The Facts on Climate Change

Climate Change Confusion get the facts TckTckTck

Though the science behind climate change is indeed complex, one basic fact is not — global warming is happening and it is driving climate change today. We are now seeing the impacts on the climate with record-breaking heat waves, floods, and extreme weather events, all of which were predicted decades ago by the first scientific climate models.

Now, with a growing body of evidence, including examples of dramatic systemic change such as rapidly melting arctic glaciers as well as more subtle scientific measurements of atmospheric gases such as Carbon-12 isotopes – it has been possible to determine that this increase in the warming of both air and sea temperatures is being driven primarily by human influence.

Petermann glacier melting Climate Facts TckTckTck

Photos: Jason Box, Ohio State University (left) & Alun Hubbard, Aberystwyth University, Wales

Human activity adds about 50 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases (CO2e) to our atmosphere each year. Nature’s own carbon cycle is about 750 gigatons of CO2. It may seem that the human contribution is small in comparison, but the reality is that only 40% of our added CO2 can be absorbed by natural carbon sinks like forests, oceans and wetlands. The rest — about 30 gigatons of CO2 — cannot be absorbed and so is added to the atmosphere year after year. With each year, this added CO2 is building a thicker and thicker layer of insulation around the planet, and we’re trapping more of the sun’s heat as a result.

Here’s a brief primer on Climate Change from the Climate Reality Project that explains more:

97% of all active climate scientists believe that rapid climate change is now being driven by human-made carbon pollution, and that we need to quickly transition from fossil fuels (responsible for about 62% of all human CO2 pollution) in order to bring the Earth’s climate system back in balance.

So why all the confusion in the media?

As it turns out, there are many corporations that make a lot of money on fossil fuel production, and they do not want to lose market share to new clean, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar power.  As is documented in the book Climate Cover-Up by James Hogan, these corporations banded together, funneling millions of dollars into anti-climate lobbyists and PR firms. Taking from the Tobacco industry’s playbook they launched a “media war” bent on disinforming the public about the hazards of climate change and the fossil fuels driving it.

Here’s a historic look into both media campaigns from the Climate Reality Project:

For a great general video overview of how climate change works, check out Climate Science in a Nutshell video series. To learn how to talk to a climate skeptic, visit Skeptical Science which offers handy responses to the most common misconceptions and climate change myths. For a quick answers to the Top 10 most asked questions we turn to the Union of Concerned Scientists:

  1. How do we know that humans are the major cause of global warming?
  2. Why does CO2 get most of the attention when there are other greenhouse gases?
  3. What are the latest findings on climate science?
  4. Does air pollution and particulate matter (aerosols) affect global warming?
  5. How does the sun affect our climate?
  6. Is there a connection between the hole in the ozone layer and global warming?
  7. What is the best source of scientific information on global warming?
  8. Will responding to global warming be harmful to our economy?
  9. If we can’t burn it, what should we do with the stores of coal around the world?
  10. Has global warming already started?

Browse Climate Facts:


We can keep global warming below the danger-threshold of 2 degrees C, even below 1.5 degrees of warming. But this is only possible if we make deeper and faster emissions cuts and all governments introduce ambitious policies, backed by strong ...
In business-as-usual scenarios, consumption grows by 1.6 to 3 per cent per year. Ambitious mitigation would reduce this growth by only around 0.06 percentage points a year. This estimate does not take into account economic co-benefits of taki...
 Scientists predict that more than half of the 103 ski resorts in the Northeast are at risk of not being able to maintain a 100-day season by 2039. >> Team Climate
Over the last decade, the ski industry has lost $1.07 billion in aggregated revenue between low and high snow fall years. The corresponding employment impact is a loss of between 13,000 to 27,000 jobs. >> Team Climate
In the Northeast, the length of the snow season will be cut in half. >>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
In the West, snow depths could decline by 25 to 100 percent. >>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Warmer winters will lead to shifts in precipitation from snow to rain, a shorter snow season, and decrease snow cover area. >>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Winter temperatures are projected to rise 4 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit before the end of the century. >>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased in March and April by 1.6% per decade and in June by 11.7% per decade for the last thirty years. >>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
In the Northern Hemisphere, the last thirty years were warmer than any other of the last 1,400 years. >>Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has rise...
In 2013, daily average CO2 measurements exceeded 400ppm for the first time in at least 800,000 years. >> Climate Central
As of November 2013, it has been 345 months and counting that the global average temperature was above the 20th century average. >> Climate Central
Global average temperature has risen 1.6 degrees fahrenheit. >> Climate Central
In the United States, 2013 was the 6th least active hurricane season since 1950 with 13 named storms and 2 hurricanes. >> Climate Central
There were 943 confirmed tornadoes in 2013 in the United States including the widest tornado ever recorded in El Reno, OK at 2.6 miles wide. 1,350 tornadoes are the 30 year average for the region. >> Climate Central
4.15 million acres burned in forest wildfires in the United States in 2013. The Yarnell Fire, in Arizona, was the deadliest fire in the state’s history and 19 firefighters were killed. >> Climate Central
74 % of the United States was in drought in 2012. In 2013, 54 % of the United States was in drought and it was the driest year on record in California. >> Climate Central
63 all-time daily rainfall and 1,392 monthly precipitation records were tied or broken in the United States in 2013.  >> Climate Central
52.6 degrees fahrenheit was the average US temperature in 2013, the 36th warmest year on record. >> Climate Central
For the first time in 2o years, daily record temperature lows beat record highs. >> Climate Central
 The IPCC predicted an annual sea-level rise of less than 2 millimeters per year in 2001. But over the last 15 years, the oceans have actually risen 3.4 millimeters per year, about 80 percent more than projected. >>
Beginning in just eight years we could see Dust Bowl Conditions across large parts of the American west as the baseline condition. Drought will be superimposed on this baseline. >>
Warming in the pipeline because of greenhouse gases already emitted is up to 6.5 degrees F. >>
Forests in the Canadian Rockies have seen a ten times increase in mortality in the last fifty years >>
Forest mortality in the western United States has doubled. >>
The second most important greenhouse gas methane is 105 times more potent of a greenhouse gas than CO2, in the 20-year time frame, not 21 times as previously suggested. >>
Carbon dioxide is increasing 14,000 times faster then anything normal in the last 610,000 years. >>
The Arctic is as warm as any time in the last 44,000 years and maybe the last 120,000 years. >>
Greenhouse gases are 30 percent higher than in 800,000 years and as high as any time in 15 million years >>