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Antarctic Ice Loss Is Significant, Contrary to Claims

Antarctic Ice Loss Is Significant, Contrary to Claims

Antarctica is losing ice mass to the ocean, contributing to global sea level rise. But a popular video misrepresented work focused on Antarctic ice shelves — which float in the sea at the edges of the continent — to incorrectly suggest that “it is unclear if Antarctica is losing any ice on balance.”

CO2 makes up a small fraction of the gases in the atmosphere, but is very powerful

About 99% of the Earth’s atmosphere is made of just two gases: oxygen and nitrogen. By comparison, the amount of carbon dioxide — which at more than 400 parts per million, is the highest it’s been in several million years — may seem small. It’s equivalent to just 0.04% of the atmosphere.

This fact is often cited by people who are trying to falsely claim that CO2 isn’t responsible for global warming. These individuals also often add that the amount of CO2 from humans is just a fraction of that already small total. 

How can carbon dioxide be harmful if it’s ‘plant food’?

The notion that carbon dioxide is “plant food” and that climate change is therefore a good thing or not a problem is a common refrain from those who deny the reality of climate change or who oppose reducing greenhouse emissions.

It’s true that carbon dioxide, the main heat-trapping gas that is causing global warming, is essential for plant growth. Most — but not all plants — tend to respond to increased levels of CO2 by growing more. 

But more CO2 is not always good.

How do scientists know climate change is happening?

Multiple lines of evidence, including measurements of a variety of planetary indicators, show that climate change is happening and is caused primarily by human activity. As the concentration of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere has increased — much of it from burning fossil fuels — land and ocean temperatures have risen, along with sea levels, while sea and land ice have declined.

The changes are consistent with the basic physics of the greenhouse effect that have been understood since the mid-1800s and map to what is expected from human activity.

Electric Vehicles Contribute Fewer Emissions Than Gasoline-Powered Cars Over Their Lifetimes

Electric Vehicles Contribute Fewer Emissions Than Gasoline-Powered Cars Over Their Lifetimes

Q: Are electric cars really better for the environment than gasoline-powered cars over their lifetimes? 

A: Yes. Electric vehicles typically release fewer greenhouse gas emissions than internal combustion engine vehicles during their life cycles, even after accounting for the increased energy required to make their batteries. And their carbon footprints are expected to get smaller in the near future.

Meme Makes Misleading Comparison to Cast Doubt on Climate Change

Meme Makes Misleading Comparison to Cast Doubt on Climate Change

The Earth is warming at the fastest rate seen in the last 10,000 years, according to NASA, and the consensus among climate scientists is that human activity is causing the change. But a meme on social media tries to undermine the reality of climate change by misrepresenting the views and media coverage of a climatologist popular among those who believe climate change is a “hoax.”

High Winds, Drought Conditions Led to Maui Fires, No Evidence Intentionally Set

High Winds, Drought Conditions Led to Maui Fires, No Evidence Intentionally Set

It’s not known what sparked the wildfires in Maui, although some evidence points to downed power lines. The conditions were ripe for fire, as large amounts of invasive grasses were dry due to drought and high winds helped to rapidly spread flames. Bogus posts on social media, however, are baselessly claiming the fires were intentionally set.

Posts Share Fabricated Quote on ‘Permanent Climate Lockdowns’

Posts Share Fabricated Quote on ‘Permanent Climate Lockdowns’

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum proposed an initiative to reform economic and social systems, called the “Great Reset.” But a 2020 video of WEF’s Nicole Schwab discussing this initiative never showed her saying that “permanent climate lockdowns” were coming, contrary to claims in a widely shared article.

Warming Beyond 1.5 C Harmful, But Not a Point of No Return, as Biden Claims 

Warming Beyond 1.5 C Harmful, But Not a Point of No Return, as Biden Claims 

It’s increasingly likely that the planet will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, of warming, probably within the next two decades. But while that level of warming comes with a variety of dangerous effects, it’s not a point of no return, scientists say, and it doesn’t mean “we’re done,” as President Joe Biden has claimed.