Who Still Thinks Global Warming Is a Hoax? (Video)

Who Still Thinks Global Warming Is a Hoax?

In this short video, you can find out who still thinks global warming is a hoax and what consequences this kind of thinking has on the entire world

97 per cent of active climate scientists agree that humans are causing climate change.1 Glaciers are melting, tropical storms are changing, and Pacific islands are sinking below sea level. Yet, some people continue to believe that global warming is a hoax.2 Even scarier, some of these people are politicians with both influence and authority. 

The risks of this line of thinking are incalculable. We do not have time to debate whether global warming is a hoax. On the contrary, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) finds that the average temperature of the planet is “likely to reach 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate”. As a result, there will be “hot extremes in most inhabited regions”, “heavy precipitation in several regions”, and “the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions”.3  

The IPCC is the United Nations’ body for assessing the science related to climate change. Its reports are reviewed in several stages to guarantee objectivity and transparency. It does not conduct its own research, and it always remains neutral.4 Their findings are clear. So, in the face of overwhelming and dependable evidence, who still thinks global warming is a hoax?

Politicians who still think global warming is a hoax

President Trump and climate change

Various powerful politicians claim to believe global warming is a hoax. Former US President Donald Trump has expressed contradictory and confusing opinions on climate change. For example, he has referred to it as “mythical”, “nonexistent” and “an expensive hoax”. But, he has also described it as a “serious subject” that is very important to him.5

His true thoughts on the matter may never be clear. However, actions speak louder than words and Trump’s behaviour as president reveals a disregard for environmental concerns. Most importantly, he withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement in 2020.6 

image of Trump who proposes global warming is a hoax

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It intends to limit global warming to well below 2°C. To achieve this target, the signatories aim to peak greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. They also aim to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.7 Thankfully, Trump’s successor Joe Biden returned the US to the Paris Agreement as one of his first acts as president.8

Does President Bolsonaro believe global warming is a hoax?

Another influential politician with questionable views on climate change is right-wing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. As the leader of the country with the majority of the Amazon rainforest within its borders, his actions have serious consequences for the entire world.9 Bolsonaro’s election campaign included promises to exploit the Amazon for economic development.10 Like Trump, he also wanted to leave the Paris Agreement but was forced to back off.11 Since taking the presidency, he has described Brazil’s natural resources as “open for business”.12

Bolsonaro’s environment minister, Ricardo Salles, also thinks global warming is a hoax. He believes it is a “secondary” issue and that many environmental fines are “ideological”.13 Under their leadership, between March and May 2020, the Brazilian government passed 195 executive acts. Each act has the direct or indirect intention of dismantling or bypassing environmental laws. Collectively, they provide impunity for illegal land grabbing in Indigenous Peoples’ territories.14  

The impact of Bolsonaro’s belief and policies on the Amazon rainforest

As a result, the deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon has nearly doubled since Bolsonaro took office.15 Between 2009 and 2018, the country’s annual deforestation rate was about 6,493 square kilometres. After Bolsonaro took office, the amount of tree cover lost per year leapt to 11,088 square kilometres.16 This has a profound effect on the rainforest’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2). Scientists are now finding that the world’s largest rainforest is releasing more CO2 than it is absorbing.17 

How can we stop misinformation leading to people thinking global warming is a hoax?

There is no way to stop people from absorbing misinformation about global warming. Every individual is free to choose what they read. However, it is up to them to decide whether to believe something written by a fossil fuel company, a sensationalist tabloid, or a populist politician is true and accurate.

Education is fundamental to this. We must ensure people are equipped with the critical thinking skills necessary to recognise which publications draw upon mainstream science for their facts and promote points of view for their own gain.

Do politicians really believe global warming is a hoax?

It is highly likely that the politicians who ‘believe’ global warming is a hoax do so because it satisfies their political ambitions. For example, Bolsonaro rose to prominence with the support of Brazil’s huge agribusiness lobby, the ruralistas. As cattle ranchers and soy producers, they are keen to sacrifice the Amazon to expand agriculture.18 Bolsonaro’s rhetoric has consequently reflected this. 

image of Bolsonaro in a meeting with politicians

The changeable convictions of Bolsonaro’s administration

On the international stage, Bolsonaro was also reliant on backing from Trump.19 But now that environmentally-focused President Biden has replaced the popularist in the White House, Bolsonaro appears to be changing his mind on global warming. As a result, he has backtracked on many statements made during his election campaign or earlier during his presidency.

Following Biden’s victory over Trump, Bolsonaro has agreed to toughen environmental targets. For instance, he has committed to ending illegal deforestation by 2030. This accompanies a 50 per cent reduction in Brazil’s greenhouse gases. However, this is dependent upon foreign aid from the US and the international community.20

President Biden’s election campaign included calling on the world to offer Brazil USD $20 billion to stop cutting down the rainforest.21 Negotiations between the two countries have not been entirely successful. But Salles has said that the Bolsonaro administration would be prepared to adhere to the Paris Agreement’s targets by 2050 if they receive USD $10 billion annually in foreign aid.22 He has also said that Brazil will reduce deforestation by 40 per cent if Biden provides USD $1 billion.23

What are the dangers we face if global warming misinformation continues to spread?

The dangers of allowing global warming misinformation to spread are an environmental catastrophe. The IPCC is unambiguous that we need to limit global warming to 1.5°C. This cannot happen unless we stop burning fossil fuel and emitting greenhouse gases.

We must also stop degrading our forests and other nature-based solutions. It would also help to plant more trees and enhance our existing woodland.24 But what happens if we do not listen to scientists?

Changes to global climate

NASA predicts various destructive repercussions of an increase in global temperatures. These include more common wildfires, longer periods of drought for some areas, and more frequent and intense tropical storms.25 Some effects are already evident.

Humans have caused 1°C of global warming above pre-industrial levels by increasing the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.26 As a result, we can see shrinking ice caps, shorter winters and changes in animal and plant behaviour.27 However, the situation will worsen if climate change continues.

Rising sea levels are a serious consequence of global warming. The world’s sea level has risen by about eight inches since 1880. Melting land ice and expanding seawater is causing this change. The level is anticipated to increase by a further one to eight feet by 2100.28 This will be disastrous for all life on Earth.

image of global warming consequences

The effect of global warming in 2050

Time magazine paints a dire picture of our planet in 2050. This may become a reality if we keep burning fossil fuels and permit deforestation to continue at the current rate. Extreme flooding is besieging coastal cities, killing thousands and creating millions of refugees on a regular basis. Supplies for disaster relief are not forthcoming, given the scale of the problem. Air pollution makes life unbearable. Great swathes of the Earth are inhospitable due to droughts, flooding and heatwaves.29 

Meanwhile, melting permafrost is releasing ancient microbes to which we have no antibody protection. Current diseases, such as malaria, cholera and dengue, rage through the world’s remaining populace. Antibiotic resistance, malnutrition and dense populations threaten to overwhelm humanity. The oceans are acidic and practically devoid of marine life. Other food sources are unreliable, thanks to unpredictable and hostile weather conditions. Demand for freshwater explodes into conflicts. Billions of people are destitute refugees. The poor fare worse than the rich.30

The reality of global warming

The IPCC compiles research by thousands of scientists from all over the world. Their work undertakes open and transparent reviews by experts and governments.31 Their findings on climate change are unequivocal. It is real, and we must take action to stop it immediately.

Those who believe global warming is a hoax are ignoring both science and common sense. Politicians who promote this viewpoint are dangerous. They could lead humanity to a dark and dystopian future. Truth and science must prevail over misinformation and private interests.


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