The new ones climate change deniers are those who do not deny it as such, but they do free the human being from all fault. According to them, it is a natural phenomenon, which has always occurred, which is why they believe that both its consequences and its anthropogenic origin. A good example of this type of deniers is the show (to call it something) offered last August 29 on the program Everything is a lie by Esperanza Aguirre and Francisco Javier Herviasin response to the intervention of Javier Penabiologist and environmental communicator.
While the latter gave contrasting data on the consequences of climate changeThey both insisted that humans had nothing to do with it. In addition, they refused to be deniers. But, by definition, they were denying something: anthropogenic climate change.
There are enough studies that show that, despite what they say, we are playing a key role in this climate change. Throughout history, long before humans walked the Earth, there have been other changes in climate. But most were much more gradual. The progressiveness it is essential so that the ecosystems can respond accordingly and that we are stepping on the accelerator does not help at all. That is unquestionable and, given the scientific data that we have, opposing it does not stop being denialism.
What is climate change?
Starting with the simplest, it should be noted that climate change is defined as a variation in the state of the earth’s climate system. Throughout the Earth’s 4.6 billion year history, Several of these changes have occurredmainly characterized by ice ages interrupted by periods of heat.
there have been progressive or very abrupt. Generally, the former have been caused by continental drift, orbital parameters or variations in solar radiation. The abrupt have been caused by phenomena such as the fall of a meteorite or a period of very high volcanism. The former, being so progressive, gave rise to species could adapt and the ecosystems did not suffer too much. Instead, the seconds provoked great mass extinctions. Nothing could be done against any of them. There were no humans involved; but even if there were, we would have had nothing to do.
Now we can intervene, basically because we are the ones who are generating the change. This time, climate change is being caused by a global warming derived from increased greenhouse effect. And this excessive greenhouse effect is being promoted above all by the increase in gas emissions such as carbon dioxide (CO2).
What does the greenhouse effect have to do with human activity?
The greenhouse effect is always presented as the bad guy in the movie. However, it is important to remember that without him the Earth would be a much more hostile planet.
The gases that are retained in its atmosphere help the solar radiation that is reflected from the Earth’s surface to return to it instead of dissipating in space. If this were not the case, the average temperature of the Earth would be -18°C
These greenhouse gases come from natural processes, such as bacterial activity, the digestive processes of some animals or forest fires, among others. In addition, some of these gases can also be removed naturally from the atmosphere. For example, by photosynthesisPlants capture large amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. All this was in a very good balance until we humans arrived. Initially we increased part of those emissions, exploiting some of those natural processes. But they did not reach the point of breaking the aforementioned balance. The problem came with industrialization.
From that moment, the exploitation of fossil fuels led to a drastic increase in these harmful emissions. Both from the factories and from the means of transport, as well as to obtain home energythis combustion led to the levels of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases were far above what plants could take in naturally. In addition, other apparently more natural activities, such as livestock, drastically increased the levels of gases such as methane.
For climate change deniers, all of this is irrelevant. But the truth is that it is more than proven that poses a serious problem.
The mistake of the deniers
In 2013, a team of scientists from the Stanford University prepared a report in which the great difference between current climate change and those that have occurred in the past.
This report was based on the study of changes in the Earth’s climate in the last 65 million years. In all that time, one of the most drastic changes occurred when the planet emerged from a ice Age. There was an increase in global temperature of between 3 and 5°C. This is just what is expected to rise in not too long if we do nothing to prevent it. The difference is that then the change occurred in 20,000 years and now it could happen in decades. There was also a decrease in between 11 and 12°Cbut it occurred in more than 34 million years.
In addition, that same report pointed out that if global temperatures rise 1.5 °C in the next centuryas might be the case under current trends, the growth rate of this climate change would be 10 times faster than any observed in 65 million years. And even worse, if an increase of 5 °C is reached, we would be facing a rate 50 to 100 times faster.
For all this, in the Paris Climate Conferences Held in 2015, a total of 195 countries signed an agreement committing themselves to use all possible means so that the global temperature does not increase by up to 2 °C with respect to pre-industrial figures.
Since then, attempts have been made to find ways to reduce emissionsSome countries are more successful than others. However, the temperature continues to rise, achieving the goal seems increasingly complicated and, unfortunately, the consequences are already beginning to be noticeable.
The global temperature is not what they think
Global warming and climate change are not characterized just because it’s hot. In fact, one of the big problems of the denialists is that they perceive that an increase of 2 °C is nothing. If yesterday we had a maximum of 28 °C and today 30 °C and no one has died, where is the tragedy?
But it is that, in reality, those 2 °C It has nothing to do with it. When we talk about global temperature we are actually referring to something known as radiative equilibrium temperature. It is something much more uniform, which derives from a law of physics, known as the law of Stefan-Botzmann. According to this, there is a mathematical relationship between temperature and the amount of energy emitted by radiation. Therefore, by measuring this, something similar to an average of the global temperature of the planet.
Now, being a fact that encompasses the entire Earth, it is much harder to disturb than the temperature at a point, which logically changes more easily. It is understood that while at one point on Earth the temperature rises, at another it may be falling and, therefore, the average remains similar.
The consequences of climate change
An increase of 2 °C is a problem that we can already see, for example, with the disappearance of some glaciers. This, in turn, supposes a rise in sea level that is already beginning to be tangible in some parts of the planet. And it will be even worse.
In fact, in 2017 NASA published a report in which provided a list of 300 cities that could be submerged in 2100 due to rising sea levels, coastal erosion or extreme weather events, also caused by climate change. Among them were, for example, Tokyo, New Orleans or Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia.
Also, if the ice melts too quickly, the permafrost layer under which some microbes are asleep could bring back diseases of the past. And it is not the only way that climate change has spread diseases. Some mosquitoes known to transmit certain pathogens are finding themselves further and further from their usual ecosystems, with all that that entails.
It goes without saying that the increase in global temperature will also bring us more extreme weather events. The intense heat waves this summer, trivialized by deniers, are an appetizer. More DANAs are expected, but also droughts. In addition, all this can affect our diet, by damaging crops or hindering livestock.
There are plenty of reasons why we should get down to work and try to take care of our planet. Because it is not only about what we are already experiencing, but about the nightmare that we will leave to those who are to come. Climate change is a reality and looking the other way will do nothing to fix it.