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  • Writer's pictureSarah Bloodworth

4 Myths About Climate Change And How to Debunk Them (Respectfully)

Updated: 1 day ago

This snowball handler is Senator James Inhofe who in 2014, displayed and tossed a snowball on the Senate floor. His demonstration sought to retort the fact that it was the hottest year on record and dismiss the reality of climate change.

And in other news? I ate a sandwich yesterday so world hunger is not a thing.

Needless to say, the snowball melted fast but his point dissolved even faster.

Global warming is real, and most people on this Earth agree that it’s an emergency. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t misconceptions and myths about climate change. You may know people like Senator Inhofe in your inner circles.

This might be controversial, but I think most climate deniers and people who share false news aren’t bad people, they’re just misinformed people. One of my favorite science communicators is climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe, who said:

Katharine Hayhoe quote

Notably, the myths and responses I’m about to share with you are designed to help you cancel out ignorance, not belittle people. I’ve compiled these myths based on REAL conversations I’ve with people and my studies in environmental science.

They will hopefully help you as you encounter them in your future. Any other myths you hear and not sure how to respond? Let me know!

Myth Number 1: “It’s Freezing Outside, So Global Warming Isn’t Real.”

There’s a difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day conditions, like what you see on your handy weather app (and what produced the senator’s snowball). Climate is about long-term conditions; that is it takes into account the data from everyday weather to create trends.

weather versus climate infographic

So while there may be extreme cold temperatures occurring day to day, the climate overall is warming as we hit record high temperatures every year.

And just so you know, NASA has compiled a great list of evidence that proves the climate is indeed warming over time.

Myth Number 2: “China is the real problem when it comes to climate change. We should focus on them.”

Let’s start by saying it is of course true that China is a major contributor to climate change. China continues to be the largest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world, with the U.S. holding second place. But let’s not use China as an excuse for inaction, when per-capita (that is per person) the U.S. emits over double what China does.

carbon dioxide emissions per capita

Nonetheless, there’s no room for finger-pointing in this argument, we are all collectively responsible for the climate crisis.

Myth Number 3: “The climate has always changed, so there’s no need to be alarmed that it’s changing again.”

The problem is not that the climate is changing, the problem is the RATE at which the climate is warming.

We know by studying Earth’s past natural variations that the warming of the planet is happening at a FASTER rate than any time in Earth’s history then we can study.

Why the accelerated warming? It started with early humans who started using fire, then the industrial revolution, fueling the modern-time world where fossil fuels run essentially our whole world.

In-fact, the last time global carbon dioxide levels were near where they are today was around four million years ago during a geological period known as the Pliocene Era (between 5.3 million and 2.6 million years ago). The world was about 3 degrees celsius warmer, sea levels were higher than today, and more eerily: it was before a mass extinction. And we’re in the sixth mass extinction now.

The goal now is to SLOW the rate of warming to reduce its effects.

Myth Number 4: “It’s too late anyway. There’s no point in making a difference.”

Tell that to the flood and fire victims, the newborn children, and your own younger family members. In-fact, if you can’t do it for them, do it for yourself because the effects of climate change are already happening. We’re in it now, and it’ll only get worse if we do nothing.

If there’s anything that the Coronavirus Pandemic has taught us that we have collective power to make change RAPIDLY. The upcoming generations are staunch environmental and social activists, governments worldwide are starting to make serious changes and commitments, and corporations/industries are really starting to be held accountable.

And no, you don’t have to completely overhaul your lifestyle to make a difference. Eat less meat, car-pool, buy a reusable water bottle, and speak up to ignorance when you can. You don’t have to make a difference with your pockets, make a difference with your voice. At the end of the day, it's 100 or so companies that are contributing to the majority of global warming, not the average joe. The most important thing is to keep big companies accountable.

Download My Free Climate Change Myths Cheat Card :

Climate Change Myths Response Cheat Card
Download • 50KB

And what if people still don’t listen?

Don’t forget that being an environmentalist is a privilege. There are millions of people out there who don’t even have the basics of food, water, and shelter.

That being said, there are people out there who simply refuse to listen (whether they know it’s true and want to keep the oil industry alive, or just don’t want to accept it).

If you use any of these responses and they simply don’t believe the sources I’ve provided or the facts, then there’s no point in making conversation with a brick wall.

The “brick wall” people are the minority, and change makers like us are just getting started.

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