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4 Facts That Convinced Me Climate Change Is Real

I used to think climate change was a hoax, but after doing some research, I discovered four facts I couldn't deny.
Climate Change Effect On City

I don’t remember when I first learned about global warming, but I do remember when I was first told that it’s a bunch of liberal bullshit.

I went to a private Christian school until third grade, then in fourth grade my parents transferred me to a public school to save money. All was well for a few months, until my teacher started talking to us about saving the planet. She said global warming was destroying the environment and causing the deaths of countless animals.

I had heard this before, but then she said something that scared me: If we don’t start taking care of the Earth, someday millions of people will die, too. She explained that global warming would raise sea levels, cause extreme weather, and make it harder to grow food.

Looking back on it now, I’m amazed that a fourth-grade teacher would be so blunt with her students. It’s debatable whether she should have told us such hard truths at such a young age, but she was right. She was also my parents’ worst nightmare.

When I went home, I told my mom that global warming was destroying the planet and that we needed to start driving less and recycling. You should have seen the look on her face. Her worst fears about sending me to a public school had come true, so she sat me down to “de-indoctrinate” me, as she put it.

This was in the fall of 1989, right around the time global warming was going mainstream. The year prior, James Hansen and many other scientists testified to congress about the dangers of global warming. And in January of 1989, Time Magazine published its famous Endangered Earth issue.

My parent’s were Reagan-loving conservatives who listened to talk radio, so they were convinced that global warming was a scam created by liberals to raise taxes and control our lives. And that’s exactly what she told me.

“You don’t have to worry about global warming,” she said with a smile, as if she were reassuring me that there’s no such thing as the bogeyman.

Despite their many mistakes, my parents were good parents, and I trusted them. So from then on, whenever a teacher brought up global warming or anything to do with the saving the planet, I rolled my eyes and tuned out.

I never argued with my teachers, but I had this smug sense that I knew something they didn’t: All this environmental stuff was bullshit. As my mom said, “It’s a big planet, and there’s plenty of room. And there is no way humans could change the temperature of the entire planet.”

I continued to think this way throughout grade school, high school, college, and into my late twenties. By then, I started to get more and more interested in politics. It looked like the next president was going to be Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama, and I was terrified of what they might do to the country.

Obama had a plan to fight global warming (which was now being called “climate change”). He wanted to pass a cap-and-trade law that would set a nationwide limit on carbon dioxide emissions. He actually told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Under my plan … electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

This confirmed my fears about climate legislation. Elitists like Obama wanted to cause a second Great Depression and make us all dependent on the government, that way they could control our lives and rule us with an iron fist.

Suddenly, I was compelled to start learning about climate change. I wanted to understand it so I could explain to people why it wasn’t true. I started googling things like “What is climate change?” and “Why is carbon dioxide bad?” and “Are temperatures really rising?”

I read a lot of articles that told me what I wanted to hear, but I also read a lot of articles about why climate change is real and a serious problem. I did this on purpose. I figured I couldn’t argue against climate change if I didn’t even know what the climate scientists were saying.

One thing I realized pretty quickly is that there are a lot of scientists who believe humans are causing climate change. I learned that there were thousands of papers on climate change being published every single year, and nearly all of them agreed with the consensus that Earth’s climate is being affected by humans.

This confounded me. How could it be that thousands of educated people from nearly every country had all fallen for the same scam? Were they all in on it? And if so, why?

I could understand people like Al Gore who were in it for money and power, but what about average climate scientists from small universities who don’t make much money? Why would they devote their lives to something they know is bullshit?

It seemed more likely that most of them had been duped. But how? If they studied climate science for a living, at some point wouldn’t they have realized that all the statistics are fake and all the models are nonsense? How come so few of them were blowing the whistle on the whole scam?

Still, this didn’t change my mind. I stopped researching, and for the next couple of years, I continued to believe that climate change was a hoax. However, from time to time I read an article or study about climate change, and I slowly came to understand it.

