COP26 | Five myths about climate change (and what the science says) | Technique

On the eve of COP26, which is being held in Glasgow, AFP’s Fact Check is reviewing some of the most common phrases that cast doubt on the climate change due to human activity.

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A plan or plot of land has been created

There are those who believe that the climate crisis is nothing more than an idea that scientists have devised to justify funding science. And also those who believe that it is a conspiracy by governments to control the population. Something that required an unprecedented complex plan, orchestrated by successive governments in various countries with the complicity of an army of scholars.

But, on the contrary, the near-unanimous consensus on the existence of man-made climate change has been built by tens of thousands of studies (reviewed and corrected by other scientists). Furthermore, far from being opaque, reports such as the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) It is open to all UN countries.

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Founded in 1988, and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) brings together hundreds of volunteer scientists who review the state of knowledge based on a method and public references, which can be consulted at .

Its most recent 3,500-page report, published in August, was written by 234 authors from 66 countries, and Delegates of 195 states approved it.

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The weather has always changed

Bangladesh, on the United Nations’ list of least developed countries, is fighting river erosion due to climate change.

Since its inception, the planet has known alternation between periods of extreme cold and warmer periods, with an ice age more or less every 10,000 years. Therefore, the current warming period cannot be considered as Another stage of this cyclethat lasts for a million years?

For experts, the answer is clear: no. The speed, scale and global nature of the warming we are witnessing is extraordinary. Since 1970, global temperature has risen at a faster rate than In any 50-year period in the last two thousand years, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, based on meteorological records (since its existence), sediment studies, ice samples (cores), and other recent elements.

Human influence has not been proven

Despite accumulating evidence of warming, there are those who question whether it is caused by human activity, such as greenhouse gas emissions, which have increased since the Industrial Revolution due to the use of fossil fuels.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has developed a model to measure the impact of various factors on global warming. “There is no doubt that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land,” the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change wrote in its “Summary for Policymakers” in its latest report, published in August (pp. 7 and 8). ).

A few degrees can’t be bad

US President Donald Trump has said climate change is an invention of the Chinese.  (AFP/Nicolas Cam)
US President Donald Trump has said climate change is an invention of the Chinese. (AFP/Nicolas Cam)

“A large part of the country is exposed to a massive amount of snow and experiences record cold temperatures…a little bit of ancient global warming wouldn’t hurt!”

On January 20, 2018, Donald Trump, the then President of the United States and an acknowledged climate skeptic, posted this supposed common-sense idea on Twitter: If the planet warms, Why are there still bouts of extreme cold?

However, the evolution of climate is observed in the long term, while meteorological phenomena have their own mechanisms, and they are more urgent, even when some of them are exacerbated by climate change.

Melting permafrost has revealed the Batajica crater in Siberia.
Melting permafrost has revealed the Batajica crater in Siberia.

and that certain regions of the world have become very hot, such as Siberia, It’s not good news. Permafrost, the permanently frozen layer of the Earth, traps huge amounts of greenhouse gases that could be released into the atmosphere if thawed. Not to mention the possibility of viruses trapped…

A world at +2°C compared to pre-industrial times would cause sea levels to rise by half a meter, putting the lives of millions of people in coastal areas at risk.

Scientists question the reality of climate change

Although there are scientists who have expressed doubts in public forums, they are generally people who are not specialists in climate. Historically, scientific knowledge is based on controversy, that Follow the consensus of existing knowledge.

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

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Arctic ice, a witness and a victim of global warming
The icebreaker is advancing in the massive ice mass towards the North Pole. But don’t be fooled by these white landscapes that stretch as far as the eye can see. Climate change is there, inside the ice. (Source: AFP)

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