Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Climate Myths 1/3: It’s Natural.

Approximately 1 in 5 science students will encounter a ‘Climate Change Denier’ at least once in their illustrious university career (potentially made-up fact). This unfortunate encounter can stir fire in the hearts of the calmest, because who on earth has the time to tell this denier why they’re so, so, so.. wrong.

I do.

Now I don’t know about you, but hearing anyone utter words along the line of ‘climate change is a myth’ is enough to make me want to pack up immediately and move to the moon.

At least I won’t meet the inevitable, burny, hot death climate change deniers are heading for  – unless they really truly lift their game.

Now unless you’re a Sarah Palin fanatic, I’m hoping you know that human-induced climate change is NOT a conspiracy, but in fact a scary, dangerous event that could literally eradicate humankind….forever.

So. If you have accepted that the globe is warming (at an alarming rate), here are some hard and fast facts for you to remember should anyone try to debate with you.

And if you believe that climate change is a myth, do yourself a favor, read my three-part blog and save a lot of tired scientists a three day disposition on why you’re wrong.

And so it begins.


Climate Myth 1: Climate change is natural, and supposed to happen!

Correct. Yes. You are right. Take these cookies and go home.

Climate change IS a natural phenomenon!  The climate does have a cyclic nature of getting warmer and cooler.

However. It was never supposed to get this hot.

The figure below is where I believe this fun little myth came from. It shows the year 2000 being cooler than the period around the 10th Century. This graph makes it look like this increase is natural and normal.

However, skip forward approximately 15 years, and lo-and-behold scientists have continued to measure the annual temperature (just in case).

And there it is. That’s why we are worried. The temperature has risen higher than we’ve ever seen it before. Higher than that of the natural cycle.

2014 was our hottest year on record. Until 2015 came and broke that record. And now, 2016 is on track to break it. As a matter of fact, the hottest sixteen years on record have all occurred since 2002.

grhh

Now if that’s not enough to make you cut off your electricity and retire to a more sustainable life deep in the forest, read on.

Not only is the globe getting warmer, but our rising temperatures are undoubtedly linked to …. fossil fuel production (Shock! Horror!).

Burning fossil fuels results in the release of carbon dioxide into our environment. And this graph below conveniently demonstrates that as our CO2 emissions are rising, so is our global temperature.

Rising Global Temperatures and CO2

So if our CO2 emissions are rising, and our global temperature is rising, and we are experiencing the hottest years on record – what would our only likely conclusion be?

Climate change is occurring outside it’s natural levels and it is being caused primarily by humans.

And if anyone so much as looks like a climate change denier, take them out for dinner, entertain their (invalid) debates and then, like magic, smack these graphs down – just like John Cena would.

And finally, if all else fails, get yourself a late night TV show so you can make fun of ‘Climate Change Deniers’ – just like Jimmy Kimmel does!

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2 comments on “Climate Myths 1/3: It’s Natural.

  1. Andrew Mahony
    May 6, 2016

    I enjoyed reading your blog post as this is a very interesting topic that impacts every aspect of society. I come from a rural background and I work in a Grain Broker Business. Going back 20-30 years ago the Western District (WD) was predominately stock, Sheep and Cattle, and it was an absolute joke among the generational farmers that there would ever be a significant amount of grain crops grown in the area. This was because the WD was simply too wet for cropping. The prime cropping areas were in the Mallee and then followed by the Wimmera. But approximately 15 years ago after a long period of dry weather that there started to be a huge shift from stock to grain in the WD. Basically each year was just becoming drier and drier, suiting grain growing conditions. (Locke 2016) Now fast forward to the present and the Western District is a large Grain Production region, with many farmers being predominately grain producers. In my job as a Grain Broker you are consistently talking to farmers, and everyone agrees that the climate of the Western District is the climate of the Wimmera 20 years ago, and the Climate of the Wimmera is now the climate of the Mallee from 20 years ago (Kiem & Austin 2013) With how industrialised society is today is makes me question if we will ever be able to slow down the rate of climate change or is it more so that we try not to increase the rate any further? What will this mean for Australian Agriculture? Does it mean that in 20 years the WD climate will be that of the Mallee and in turn will the Mallee and Wimmera be no longer arable? This is a scary issue that appears to have no obvious and easily implementable answer. (Buys, Miller & Megen 2012)

    Locke, S 2016, ‘Mixed bag for farmers with record hot weather in spring’, ABC Rural, 3rd May 2016,
    Kiem, A, & Austin, E 2013, ‘Drought and the future of rural communities: Opportunities and challenges for climate change adaptation in regional Victoria, Australia’, Global Environmental Change, 23, pp. 1307-1316,
    Buys, L, Miller, E, & Megen, K 2012, ‘Conceptualising climate change in rural Australia: community perceptions, attitudes and (in)actions’, Regional Environmental Change, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 237-248

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  2. binlublogassignment
    May 6, 2016

    Lovely blog post, and very interesting to read. Love all the small jokes you inserted.

    Climate change is a important topic for people to understand, yet we face rampant denial of facts and evidence of man-made climate change, yes, MAN made.

    Earth’s climate history is the history of glacial growth and retreat. I love the pictures of data you used to support you claims. Another way to explain natural climate change can be made from a geologist perspective, meaning going way way back in history.

    Geologic temperature record, is the first thing I thought of when I see natural climate change, also described as the works of Paleoclimatology, which studies the history of earth’s climate by using data preserved in rocks, shells and fossils. Study of past climate is the key to our existence, since mass extinction due to natural climate occurred many times in our past. Climate change were also recorded by marine isotope stages, oxygen isotope data shows changes in temperature from samples of deep sea core. You could use data of biodiversity and oxygen levels to explain why climate change wiped out unfit animals and made certain animals thrive, and then say the same could happen to humanity, but we will be on the wiped out side. You could also say natural version of climate change is a much slower process where as man made climate change is much more rapid and cause more stress to the environment, 20 thousand years of temperature change squeezed into 20 years.

    Could you please provide your reference? Overall excellent post.

    Like

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This entry was posted on May 5, 2016 by in Burwood - Wednesday 12pm and tagged , , .

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