This Is How Climate Change Deniers Are Tricking You
If there’s one takeaway from this misleading climate change graph shared by the conservative National Review, it’s that data visualization is only as honest as the people using it.
National Review, a conservative magazine and website that constantly dismisses the threats posed by runaway carbon emission, tweeted a graph Tuesday showing global temperatures shifting from 1880 to the present day, calling it “the only #climatechange chart you need to see.” The graph, which was originally created by the conservative political blog Power Line, doesn’t lie or use any invented data, but it does use a y-axis scale that could make just about anything seem completely stagnant.
By setting the upper and lower boundaries of the chart at minus 10 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit — two extremes that the planet won’t have to get anywhere near before the catastrophic effects of climate change become apparent — National Review and Power Line are essentially zooming so far out on the problem that it’s impossible to see.
Here’s a chart from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies showing the same information:
The Washington Post summed it up best: “It’s akin to suggesting that Shaquille O’Neal and Mini-Me (aka Verne Troyer) are the same height because they’re both tiny compared to the planet Jupiter.”
Scientific consensus holds that the planet will only need to warm 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, in order to hit the threshold at which the damage will be irreversible.
Twitter users responded to National Review by creating funny, fact-obscuring graphs of their own: