Plants need carbon dioxide
Plants do need carbon dioxide (CO2) to live. Plants and forests remove and store away huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year. But the problem is, there’s only so much carbon dioxide they can absorb and this amount is getting less, as more and more forests are cut down across the world, largely to produce our food.
Let’s be clear, CO2 itself does not cause problems. It’s part of the natural global ecosystem. The problem is the quantity of CO2 that’s being produced by us as humans; there hasn’t been this level of CO2 in the atmosphere for 800,000 years.
The Earth’s climate is always changing
Over the course of the Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history, the climate has changed a lot. This is true. But the rapid warming we’re seeing now can’t be explained by natural cycles of warming and cooling. The kind of changes that would normally happen over hundreds of thousands of years are happening in decades.
Global temperatures are now at their highest since records began. In fact, 17 of the 18 warmest years on record have all taken place since 2001.
This much faster warming corresponds with levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which have been increasing since the industrial revolution. So, when people talk about climate change today, they mean anthropogenic (man-made) climate change. This is the warming of Earth’s average temperature as a result of human activity, such as burning coal, oil and gas to produce energy to fuel our homes and transport and cutting down trees to produce the food we eat.
Renewable energy is just a money-making scheme
It’s a commonly-held belief that renewable energy is expensive, but this simply isn’t true! Solar power and onshore wind are the cheapest ways of generating electricity; meaning the energy they produce is cheaper than using nuclear, gas and fossil fuels.
The cost of renewables has fallen faster than anyone could have predicted. And yet the government are still backing dirty fossil fuels. Did you know the UK has the biggest fossil fuel subsidies in the EU? That’s right, they spend an eye-watering €12bn (£10.5bn) a year supporting dirty fossil fuels.
Animals will adapt to climate change
This one isn’t a myth, Darwin got the adaptation part right. But let’s be clear, some plants and animals will adapt but not all.
To survive, plants, animals and birds confronted with climate change have two options: move or adapt. There are several examples of species that have begun to adapt to climate change already.
But increasingly, it’s a different story for many. Given the speed of climate change, it’s becoming impossible for many species to adapt quickly enough to keep up with their changing environment. And, as habitats are destroyed by roads, cities and dams, moving becomes increasingly difficult. For those that can’t move or adapt, the future doesn’t look so positive.
China is the one responsible for climate change
Despite being one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China is currently one of the largest investors in renewables. The increase in investment has been in response to the rapid growth of green business and the need to clean up air pollution in its major cities.
Climate change is a global issue and we all have a responsibility to step up to the climate crisis. Action on it will need serious investment but has the potential to deliver huge benefits for nature and people. We all need to raise our voices and fight for our world!