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.