10 false myths about Climate Change

The problem of Climate Change involves certain misinterpretations that it is important to clarify, here we expose some of the most frequent myths about Climate Change:

1.- “The hole in the ozone layer is the cause of climate change”. Although both problems are related to the atmosphere, climate change is not caused by the hole in the ozone layer. The cause of climate change is the greenhouse effect caused by the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) in human activities (electric power, heating, air conditioning, transportation, packaging manufacturing, etc.)

2.- “Climate change does not exist”. A coordinated group of 2000 scientists from around the world (called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC in English) has been researching for more than 25 years, and affirms that climate change is a fact and that we must take measures to stop it. People who deny the existence of climate change, either do not have the necessary knowledge, or have interests to deny its existence.

3.- “We can not stop climate change”. Climate change is a global environmental problem, the most important one facing humanity. But that it is such a big problem does not mean that nothing can be done. In fact, we in our daily life have the opportunity to avoid the emission of tons of CO2 and thus contribute to solve the problem. For this it is essential to change our habits, as recommended on this website.

Certainly, we can not equate the exhaust of a private car to the chimneys of a large thermal power plant. However, if you reduce the electricity consumption in your workplace, you regulate the thermostat of your heating, you use energy saving light bulbs, you choose products with few containers in the purchase and you recycle the waste that you generate at home, you will avoid that this thermal power plant has that work more hours. And above all, people in your environment will see that it is easy to avoid climate change.

4.- “Stopping climate change would mean worsening our quality of life.” Our quality of life is already being affected by the effects of climate change. Not only the environment is in danger but also the economic activities on which we depend, such as agriculture, livestock, tourism, etc.

5.- “Climate Change is something that will only affect in the future”. The changes necessary to curb climate change can be planned in advance, while the consequences of climate change arrive unannounced and violently, such as hurricanes, drought, etc. Therefore, it is very important to take action now.

6.- “Nuclear energy is the solution to climate change”. Although nuclear energy does not produce CO2 in its processes, the risk of accidents and the lack of a system to manage nuclear waste, makes it not an alternative. In addition, nuclear fuel will also end up being finished (like oil) and it takes a lot of time and money (10-12 years) to build a nuclear power plant. Enhancing nuclear energy also facilitates its military use, such as the creation of atomic bombs.

7.- “The greenhouse effect is an environmental problem.” The greenhouse effect is not an environmental problem but a natural phenomenon that allows an average temperature of 15ºC throughout the planet. We have to know that without the greenhouse effect life would not exist as we know it. It is the increase or forcing of this greenhouse effect which causes harmful effects on the climate. Human activities (generation of electricity, industrial production, consumption at home, transportation) increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These extra gases cause global warming, climate change.

8.- “Climate change means a very small increase in temperature.”

In the last century climate change has increased the temperatures approximately: 
-between half and one degree in the whole world 
-a degree in Europe 
-one and a half degrees in Spain

These changes in temperature may seem small, even more so when Spaniards can easily experience temperature variations of 20º C, or even more, between a hot midday and a cold night. However, it must be considered that since the last ice age, when ice covered most of Europe, the global average temperature has only risen between 3 and 5ºC. Therefore, small variations of average temperatures can be translated in big changes.

9.- “The Kyoto Protocol is the solution to climate change.”

No, it was always considered that a reduction of 5% was very small, scientists already talked about that it would have to be reduced by 50-60% by the middle of the century. But since 90% of the world’s energy is fossil, it was considered an important first step in the right direction to which greater efforts would have to be pursued. The developing countries of the 3rd world (China, India, Indonesia, Brazil …) do not have reduction obligations with this protocol, because they did not cause the problem, but it is essential that they limit their emissions in the future. How will they be convinced of this if the rich countries do not meet Kyoto?

10.- “The Central Government is the only political leader that can really avoid climate change.”

All areas of administration (central, autonomous and local) have competence in this, but with different levels of responsibility. The largest is the Government of the nation, but the local administration has a very remarkable role. Let’s see some examples:

-Building ordinances (that make the installation of solar energy mandatory, that encourage thermal insulation in the construction, renovate homes, etc.). 
-Control and reduction of the energy expenditure of public facilities. Evaluation of CO2 emissions issued by the administration in its work. 
-Exemplary in isolation, priority of energy parameters in new buildings. All this encourages the existence of a network of professionals to which the citizen can go. 
-Renewable energy installations in the municipality: photovoltaic and solar thermal roofs in town hall buildings, favoring the installation of wind power in municipal lands, etc. 
-Tax measures that promote photovoltaics in municipal roofs.
-Sustainable urban planning, eliminating the dispersion model of monofamilial housing. 
-Car traffic deterrence: bike lane, downtown closure, plus public transportation. 
-Local energy agencies to advise / promote investments in efficiency, both for the local industry and for citizens (For example: Class A appliances). 
-Reduce the electricity consumption of public lighting, mainly avoiding overlighting and using streetlights that meet an energy efficiency design. 
-Public awareness of the importance of saving energy in the home, in transportation and in our consumption to avoid the problem of climate change, and others such as air pollution, destruction of nature, etc.