Ben Shapiro on Climate Change: Fact Versus Fiction

Today’s speaker, conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro, wants you to believe that he is all about the facts. But the fact is, when it comes to climate change, he is clueless. Below is a collection of brazenly, egregiously, and finally hilariously ignorant quotes by Shapiro, taken from a video of one of his lectures—on a topic he acknowledges he knows nothing about. I have responded to each with some actual facts, which he would do well to read up on.

 

Fiction: “The idea that the Arctic ice is disappearing is nonsense.”

Fact: Arctic sea ice goes through annual cycles because of differences in the amount of solar radiation reaching Earth at different times of the year. Every September, the Arctic thaws to its minimum annual area of ice. According to satellite data collected by NSDIC and NASA, September Arctic sea ice has declined at an average rate of 13.3 percent per decade.

 

Fiction: “The hockey stick graph…[that] shows that over the last century, century and a half, that the climate along with carbon emissions go like that *waves hand in upward motion*…is falsified data.”

Fact: Michael Mann, author of the hockey stick graph depicting a warming trend in the Northern Hemisphere over the past 1,000 (not 150) years, was cleared of all allegations of data falsification by a University of Pennsylvania investigation in 2010, and again by a National Science Foundation investigation in 2011.

 

Fiction: “The earth—basically—has not been warming for the past 15 years or so.”

Fact: Global average temperature data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that the five warmest years on record have occurred since 2010, and 2016 was the hottest year recorded since temperature measurements began in 1880.

 

Fiction: “Nobody…[can] tell you what we’re supposed to do about climate change.”

Fact: Environmentalists have been tremendously thorough in outlining how to combat climate change. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory found that currently available technologies are “more than adequate” to provide 80% of electricity generation the United States by 2050. TheSolutionsProject.org has created a detailed plan to shift every state in the country, and the majority of countries in the world over to 100% renewable energy.

 

Fiction: “If you take this problem as seriously as the left takes it, we’re going to have to plunge people into living standards of the third world.”

Fact: Switching over to renewables would create over 4 million permanent jobs, save over 600 billion dollars in annual health costs, and prevent over 45,000 deaths a year in the U.S. alone by 2050, according to The Solutions Project. The World Bank warns that failing to address climate change will endanger 158 trillion dollars in assets and 1.3 billion people’s lives worldwide.

 

Fiction: “I promise you, China is not going to stop developing its carbon emissions.”

Fact: China—where a wind turbine is installed every 30 minutes—is investing $361 billion dollars into renewable power generation, which is estimated to create 13 million jobs in the sector by 2020.

 

Fiction: “Environmentalism is a luxury of the rich…When you’re in the third world…you don’t give a damn.”

Fact: Voluminous research, such as a report published in the journal Nature, shows that the poorest regions will suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change, while rich countries are the least vulnerable. For this reason, environmental activism is taking place all around the world, particularly in at-risk areas. 350.org has documented climate action campaigns in 188 different countries.  

 

Fiction: “If there were climate change, the entire heartland of the country would become three times more productive in terms of crop productivity.”

Fact: It is well established that climate change will cause agricultural productivity to decline overall, by 17 percent by 2050 according to a study published in the journal PNAS. Climate change-fueled famine is already becoming a reality around the world, in places like Madagascar and Yemen.

 

Fiction: “The climate has always been changing, which is why—Pangaea!”

Fact: Global temperature changes normally happen gradually over 100,000 cycles. But, since the Industrial Revolution, Earth has warmed far more rapidly, by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in less than a century and a half. Also, Pangaea was the result of tectonic plate activity.

 

“On the climate change issue, I’m not going to pretend that I’m an expert in, in reading the studies.” —Benjamin Aaron Shapiro.

 


Austin is an environmental activist, writer, and musician from Montclair, NJ.


'Ben Shapiro on Climate Change: Fact Versus Fiction' have 5 comments

  1. March 16, 2017 @ 7:13 am Michael Flores

    Arctic ice point: Sure, youre right it has been disappearing.