4 Facts I Couldn’t Deny

There wasn’t a moment when I said, “Holy shit, climate change is real and it’s our fault!” It was very gradual, but eventually I did change my mind, and it’s because I discovered 4 undeniable facts:

  1. Greenhouse gases raise temperatures.
  2. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is rising fast.
  3. Average global temperatures are rising fast.
  4. Humans are emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

Let me break them down one at a time.

1. Greenhouse Gases Raise Temperatures

This is basic physics. Sunlight enters the atmosphere as short-wave radiation, which is absorbed by the surface of the Earth. This warms the surface, which then radiates long-wave radiation back toward space.

As the radiation moves through the atmosphere, it is absorbed by gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and water vapor. These gases then emit the energy in every direction, sending some of it into space and some of it back toward the surface, trapping the heat in our atmosphere.

This is called the greenhouse effect because it’s so similar to how a greenhouse works. The sun’s energy passes through the glass, and some of the heat gets trapped in the greenhouse, keeping it warmer inside than outside.

If it weren’t for the greenhouse effect, our planet would be about 58°F cooler than it is now, with an average global temperature of -0.4°F instead of 57°F. The entire planet would be covered with ice.

Even the most diehard climate deniers can’t deny the greenhouse effect. And as they often point out, greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are a good thing. Without them, we wouldn’t even exist. Unfortunately, too many greenhouse gases is a bad thing.

Once I understood this, I wanted to know the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This led me to the next undeniable fact.

2. The Amount of Greenhouse Gases In The Atmosphere (Especially CO2) Is Rising Fast

Scientists have set up observatories in remote places all around the world where they can measure greenhouse gases without interference from cities and factories. A few examples include Mauna Loa, Hawaii; Barrow, Alaska; and America Samoa.

At these observatories, they measure greenhouse gases through a process called spectroscopy. Basically, they shine light through an air sample and study the effects. By looking at what the light does, they can measure the chemical makeup of an air sample because certain molecules absorb and emit light at certain wavelengths.

Using this process, scientists have observed a sharp rise in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere over the past 60 years or so. It has gone from about 310 ppm (parts per million) back then to about 420 ppm today.

Global atmospheric CO2 concentrations

When I learned this, I told myself, “This doesn’t mean anything. Carbon dioxide levels have fluctuated throughout Earth’s history.”

Although this is true, I soon learned that CO2 levels don’t normally rise this quickly. CO2 in the atmosphere has gone up by 110 ppm in just 60 years, when normally an increase like that would take thousands of years.

How do scientists know this? By looking deep into history using proxy data. For example, ice cores. The deepest one was drilled at the EPICA Dome C site in Antarctica. By examining air bubbles trapped in the ice core, they found that for the past 800,000 years, carbon dioxide has stayed between 170 and 300 ppm, but today it’s at 420 ppm.

So the question is, when did the Earth last have CO2 concentrations this high, and what was the average temperature?

Since ice cores only show information going back 800,000 years, scientists have to use other proxies such as microscopic fossils taken from deep beneath the ocean floor. These fossils contain chemical signatures of past changes in CO2 going back millions of years. And we know this data is reliable because it lines up perfectly with the ice cores and other proxies.

Scientists found that the last time CO2 levels were this high was 3 million years ago during the Mid-Pliocene Warm Period. And using proxy data, they inferred that back then, the global surface temperature was 2.5–4°C warmer than the pre-industrial baseline.

This made me wonder how global temperatures had changed over the past century, and that led me to the third undeniable fact.

3. Average Global Temperatures Are Rising Fast

Before long, I discovered that the 2000s was the warmest decade on record. (Now the 2010s is the warmest decade on record.)

Once again, I told myself, “This doesn’t mean anything.” I knew that temperatures had fluctuated throughout Earth’s history due to all sorts of things like solar cycles, changes in Earth’s orbit, and the movement of tectonic plates. So why should I care that temperatures were fluctuating again?

But just as I learned that CO2 doesn’t normally rise this quickly, I soon learned that temperatures don’t normally rise this quickly, either.

