There’s a lot floating around about global warming and climate change; it can be hard to sift through all of the information out there. To help you out, we’ve created a few simple charts and infographics on the topic so you can get a better idea of the climate crisis at a glance.
What’s the Difference between Global Warming and Climate Change?
The terms global warming and climate change get tossed around a lot and are often used interchangeably. But just what do they mean?
Global warming pretty much is just what it sounds like; it refers to the warming of Earth. Specifically, it refers to an accelerated warming of the planet due to the greenhouse effect. Scientists largely agree that human activities have expanded this process.
Climate change refers to the overall process of climates changing. This includes not just rising temperatures, but also severe weather events and rising sea levels. Scientists overwhelmingly agree that human-made global warming is the most likely cause of rapid climate change.
Trends in US Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The United States is one of the largest polluters in the world. So, just what are the trends in US greenhouse gas emissions over the past few decades? According to data from the EPA, total and net emissions of greenhouse gases were slightly higher in 2017 than they were back in 1990. Fortunately, these numbers are down from 2005. Scientists speculate that this reduction in emissions is partly due to an increase in usage of renewable energy sources and a shift away from coal.
Common Myths about Global Warming
There are a lot of myths about global warming. Let’s clear some of those up.
Myth: Scientists are divided on climate change.
Fact: The majority of scientists are more than 95% certain that human activity is causing the current global warming crisis.
Myth: The Sun causes global warming.
Fact: Reliable evidence shows that energy levels from the Sun have not increased enough to cause the changes we’re seeing.
In fact, the Sun’s energy levels for the past several hundred years have remained pretty stable.
Myth: Global warming is only a minor problem.
Fact: The vast majority of scientists agree that human-caused global warming is causing rapid climate change.
What are some of the effects of climate change? For one, rising temperatures and melting ice sheets mean that many settlements along coastlines can be swallowed up by rising sea levels. Additionally, changes in climate could mean crop damage for other places, which would create food shortages. In fact, severe enough changes could make some places unsuited for human habitation.
Myth: We’ve only recently discovered that climate changed caused by global warming is a problem.
Fact: Major fossil fuel companies have known about the potential dangers of this issue for decades.
What’s even worse? They’ve used widespread misinformation campaigns to create confusion and downplay the issue.
Stunning Facts about Climate Change
Past 5 Years Have Been the Hottest We’ve Ever Recorded
Been feeling hot the past few years? It isn’t in your head. Data shows that the past few years have been some of the hottest on record (and humans have been recording such data since the 1800s!) According to a recent report, the hottest years on record are as follows: 2016, 2017, 2015, 2018, and 2014.
Sea Levels are Rising
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the average rate of rising sea levels is about 1/8″ a year.
Melting Ice Sheets Could Mean Big Trouble
The Greenland Ice Sheet is the second-largest ice body on Earth. What would happen if the Greenland Ice Sheet melts? Scientists speculate that it could raise ocean levels by 20 feet!
How to Stop Climate Change: What Can I Do to Help?
It’s time to separate climate change facts from fiction. In the end, no one on this planet will be unaffected by climate change, making the need for rapid change in how we interact with the planet of vital importance. You can learn more about ways to fight climate change here.