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There’s a lot of misinformation out there, so we wanted to set the record straight on a few of the myths we hear most.
Although the sun can influence the Earth’s climate, it is not responsible for the warming trend we’ve experienced during the past decade. Scientists do know subtle changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun are responsible for the comings and goings of the ice ages. However, the pace of warming temperatures experienced has been markedly faster – taking place during the last 150 years, with the majority happening just over the past few decades. In fact, data from NASA released in late 2020 shows the current solar cycle is headed for its lowest level since 1750, which makes this the lowest energy output from the sun in 270 years.
First, we must distinguish the difference between weather and climate. The term weather refers to the short term atmospheric conditions while climate is the weather of a specific region averaged over a long period of time. Global warming is causing the Earth’s average surface temperature to increase. Not only is this leading to heatwaves and droughts, but it is also causing changes in our natural climate systems. Climate change is also making extreme weather events more likely and severe, such as hurricanes which are becoming more intense, moving slower and taking longer to die down.
Climate change is the biggest threat facing polar bears. According to a study conducted by the National Snow & Ice Data Center, over the past 30 years, the Arctic has warmed at roughly twice the rate as the entire globe. Scientists agree that this rapid warming is a signal of human-caused climate change. The loss of sea ice is making it increasingly more difficult for female polar bears to get onto land in late autumn to build their den for the arrival of their cubs. As sea ice continues to disappear due to warming temperatures, polar bears are struggling to find the food they need to survive.
There is a lot we can do about climate change. We each have a part to play in helping to bring about change. From making routine changes in the products we buy and consume to encouraging government leaders to support the policies that focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protect our environment. To avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to limit warming to 2.7ºF, emissions would need to drop to net-zero by 2050. This means we must start cutting emissions by roughly 7.6% each year from 2020 until 2030. Together, we have the power to demand action and to bring positive change for the future of our planet.