Earth is a complex place, and its climate follows suit. That may explain why many of us are still confused about what drives climate change. Think you can tell the facts from myths? Find out with this quiz and learn a little something along the way.
Question of 10
Hoax or Not? What percentage of actively publishing scientists think that unprecedented, human-driven climate change is occurring right now?
While it may sometimes seem in the media that scientists are debating whether or not people cause climate change, that's not true. Of all the climate scientists who are currently publishing research, roughly 97 percent agree that Earth is undergoing anthropogenic (i.e.: human-caused) climate change.
True or False: The terms "global warming" and "climate change" mean the same thing.
Climate change is a long-term shift in precipitation, temperature or other climate-related variables. Global warming is a worldwide increase in average surface temperatures. The jury's in: Both things are happening.
What's the difference between climate and weather?
Weather is what's happening today; climate is what's happening long-term.
Weather refers to daily changes in our atmosphere while climate describes weather over a long period of time. So having an unusually cold day doesn't mean that global warming is not taking place.
Climate is what's happening today; weather is what's happening long-term.
Weather changes all the time; climate doesn't change.
Back in the 1970s, did the majority of scientists think the world was cooling?
Even then, a much higher percentage of experts were concerned about anthropogenic global warming than "global cooling" as noted in a survey of the climate science literature published from 1965 through 1979.
Researchers couldn't make up their minds.
Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in Earth's atmosphere. Which of these greenhouse gases is emitted the most in the U.S.?
Carbon dioxide is the winner by a landslide, at 82 percent according to the EPA. CO2 is emitted through burning fossil fuels like coal and wood, and through some chemical reactions, like making cement. Greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming, making our planet hotter.
Fill in the blank: The landmark Paris Agreement was signed by most of the nations of the world in 2016. They pledged to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit the global temperature increase in this century to ____.
3 degrees Celsius
1 degrees Celsius
2 degrees Celsius
Most nations agreed to aim to limit temperature increase to 2 degrees C (or 3.6 degrees F) above preindustrial levels. It may seem small, but that's the temp increase at which scientists believe ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica will melt at unstoppable rates.
Which of these does the most to reduce a person's greenhouse gas emissions?
recycling as much as possible
living without a car
Recycling is great. But scientists say going car-free has a much bigger impact. That was No. 2 on their list of options according to one study. No. 1? Having one less child.
taking one less transatlantic flight
What percentage of plastic waste is recycled each year globally?
Just 9 percent of plastic waste gets recycled. Most people thought the amount was 26 percent, according to a 2017 survey.
Of the 19 hottest years on record, how many have taken place since 2000?
And the other year was in 1998. By the way, we've been keeping modern-style global temperature records since 1880.
Is it too late to reverse the problems of climate change?
You'll get differing answers on this but we think the best one is from climate scientist Kate Marvel. "It’s too late to avoid climate change, but it’s not too late to prevent the worst outcomes," she told The New York Times. Even if the planet is already warming, we still should do what we can limit the damage.