Written by on October 13, 2022

A tweet claiming that the sun is the main cause of global warming on earth is false.

“Global warming is a natural process that takes place over thousands of years mainly due to the Earth’s elliptical orbit of the sun and the changing tilt of the Earth. People that think burning fossil fuels causes sea levels to rise should learn about ice ages”, states the twitter claim.

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Sun powers life on Earth; it helps keep the planet warm enough for us to survive. It also influences Earth’s climate. Subtle changes in Earth’s orbit around the Sun are responsible for the comings and goings of the past ice ages, but the warming we’ve seen over the last few decades is too rapid to be linked to changes in Earth’s orbit, and too large to be caused by solar activity.

On the other hand, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC) indicates that the current scientific consensus is that long and short-term variations in solar activity play only a very small role in Earth’s climate. Warming from increased levels of human-produced greenhouse gasses is actually many times stronger than any effects due to recent variations in solar activity.

Source: climate.nasa.gov

For more than 40 years, satellites have observed the Sun’s energy output, which has gone up or down by less than 0.1 percent during that period.  Since 1750, the warming driven by greenhouse gasses coming from the human burning of fossil fuels is over 50 times greater than the slight extra warming coming from the Sun itself over that same time interval.

We looked into these claims indicating that the sun causes global warming and found it to be false. This distorts the public understanding of climate change. The Sun can influence Earth’s climate, but it isn’t responsible for the warming trend we’ve seen over the recent decades. 

This fact-check was produced by Sky 106.1 FM with support from Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, International Fact-Checking Network, and African Fact Checking Alliance network.

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