Myths and Facts
About the Environment --
Part I: Global Warming


Myth: Global warming is an environmental disaster caused by humans.

Fact: Temperature variations occur naturally. The measurements of the Meteorological Society of the Palatinate, established in 1781, have shown a regular and minor oscillation in temperatures -- a decade or two of cooling followed by a decade or two of warming. Variations between .5 and one degrees Centigrade fall under the category of normal fluctuation. The net increase in temperature over the last hundred years has fallen within this range, measuring roughly .5 degrees Centigrade.

Myth: Global Warming is melting the polar ice caps, and causing sea levels to rise.

Fact: The mean sea level has not changed in the last century, and ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland are actually growing.

Myth: Carbon dioxide is the main cause of the "Greenhouse Effect."

Fact: Water vapor is the cause of 98% of all greenhouse warming. Although increases in the concentration of any greenhouse gas will affect temperatures, the effects of carbon dioxide are minor.

Myth: Increases in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere can largely be attributed to humans.

Fact: Humans only account for 3.5% of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Nature produces the rest through geysers, the respiration of organisms, springs, and volcanoes. Furthermore, scientists cannot even account for the origin of 50% of all carbon dioxide produced.

Information from Environmental Overkill by Dixy Lee Ray (Regnery Gateway, 1993).


Issue Date: August 20, 1996

Talking Points on the Economy: Environment #22, published by The National Center for Public Policy Research



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