Since the late 2000s, much of the world has become increasingly concerned about the potential for global warming and climate change. Yet, there are still many people who believe that global warming is a hoax or exaggerated. This is because people across the world have been exposed to very different levels of preaching when it comes to global warming. Those who have been actively and persistently exposed to the science and facts behind global warming, and thus are more likely to take action, are usually already convinced of its validity. However, those who have been less exposed, due to either limited access to quality information or general ambivalence towards the issue, may have doubts about the validity of the scientific data.
People who do not believe in global warming have a variety of reasons. For some, the level of political and scientific controversy surrounding the issue makes it difficult to accept its legitimacy. In particular, the lack of action taken by some governments to mitigate the effects of climate change has created mistrust of experts and their recommendations. As a result, many people cling to the doubting voices, calling climate change a ‘hoax’, instead of believing what the science and data tell them. Additionally, most people like to believe that their lifestyles are harmless and rely heavily on their denial of any evidence showing otherwise.
The hoax of climate change has been perpetuated in part, by campaigns and lobbying efforts funded by those companies who have most to gain financially from its denial. These groups specifically target people who are less likely to be convinced by scientific research and data. The term ‘hoax’ has been chosen deliberately as a negative connotation, making it easier for them to spread doubt and distrust in the science that supports climate change, and giving false credibility to the doubts. Those who spread such disinformation often rely heavily on emotionally charged language and exaggeration to make their point, making it harder for people to differentiate between fact and hope.
The insidiousness of the hoax lies in its ability to blind people to the facts of climate change and its increasing effects on our planet. The fact remains that the world is now in danger of – in the very near future – reaching temperatures and levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) that have not been seen since the end of the last Ice Age. Over the last century, the level of CO2 in the atmosphere has risen and is currently at the highest level the Earth has seen in at least 800,000 years. The effects of this increased CO2, in combination with other global factors, have already led to an increase in average global temperatures, melting of glaciers and polar ice caps, rising global sea levels and more intense and frequent natural disasters.
It is easy to understand why people might have trouble accepting climate change as real when it is so often presented as a distant and abstract concept based on extrapolation from data. But, in fact, its effects are already being felt in most parts of the world. Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, weather patterns are shifting, and temperatures in many places around the world are setting new records. In fact, the average global temperature has been increasing over the past century, with the three hottest years on record all occurring in the past decade.
In the face of this overwhelming evidence, the only logical course of action is to accept the facts and start taking urgent action to mitigate the effects of climate change. Adopting more sustainable practices, investing in renewable energy sources, and lobbying governments to limit the damaging effects of our carbon footprint will all be essential steps in reversing the damage already done. People need to reject the suggestion that global warming is a hoax, and take responsibility for our actions. Doing so will allow us to ensure a better and more sustainable future for everyone.