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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen January 31, 2023

Copious evidence proves climate change is not a ‘fraud’

If Your Time is short

  • Climate change is not a fraud. 
  • A vast majority of the world’s scientists agree that climate change is real and driven by greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from human activity.

Multiple social media posts continue to downplay or, in some cases, outright deny the existence of climate change despite overwhelming evidence supporting the scientific consensus it exists and is fueled by human activity. 

One Facebook post shared Jan. 25 went as far as calling the concept a "fraud." 

Nick Adams, a conservative pundit, shared a post featuring a photo of himself with text superimposed on the image assailing climate change. 

"Global warming is the most significant fraud perpetrated on humanity this century," Adams said in the text. 

Adams included a caption with the photo that dismisses technology meant to combat climate change, saying, "no more windmills, no more solar panels and no more electric cars." 

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

PolitiFact has debunked similar claims about climate change being a hoax or scam in the past. 

Adams doesn’t explain why he says climate change is a fraud; however, evidence proving its existence is plentiful and dates as early as the 1800s. 

The concept of the greenhouse effect, where gases in the Earth’s atmosphere trap and retain the sun’s heat, was first proposed in 1824 by French physicist Joseph Fourier

Fourier calculated that, based on its size and distance from the sun, Earth should have been colder than it was in the 1820s. He theorized that Earth’s atmosphere acted as an insulator, trapping heat close to the planet’s surface. 

Following Fourier’s theory, scientists in separate experiments during the late 1800s observed that certain gases such as carbon dioxide exhibited heat-absorbing properties. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers carbon dioxide one of the primary greenhouse gases contributing to climate change. Nearly 80% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States in 2020 were carbon dioxide.

Although the Earth’s climate has changed throughout its history, NASA said the current warming trend the planet is undergoing is happening too rapidly to be natural. 

Human activity spurred by the Industrial Revolution caused an increase in burning fossil fuels, releasing large amounts of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere. 

"It is undeniable that human activities have produced the atmospheric gases that have trapped more of the Sun’s energy in the Earth system," NASA’s website said. "This extra energy has warmed the atmosphere, ocean, and land, and widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere, and biosphere have occurred."

The release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from human activity is happening at a rate that’s 250 times faster than from natural sources following the last ice age, according to NASA. 

Earth’s average temperature has increased by around 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, when modern temperature measurements began, and continues to rise, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration reported.

Besides the evidence of climate change’s existence, NASA said 97% of "actively publishing climate scientists" agree it’s real and driven by humans. 

A vast majority of domestic and international scientific organizations acknowledge the reality of climate change and humanity’s role.

Our ruling

A Facebook post claimed climate change is the "most significant fraud perpetrated on humanity."

Most of the world’s scientists found that climate change is real and fueled by human activity. 

Climate change’s impact on the world can be traced back to the 1800s, when the Industrial Revolution led to an increase in the burning of fossil fuels and a corresponding release of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere. The gases trap heat from the sun, warming the planet and causing temperatures to rise.

We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post (archive), Jan. 25, 2022

PolitiFact, "No, NASA didn’t say human-caused climate change is a hoax," Feb. 16, 2021

PolitiFact, "No, home mortgages don’t prove climate change is a scam," April 26, 2021

Irish Times, "How Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect," March 21, 2019

Scientific American, "Why we know about the greenhouse gas effect," May 16, 2013

Environmental Protection Agency, Overview of Greenhouse Gases, May 16, 2022

NASA, "How Do We Know Climate Change Is Real," accessed Jan. 30, 2023

NOAA, Climate Change: Global Temperature, Jan. 18, 2023

NASA, Do scientists agree on climate change, accessed Jan. 30, 2023

NASA, Scientific Consensus: Earth's Climate Is Warming, accessed Jan. 30, 2023

California Office of Planning and Research, List of Worldwide Scientific Organizations, accessed Jan. 30, 2023

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Copious evidence proves climate change is not a ‘fraud’

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