Myth vs. Truth: What’s Really Happening With Climate Change?
"As we have stated many times in this movie, if you don't believe in man-made climate change then you don't believe in gravity," Leonardo DiCaprio recently told BBC Newsbeat. The Hollywood superstar was speaking ahead of the launch of his environmental documentary 'Before the Flood' which we are hugely excited to be partnered with at TheLADbible and will be streaming live on Sunday from 9pm on our Facebook page and TheLADbible.com.
Leo is right, climate change is a thing. It is. The climate is warming on a global scale. But the internet doesn't often let a little thing like scientifically proven fact get in the way of a good story. Why would it? That's not fun for anyone.
The net is useful for so many things (let's not mention them all here) but at the same time it's an oasis of miserably inaccurate bullshit; a colossal vacuum of wild misinformation. After all, five minutes on Google is all it takes to learn that shape-shifting reptilian humanoids from the Alpha Draconis star system are the force behind a worldwide conspiracy against humanity.
Sifting through the trove of data on the internet and separating scientific theory from a tin foiler's wet dream can be a task that's about as challenging as getting a reasonably priced Uber during Fresher's Week. Or engineering a threesome with model twins. Difficult.
So what is actually going on with climate change? Is our whole atmosphere really going to be like a Domino's oven on a Saturday night in a few years? Should we be bulk-buying tinned goods in anticipation of an impending tsunami? Basically, the question I'm asking here is: Are we totally fucked?
In an attempt to glean some more information on this I spoke to Tim Osborn, Professor of Climate Science at the University of East Anglia. I wanted to know what he thought about some of the climate change theories available online. I then put the same ideas to Graham Thompson, who has worked on climate issues for Greenpeace for more than 15 years.
Image Credit: @cbezerraphotos
THEORY: Come on, guys. We've all got access to YouTube, we all know, deep down, that climate change is a myth. Any scientific evidence suggesting otherwise is clearly part of an elaborate conspiracy theory where scientists fabricate studies in order to, uhm, get increased funding to fabricate more. Ask David Icke or Alex Jones or that guy in the club smoking area who likes his ketamine a bit too much.
Professor Osborn: "Right, okay, that's a big one to start with. Clearly it isn't a myth. There are tens of thousands of people active in climate change research from all sorts of backgrounds around the world. It just couldn't be organised into such a big conspiracy like that."
Greenpeace: "Donald Trump thinks that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese. If that isn't enough to persuade you that it's real, every government and every international scientific institute in the world agrees with the scientific consensus."
The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2012
What does this mean for us? There is no doubt that climate change is real. We should probably make sure that we start recycling as much as we can.
Climate change will eventually make the world uninhabitable or just totally unbearable - like Coventry, Rochdale or Hull - for everyone.
Professor Osborn: "It's not likely to be true. The types of weather that people live in across the world right now are hugely varied. It's unlikely that the whole world would end up with a climate that's not suitable for anyone, anywhere."
Greenpeace: "It's very unlikely that climate change would ever make the entire world uninhabitable, but a few areas could become too hot - where a human body would overheat even sitting in the shade. But the main problem is the rate of change. All of our agriculture and infrastructure is designed for the climate we have. Rapid, continuous change is impossible to adapt to."
What does this mean for us? Global Warming is not going to cause the world to end. But, Refugee Crisis believe it could cause mass migration which will come with a host of social implications.
Our climate is changing and it is making our weather more extreme, but it is just part of a natural cycle of the Earth. Anyone claiming that the process is influenced by humans is probably part of the Illuminati, our shapeshifting reptilian overlords or the people who have managed to hide Tupac for so long.
Professor Osborn: "Yes, the climate does vary naturally. Climate scientists are not saying that these natural variations don't exist. We understand many of the ways in which that happens. There were a few bigger volcanic eruptions in recent decades compared to the mid-twentieth century when there were fewer - that will have a cooling effect on the climate. So, we would have had expected a slight cooling if anything from purely natural effects. But we have observed an overall warming. The human influence has taken away that cooling.
Greenpeace: "Climate scientists study the world's natural climate cycles in depth in order to separate them out from man-made climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates that roughly 100 percent of the warming in recent decades has been man-made. We know that the extra carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere is man-made."
What does this mean for us? The climate changes naturally. However, that doesn't mean that us humans aren't causing extreme weather by polluting the air. According to a study commissioned by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, it is as certain that burning fossil fuels causes extreme weather as it is that smoking causes cancer. These are things we know for sure.
Image Credit: @Tiffpenguin
The Poles aren't melting; there's no risk of huge waves flooding major cities around the world. The Poles are actually GROWING - see how these wacko scientists have corrupted us?
Professor Osborn: "Arctic [North Pole] ice, overall, is melting. There's clear evidence of that over the past few decades. Antarctic [South Pole] is more of a mixed picture. Some parts are melting and some parts are actually growing."
Greenpeace: "The Arctic is an ocean surrounded by continents. The sea ice there has been in a steep decline, and most of it has already disappeared. The Antarctic is a continent surrounded by ocean, and the loss of ice there has been much slower as a warmer atmosphere means more evaporation, leading to more precipitation."
What does this mean for us? The Poles aren't going to be a thing of the past anytime soon, but some parts are disintegrating. The New Scientist argues that - at the very least - it's going to make the sea levels rise and have a negative impact on local wildlife.
All sea levels are rapidly rising and, perhaps even more worryingly, people are starting to suggest that Noah and his ark doesn't even exist. We are on the brink of a new Ice Age; The Day After Tomorrow is going to happen IRL. Cities like New York, Miami and Boston will soon be totally underwater.
Professor Osborn: "Yes, sea levels are rising. We've observed that using long tide gauge records of coasts around the world. More recently we've used satellite radar beaming down on the sea surface to measure it. They are rising for two reasons. Firstly, as the oceans warm, the water expands. Secondly, the warming is causing ice on land to melt."
Greenpeace: "Roughly speaking, yes, although in a few places the land is rising faster than the sea. Scotland, for example. The main cause of sea level rise so far hasn't been the melting Poles, but thermal expansion. Water gets bigger when it gets hotter."
What does this mean for us? This is pretty serious; half of the world's population live within 200km of a coastline, according to Greenpeace. That's a potential three billion people who could be displaced if the situation doesn't improve.
Words by Simon Doherty
Featured Image Credit: Before The Flood, National Geographic
This week we are taking a look at the causes and effects on our planet with our Climate Change editorial initiative. Read more here:
We're also partnering with National Geographic to live stream Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens' environmental film, Before The Flood, on TheLADbible's Facebook channel and LADbible.com on Sunday 30th October at 9pm GMT. Check out more information.
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