Scientists have reconstructed the approximate temperature of the Earth over the past 65 million years by measuring oxygen isotopes in fossils like foraminiferan. Here’s what it looks like:

Temperature of Planet Earth - 65 Million Years

Throughout Earth’s history, there have been warm periods with little to no ice on the planet, and there have been cold periods where much of the land was covered in glaciers.

As you can see, for the past 12,000 years, we have been in an unusually stable epoch known as the Holocene. It is no coincidence that agriculture began shortly after the beginning of this epoch. Since temperatures fluctuated by no more than 1°C, weather patterns became very predictable, allowing farmers to know when to plant and harvest their crops.

By the time I started learning all this, the average global temperature had risen just under 1°C. It didn’t sound like much, until I realized that even before the Holocene, temperatures usually took thousands of years to change by 1°C. In fact, Earth hadn’t warmed this quickly in tens of millions of years.

As much as I wanted to believe that the rise in temperature was due to changes in the Earth’s orbit or solar variations, the most obvious culprit was greenhouse gases. Earth’s tilt and orbit change too slowly, and energy from the sun hadn’t increased enough to cause a spike in temperature like this.\

Global Temperature Over Past 2000 Years

But despite everything I had learned, I still wasn’t convinced humans were to blame. I thought, “Okay, temperatures are rising and it’s probably because of greenhouse gases, but how do we know all the greenhouse gases are coming from humans?”

I decided that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide were probably coming from volcanoes or something, so there was nothing we could do about it, anyway. It would be a little while longer before I learned the next undeniable fact.

4. Humans Are Emitting Huge Amounts Of CO2 And Other Greenhouse Gases

It had been a while since I did any research on climate change. Then in 2013, I learned about an article published in Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry. Scientists did a huge synthesis of information where they added up the amount of CO2 coming from volcanoes, hydrothermal vents, and mid-ocean ridges every year. The total came to 645 million tons.

“I knew it!” I said to myself. Most CO2 was being emitted by the Earth itself, not humans. I wanted to know how that number compared to the amount of CO2 humans emit, so I googled, “How much CO2 do humans emit every year?”

The answer made my stomach sink. It was about 35 billion tons per year—over 50 times the amount emitted by volcanoes, vents, and ridges. I figured they must be underestimating the amount coming from volcanoes and overestimating the amount coming from humans.

I wanted to settle the question once and for all, so I googled, “How do we know CO2 is coming from humans?” Most of the articles said there was no source other than humans that could cause such a large rise in CO2, but they all just assumed humans were the cause—none of them could prove it. Then I learned about isotopic signatures.

Now bear with me because this is important. Isotopes are different forms of the same element. Carbon, for example, comes in three forms: carbon-12, which has 6 neutrons; carbon-13, which has 7 neutrons; and carbon-14, which has 8 neutrons. 98.9% of carbon atoms on Earth are carbon-12, and about 1.1% are carbon-13 (there are only trace amounts of carbon-14).

Plants use carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to grow, but they prefer carbon-12 instead of carbon-13. As a result, almost all of the carbon in plants is carbon-12. And since fossil fuels are the remains of ancient plants, almost all of the carbon in them is carbon-12, as well. So when you burn plants or fossil fuels, something like 99.9% of the carbon released is carbon-12.

Now let’s get back to the question of whether all the additional CO2 in the atmosphere is coming from humans. Based on what we know about carbon isotopes, we can expect that as humans burn fossil fuels, the percentage of carbon-12 in the atmosphere will increase while the percentage of carbon-13 will decrease. And that’s exactly what’s been happening. It’s called the Suess effect.

By looking at tree rings and ice cores, scientists can examine the composition of the atmosphere in the distant past. Up until about 200 years ago when the industrial revolution began, 98.4% of the carbon in the atmosphere was carbon-12. Ever since then, as the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased, the percentage of it that contains carbon-13 has decreased. (This video explains it better than I can.)

So unless there’s a continent we don’t know about that has been on fire for the past two centuries, the only possible sources of all this carbon dioxide are fossil fuels and deforestation.