    Hockey stick graph point: You left out a huge point that he says that says that its too short a period to really do climate change statistics. And that he had issues with HOW they recorded it, though maybe falsified was strong wording.

    15 Years point: You totally ignored his point and just said that summers are hotter. The average global temperature really has not changed very much if at all in the last 15-19 years. Hes not wrong. Saying that summers are hotter does not disprove his global temperature point.

    Nobody can tell you what to do point/If you take this problem as seriously as the left takes it point: If youre implying that he says that the left has no answers, but then your second argument is that they do have solutions but he implies theyre extreme. If you’ve listened to his other lectures he actually says that their solutions would just be unpalatable with our current economic needs. He says that the market needs to invest more into finding more efficient sources of energy, because right now Oil and Coal are vastly more efficient than any other renewable power except nuclear, which is dangerous.

    Luxury of rich point: I mean this is more debatable, hes implying that third world countries need to use those kinds of power to even survive. According to the center for global development developing countries are responsible for 63% of the current carbon emissions.

    Heartland crop point: National geographic has actually said that it does help crops in some cases, studies that the EPA puts outs also seem to suggest the same. Though I think he was being a little sarcastic.

    Pangaea: Really hope he mispoke, but youre right. And on your last point, ben shapiro has said in other lectures that hes completely willing to say that climate change may be definitely happening, and we may definitely be the cause of it, but he has not agreed with any of the solutions put forth so far.

    Reply

    • March 16, 2017 @ 8:09 pm Austin Tannenbaum

      Hey Michael,

      First point, with regard to the hockey stick graph being too short a period, I addressed that by pointing out Shapiro gets the time period wrong. He says the graph represents a century, century and a half when in reality it’s a period of 1,000 years.

      Second point, not sure where you’re getting summers from, I’m talking about annual global average temperatures over sea and land. Please do take a look at the link if you’re still confused. Incidentally, I find it disingenuous for Shapiro to cite that a century and a half of data is too short a period “to do climate change statistics” and then attempt to use a 15 year period as evidence.

      Third point, Shapiro explicitly says that 1) one that no one knows what to do, and 2) if we take it seriously our living standards will decline, both of which are patently false. It’s not the solution to climate change that is extreme, it’s the problem. Food and water shortages, infrastructure damage, mass displacement, disease threaten living standards. A shift to renewable energy, which will create a job-rich sector of the economy, decrease pollution, and help avoid climate disruption, will raise them. Again, I encourage you to read the links in the article if you are unfamiliar with the various solutions that have been proposed, and the benefits that many economists and think tanks have said they’d have.

      Fourth point, not sure what the “it” is that you’re claiming is debatable, but it is unequivocally true that impoverished areas are most susceptible to disruptions of our climate. Of course countries need energy to survive, but they can power themselves with renewables if the proper investments are made. And, unlike fossil fuels, renewables can be decentralized. Solar panels are already helping countries like Zimbabwe power the lights of their schools at night. Please note that for these countries to survive in the long term, they need climate change not to happen. Otherwise, they will not be able to grow enough food, as is happening throughout Africa, or even worse will be swept underwater, as is happening to Pacific island nations already.

      Fifth point, overall agricultural productivity will decline, and significantly. Check out the study I cited.

      Sixth point, I think his “Pangaea” comment is just the most obvious indication of how unqualified he is to speak on this subject.

      Last point, not sure what “may be definitely” means, but casting doubt is an age old tool used to prolong action that threatens an industry’s profits. And he is clearly unfamiliar with the myriad viable solutions put forth if, again, he thinks there are none or that they would plunge us into poverty.

      Reply

  2. March 16, 2017 @ 3:45 pm Beth

    Why this photograph?

    Reply

  3. May 8, 2017 @ 3:01 am Anderson

    Greetings! Very helpful guidance on this article!
    It’s the little changes that make the largest changes.
    Thanks a lot for sharing!

    Reply

  4. May 8, 2017 @ 5:08 am Chester

    Saved as a favorite, I really enjoy your site!

    Reply


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