A screen shot was shared to us through the Debunk Bot, (a whats app number used by the public to share information they would like to verify with fact checkers) and it reads,
“The planet changes climate all the time, it’s normal.”
We clicked on the link accompanied with the screenshot and established that this was a comment on a tik tok video about a serious drought in Kenya, posted on the ABC news, a verified account.
“Welcome to planet earth, Climate changes all the time, that’s why most ancient civilizations are either under sand dunes or tens of feet of water. Climate change is natural.”
FACT: Climate Change is not normal. Climate change according to the United Nations refers to long-term shifts in temperatures and weather patterns. It can be simply explained in the forms it manifests, like extreme heat patterns that cause desertification, droughts/famine, and extreme waters that cause flooding and other effects. These changes are clearly measured over a long period of time like 30 years and in averages.
Over the 4.5-billion-years of earth’s history, it’s true that the climate has changed a lot.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, changes observed in Earth’s climate since the mid-20th century are driven by human activities, particularly fossil fuel burning, which increases levels of greenhouse gas that trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere, leading to the rise in the average temperature.
Dr Michael Mbogga, a lecturer, climate change and spatial Analysisist at the school of Forestry, Environmental and geographical sciences at Makerere University says that the current climate change is neither natural nor normal because human activities are the main contributors.
“Climate is a natural phenomenon, you can claim that climate change is natural but the recent changes in climate are not normal and they are not caused by natural processes,” Dr Michael says.
Natural processes, which have been overwhelmed by human activities, can also contribute to climate change. An article in the Earth’s Changing climate by the National Geographic organization states that there are historical events which came about as a result of natural causes such as the earth’s positioning around the sun.
“The Sahara desert is one of the historical events recorded as a result of the natural process, because of the earth’s positioning around the sun these areas received very little or no rainfall over a period and they lost their vegetation. The green vegetation is evident due to the existence of oil in countries in that desert,” Dr Mbogga adds.
The United Nations states that the current global climate change we are experiencing is majorly caused by fossil fuels which include coal, oil and gas.
“The world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. Warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature. This poses many risks to human beings and all other forms of life on Earth,” the UN states.
The claim that climate change is normal and that the planet changes the climate is not true, because the current changes we are experiencing have been escalated by human activities
This fact-check is produced by Debunk Media Initiative with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network and African Fact-Checking Alliance network.