘natural cycle’

Global warming is not merely an Earth’s “natural cycle”

False claim: Climate change deniers share on social media claims that global warming is part of a “natural cycle” of the Earth, which within its 4.5-billion-year history has experienced periods of lesser and greater warmth.

Truth:

  • In fact, over thousands of years, temperature changes on Earth have been determined by variations in the orbit around the sun, with longer distances resulting in cooler cycles and shorter distances resulting in warmer cycles. The rule, however, does not apply to what has been recorded on the planet since the early 20th century, where changes that would normally happen over hundreds of thousands of years are happening in decades.
  • A study published in 2013 in the journal Science, for example, points out that our planet has warmed faster in the past century than at any time since the end of the last ice age, some 11,000 years ago.
  • A report published in 2020 by the World Meteorological Organization points out that the average temperature on the planet in 2019 was 1.2° C higher than pre-industrial levels (1850-1900). The document describes the increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, resulting from human activities, as “a major driver of climate change.”
  • According to the UK's Met Office, 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have taken place in the 21st century, and each of the last 3 decades has been warmer than previous ones.

CO2

It is false that agriculture removes more CO2 from the atmosphere than forests

False claim: Posts shared on social media claim that agriculture removes more carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere than forests.

Discuss this news on Eunomia

According to the post, the Brazilian Agricultural Research Company (Embrapa) reportedly published in 2007 that one hectare of corn can remove between 15 and 20 tons of CO2, while a virgin rainforest removes no more than 15 tons of CO2 per hectare.

Truth:

  • While any plant removes CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis, this natural process only benefits the environment when the carbon dioxide is retained, rather than returning to the atmosphere.
  • Unlike forests, which sequester CO₂ and manage to keep it in the soil, crops such as corn and soybeans, however, release the gas again after harvest and throughout the cycle until it reaches the consumer.
  • A study published in 2020 by Nature magazine shows that tropical forests are responsible for half of the planet's stored carbon.
  • In a statement to the Brazilian fact-checking agency Lupa, Embrapa claims never to have published the data shared on social media.

Sea levels

It is false that melting icebergs will not affect world sea levels

False claim: Posts shared on social media show that ice cubes melting inside a measuring cup filled with water do not raise the level of the liquid, which would prove that the same is true for melting icebergs and the sea levels.

Truth:

  • A study published in 2010 by the University of Leeds shows that because sea water is warmer and more salty than floating ice, changes in the amount of this ice are having an effect on global sea levels.
  • A report published in 2019 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets lost roughly 400 billion tonnes of mass annually in the decade to 2015, corresponding to a sea-level rise of around 1.2 millimetres each year.
  • The IPCC report also says that compared to the 1980-2000 period, seas will rise nearly half a metre by 2100 if Earth warms 2C above pre-industrial levels.

Communist plot

Climate change is not a ploy for communism

False claim: One of the most widespread conspiracy theories regarding climate change on social media is that it is linked to a hoax promoted by leftist groups in order to weaken capitalism.

According to these theories, after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, the world’s left-wing embraced environmentalism as its new religion, with the aim of forcing a deindustrialization of the Western world.

Truth:

  • Since the late 19th century, the Earth's average global temperature has increased by about 1.18C, driven largely by the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere caused by human activities.
  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), since 1993, global sea levels have risen at an accelerating rate of approximately 3.5 millimeters per year.
  • In a report published last August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that the changes observed in the climate are “unprecedented” in thousands of years, and in some cases will be “irreversible” over hundreds to thousands of years.