Spreading Awareness, Encouraging Action


Did you know . . . ?   Population growth contributes to global warming.

Common Misconceptions

Why is global warming so controversial and confusing?  Here's a list of common climate change misconceptions, posed as statements, followed by GWEN's view, based on a careful review of these misconceptions*:

1. MISCONCEPTION: It's not happening.  Global warming isn't happening.  It is only a scare tactic used by special interest groups seeking money, power and/or attention.

 GWEN's viewClimate change is a reality.  The recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (sanctioned by the United Nations) noted that it is very likely (90% certainty) that climate change is happening and that humans are to blame for our planet's recent warming.  Furthermore, if emissions of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, are not curtailed, it is likely that humans will do irrevocable damage to the Earth's climate.

2. MISCONCEPTION: It's not a problem.  Even if global warming is real, it provides no real threat to humanity.  Who cares if it gets a few degrees warmer?

 GWEN's viewGlobal warming is a problem.  With ocean levels on the rise, high temperature records being broken, and most of Earth's glaciers melting, it has never been more apparent that our climate is changing drastically for the worse.  Despite the former Bush administration standpoint that little needs to be done to combat climate change, almost every other major country has a firm standpoint that citizens and governments must work together to address the problem.

3. MISCONCEPTION: It's normal.  The current warming is part of a natural cycle.  It's ridiculous to think humans could actually change the climate.

 GWEN's viewRapid climate change is not normal.  There are many studies on the cyclical nature of the earth's climate.  Most of these studies show how the earth oscillates between cool and warm periods over many thousands of years.  Never before in the Earth's past have we seen a time of such rapid warming.  There is now overwhelming evidence that links the rapid change in global temperature directly to the rapid increase in human-generated atmospheric greenhouse gases.

4. MISCONCEPTION: It's too confusing.  There are so many studies about global warming, who knows which one is correct?

 GWEN's viewGlobal warming can be confusing.  Let GWEN help clarify the issues.  We agree that there are a lot of complicated issues regarding global warming.  But if one examines the credentials and motivations of the various involved experts, one will find that the vast majority of credible, independent scientists would be in basic agreement with the views expressed here.  Please contact us for further clarification.

Morteratsch Glacier, Switzerland, 1911 & 2005.  Copyright swissinfo.org

5. MISCONCEPTION: It's way off in the future.  Even if global warming is real, it happens slowly.  We'll have plenty of time to fix it in the future.

 GWEN's viewGlobal warming is occurring quicker than most people think, and needs our attention now.  Most scientists agree that we need to begin working hard now to implement solutions to preserve our climate.  There is no quick fix, and we are in danger of passing a tipping point soon!  (See the photos to the right for an example of how climate change is impacting glaciers around the world.)

6. MISCONCEPTION: It's inconvenient to change what we do.  It's too hard to change our current habits.  We don't want to lower our standard of living.

 GWEN's viewChange is a part of life, and often necessary to adapt to evolving life circumstances.  With cooperation between governments, companies, and citizens, most of the needed changes will be easy, and advantageous to our living standards.

7. MISCONCEPTION: It's bad for the U.S. economy to react.  If we try to stop global warming we'll hurt the U.S. economy.

 GWEN's viewOn the contrary, avenues to slow global warming will bring economic incentives and opportunities to U.S. companies.  Our research shows that a positive reaction to the global warming threat will create many new growth and profit opportunities for those who embrace change.

8. MISCONCEPTION: It's not up to me It's not my responsibility.  Why should I try to do anything to slow global warming?

 GWEN's viewGlobal warming is everyone's responsibility.  In the long run, climate change is going to impact every inhabitant of the planet, and as such it is everyone's moral obligation to do what they can to preserve our climate.  One of the best ways to help is to support climate-friendly politicians.

9. MISCONCEPTION: It's hard to see what I can do to help.  Even if I do adjust my thermostat, or buy a fuel-efficient car, it won't do anything in the grand scheme of things.

 GWEN's viewIf everyone does their part, it really adds up!  Just imagine what would happen if no one took action on a cause.  When people work together for a greater good, the results make a huge difference.  In fact, because of human nature, your actions can cause a "multiplier effect" by inducing others to follow your example.

10. MISCONCEPTION: It's pointless for us to do anything if China doesn't.  If other nations aren't going to curtail their emissions, why should the United States?

 GWEN's viewChina and many other nations are far ahead of the United States in climate preservation. China is actually doing more to slow global warming than you might imagine, as is made evident, for example, by the fact that China has higher automobile mileage standards than the United States. China also has much lower carbon dioxide emissions than the United States on a per capita basis -- roughly a quarter of the per capita level in the United States. (Because of its large population, China recently surpassed the United States in terms of total emissions.)

11. MISCONCEPTION: It's just because he wanted to promote himself that Al Gore made "An Inconvenient Truth."  Global warming is a self-serving cause taken up by Al Gore to keep his name in the limelight.

 GWEN's view"An Inconvenient Truth" is an Academy Award-winning documentary that has garnered attention because it accurately portrays the facts and severity of current climate change.  Al Gore has a sincere, heartfelt belief in this cause.  He decided to leverage his status as a visible leader to voice his concerns.  Gore did not invent global warming, nor should his detractors transfer their political leanings to the nonpartisan cause (see below).

12. MISCONCEPTION: It's a liberal cause.  Climate change is promoted by liberals for political gain.

 GWEN's viewGlobal warming is a scientific fact of life.  It knows no political parties, no left or right wings, and no country borders.  We all need to work together, as inhabitants of the same planet, to try to preserve the environment that has nurtured us, our food sources, and our way of life since the dawn of human history.

13. MISCONCEPTION: Using compact fluorescent (CF) light bulbs leads to an increase in mercury in the environment.

 GWEN's viewCompact fluorescent bulbs are better for the environment than incandescent bulbs.  Claims that CF bulbs are bad for the environment because of increased mercury levels are false.  While CF bulbs may contain some mercury, their net impact is less than incandescent bulbs because they require much less electricity.  This means smaller mercury emissions from the number one source of electricity and mercury in America, coal-fired power plants.


*Why should anyone listen to GWEN's views?  Well, thanks for asking.  Here are our top five reasons (please contact us for more if you like)!

1.  GWEN is focused solely on global warming.  It's our forte.

2.  GWEN has broad business, environmental, scientific and socioeconomic expertise.

3.  GWEN is independent.  We are a nonprofit organization, forming our own opinions, without being influenced by special interests on either side of the global warming controversy.

4.  GWEN is open-minded.  We are open to, and have examined, arguments on both sides of the controversy, and have arrived at our conclusions after careful, independent analysis.

5.  GWEN staff have more than 30 years of experience in examining, understanding, and explaining scientifically-complex socioenviroeconomic issues.


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