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Climate Change Misconceptions

Recently, there has been an ongoing conversation about climate change. We know that the Earth is heating up and the sea level is rising. In CHEM 303, an Environmental Chemistry course, the professor mentioned that many people have misconceptions about climate change. I think that it is important to discuss these climate change misconceptions and their actual realities. Here are three of the biggest misconceptions in today's society.

Many people believe that recent global warming is caused by the sun. The truth is that the sun is our main source of energy that drives many things such as Earth's climate, and other chemical reactions; however, that does not mean that the sun is the main reason for global warming. Recent satellite information suggests that there has been no difference in solar activity during the period of greatest warming.

Another misconception is that the climate is always changing, so human activities do not effect global warming. According to research however, over the past few decades human influence on climate have become obvious. A major example of this is the rising of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a heat-trapping gas, meaning that the higher concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is leading to less heat that is able to escape, in turn warming the planet. About 80% of manmade carbon dioxide comes from the burning of fossil fuels.

While some people also believe that there is no scientific evidence on the existence/causes of global climate change, many scientists have revealed a strong relationship between manmade CO2 emissions and global warming. This scientific information often remains unfamiliar to the public so I have attached below some informative papers on the subject.

· Gulledge, J., 2012. The Causes of Global Climate Change. Centre for a New American Security, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

· Pew Centre on Global Climate Change, 2009. Key Scientific Developments Since the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report. Available at 13

· GCRP, 2009. Op Cit. 14

· Doran, P.T. and M.K. Zimmerman, 2009. “Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.” Eos: American Geophysical Union Vol. 90, p. 22-23. Available at: 15

-Yoojin Choi

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