Sri Lanka was among the first 171 countries to sign the Paris Agreement on Climate Change at the High-Level Signature Ceremony of the Paris Agreement held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on April 22 (Earth Day).

This came as a bit of a surprise to us Sri Lankans who are quite ignorant of the terms ‘Global Warming’ and ‘Climate Change’. We have heard many a fact and myth regarding this subject, and sometimes it has been quite difficult to separate the two. Thus, this week’s FYI will delve deeper into the truth behind these Facts and Myths For Your Information.

Myth: Global warming isn’t real
Fact: If you only look at one side of the coin without doing research, you’re left to your own personal preference of what you believe is real. Thwarted by political ambitions, scientific interests, and other factors, it’s hard to truly know what’s real and what conjecture is. Truth is, science isn’t always perfect, but then again, we can’t just ignore what’s happening around us either.

Myth: Global warming causes droughts
Fact: Scientific research shows conflicting reports. If global warming and greenhouse effects really occur, there should be more moisture in the air, not less.

Myth: We can stop global warming if we wanted to
Fact: Conspiracy theories hold strong with oil industries and political leaders being blamed for not stopping ‘global warming’. Truth is, there’s no guarantee that we can do anything about it.

Myth: Global warming will eventually make the earth uninhabitable
Fact: While no one can predict future events, and species have become extinct over time, the fact that the world will cook us to death renders no evidence or support from scientific facts.

Myth: Global warming will only get worse if we don’t stop using oil
Fact: If we stopped burning oil altogether, chances are that wouldn’t stop global temperature from rising. Many factors keep and regulate the earth’s temperature, not just the burning of fossil fuel.

Myth: Seasons are getting shorter
Fact: According to most recent almanacs, summer, spring, winter, and fall are still arriving on time as they have in the past.

Myth: The meat industry is to blame for global warming
Fact: Before the drastic rise in animal farms for food, there were thousands of species that produced methane gases.

Myth: The food chain is being disrupted
Fact: With climate change, scientists argue that the disruption will cause a huge gash in the animal world. So far, no rupture has resulted or caused a kink in the animal food chain.

Myth: Coral reefs are disappearing because of climate change
Fact: Biologists and oceanographers conclude coral reef demise is not conclusive to global warming. Pollution and other factors are also at work.

Myth: Quality of life will diminish
Fact: Climate change has been happening since the dawning of time. People learn how to adjust, adapt and rethink. With renewable energy being tapped into, not only is our quality of life improving, but also our resources.

Myth: Sea levels are rising
Fact: While sea level is rising in some areas, this doesn’t mean it’s uniform. Current research suggests only a 0.2 percent increase of sea level in recent years.

Myth: Carbon dioxide is making our air unsafe
Fact: To breathe air, we need a mixture of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. There’s no evidence the levels of CO2 in the air are toxic.

Myth: Carbon Dioxide is the major greenhouse gas
Fact: Carbon dioxide makes up one of the three percent of major greenhouse gases. Water vapour, Ozone, and N2O make up the rest of greenhouse gases. If there was a 100 percent increase of water vapour, it’d be the same as 3 percent of CO2. Therefore, greenhouse gases comprised a number of gases, not just carbon dioxide.