The best way to respond to climate change misinformation is to share the best information.
Social media is flooded with misinformation. One MIT study found that false stories spread six times faster than the truth on Twitter. So the best way to stop falsehoods about climate change is to spread the facts at every opportunity.
1. Climate change is real and human-made, and there is overwhelming scientific consensus that this is true.
Human-produced pollution is the main cause of climate change and this will become much more dangerous in the future if we do not act.
NASA, the National Academy of Sciences and every major scientific organization recognizes this. Indeed, 97 percent of climate scientists worldwide agree that climate change is real and driven by human activity. In the scientific world, that is consensus.
2. All major climate change reports are thoroughly researched and based on the most accurate, up-to-date science.
For example, the National Climate Assessment (NCA) report was developed and written by NOAA, NASA, the Department of Defense and experts at 10 other agencies. It was based on the most up-to-date scientific literature and matches the conclusions of thousands of other scientists around the world.
The report includes the latest attribution studies for Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall and devastated parts of the U.S. in 2017. Studies cited in the report show how human action made the storm about three times more likely to happen and increased Harvey's rainfall by at least 15 percent, with a best estimate of 38 percent, based on data culled since 2016.
3. Climate change studies are transparent.
Climate change reports from major climate science institutions around the world are entirely based on thoroughly peer-reviewed scientific research, are further reviewed by external experts at various stages of development and are often even publicly available in draft form and open to review by the general public.
For example, the NCA report's development was open for review at every step. The rough draft was open for public comment and the authors were even required to respond to every public comment. The report was also reviewed and endorsed by major scientific institutions. Every statement in the report is meticulously documented with sources and citations.
4. Addressing climate change will strengthen the economy.
Working to stop climate change can drive economic growth, while unchecked climate change is expected to have dire economic consequences. For example, Citibank estimates the costs of unchecked climate change at more than $40 trillion by 2060.
Meanwhile, more than 4 million Americans now work in wind, solar, energy efficiency and other clean energy jobs — far more than the 160,000 who work in the coal industry — and experts estimate that investing in revitalizing water infrastructure in the U.S. could generate 1.3 million more jobs.
5. Climate scientists are underpaid — or not paid at all — for their work.
Scientists often volunteer their time to write climate change reports. For example, the authors of the NCA report did not receive compensation for writing the report.
6. Federal climate change reports are credible because they are written by scientists, not politicians.
The NCA authors, for example, are not political appointees, but impartial, independent civil servant scientists whose work is not directed by the politicians but by the facts.
It's worth noting that fossil fuel companies fund climate studies too. In peer-reviewed climate studies by Exxon Mobil from 1977 to 2014, 83 percent acknowledged the reality of climate change, and that it is caused by humans.
7. Climate change reports consider a wide range of possible future scenarios.
Major climate change assessments from reputable scientific institutions — such as the U.S. government’s National Climate Assessment and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s special report on different levels of warming — consider a wide range of future conditions, from the use of advanced technologies that remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, to escalating emissions from the absence of climate action.
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