Accepting The Reality of Human-Caused Climate Change

Realizing that all the additional CO2 must be coming from humans was the final nail in the coffin. I wasn’t happy about it, but I reluctantly admitted that not only is climate change real, it’s our fault it’s happening so quickly.

Here are the 4 undeniable facts again:

  1. Greenhouse gases raise temperatures.
  2. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is rising fast.
  3. Average global temperatures are rising fast.
  4. Humans are emitting huge amounts of greenhouse gases.

Unless you can prove one of these facts wrong, you have to admit that humans are changing the climate. And once you realize that, you’ll realize how much danger we’re in, but I’ll talk more about that in a future article.

Right now, I want to speak directly to any conservative climate skeptics who are reading this. When I acknowledged that climate change is real, did I start reading books by Al Gore, donating to Nancy Pelosi, watching speeches by Barack Obama, and listening to podcasts with Hillary Clinton?

Of course not! I still hated nearly every Democrat in office, and I still do today.

Thanks to the mainstream media, many people in America have this idea that if you’re not on the red team, then you have to be on the blue team. They tell you it’s one or the other, but that is bullshit. Just because you recognize the scientific evidence for climate change doesn’t mean you have to start watching CNN all day.

If you’re like I used to be, you might believe that Al Gore, Barack Obama, and other prominent liberals are spreading a climate hoax in order to enrich themselves and control people.

The truth is so much worse.

They know climate change is spinning out of control and that it’s going to cause mass suffering for billions of people, but they’re pretending everything will be okay thanks to solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles. Why? In order to enrich themselves and control people.

Many of them are heavily invested in green energy (along with fossil fuel energy), and they want to keep the public calm and passive for as long as possible while they build their fortunes and attempt to insulate themselves from the coming climate disasters.

I’m not against green energy (although the damage it does to ecosystems is pretty awful), but the problem is that green energy is used as false hope that we can maintain growth and business-as-usual indefinitely. We can’t.

There literally aren’t enough metals in the ground to build the amount of renewables necessary to replace our fossil fuel infrastructure. Besides, without fossil fuels we can’t produce cement, plastic, and ammonia (which we need for fertilizer).

So we have two choices:

  1. Decarbonize now and accept a vastly reduced standard of living so we can leave a livable planet to future generations.
  2. Continue using fossil fuels and make the planet unlivable for future generations while hoping that green energy will swoop in and save us at the last minute.

Most liberal leaders want us to do the latter. Don’t believe me? Then explain why Biden approved the Willow Project. And not just that. Biden has approved more drilling permits than even Trump did.

How can this be if Biden believes in climate change? Because he doesn’t care. Biden just wants to keep gas prices low so he can get reelected. He knows the Willow Project is disastrous for the climate, but he’s more interested in maintaining the status quo so he and his rich donors can continue accumulating wealth and power.

Obama was no better. During his administration, US crude oil production increased by 65%. And he actually bragged about it! He said, “And by the way, American energy production, you wouldn’t always know it, but it went up every year I was president. And you know that whole suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer … that was me, people.”

So you see, you can accept that climate change is real and still think Democrats are corrupt. Just know that Republicans are also corrupt. This whole damn system of legalized bribery is corrupt, which is why we’re pretty much screwed.

I’m not saying we should give up. The less damage we do the the planet, the better, but it’s already too late to save this civilization.


Several years ago, I started explaining to my mom why climate change is real and what it means for the future. She was skeptical at first, but eventually she changed her mind. Now she’s just as concerned as I am.

Why did we change our minds when most people dig in their heels no matter how much evidence they see? Because we believe it’s okay to admit when you’re wrong. If you admit that you were wrong, then it means you’re not wrong anymore.

If you were wrong about something, wouldn’t you want to know about it? Then you owe it to yourself to investigate both sides of every issue. Forget about political parties and media personalities and find out what the majority of experts are saying.

You may not like what you find, but at least it’ll be the truth.