‘The Science,” we’re told, is settled. How many times have you heard it?
Humans have broken the earth’s climate. Temperatures are rising, sea level is surging, ice is disappearing, and heat waves, storms, droughts, floods, and wildfires are an ever-worsening scourge on the world. Greenhouse gas emissions are causing all of this. And unless they’re eliminated promptly by radical changes to society and its energy systems, “The Science” says Earth is doomed.
Yes, it’s true that the globe is warming, and that humans are exerting a warming influence upon it. But beyond that — to paraphrase the classic movie “The Princess Bride” — “I do not think ‘The Science’ says what you think it says.”
For example, both research literature and government reports state clearly that heat waves in the US are now no more common than they were in 1900, and that the warmest temperatures in the US have not risen in the past fifty years. When I tell people this, most are incredulous. Some gasp. And some get downright hostile.
These are almost certainly not the only climate facts you haven’t heard. Here are three more that might surprise you, drawn from recent published research or assessments of climate science published by the US government and the UN:
- Humans have had no detectable impact on hurricanes over the past century.
- Greenland’s ice sheet isn’t shrinking any more rapidly today than it was 80 years ago.
- The global area burned by wildfires has declined more than 25 percent since 2003 and 2020 was one of the lowest years on record.
Why haven’t you heard these facts before?