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The Polish Geological Institute questioned the human impact on global warming. Now he apologizes

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The Polish Geological Institute reported on Monday that the human impact on the climate is “overestimated” and that the planet will begin to cool in the next century. After the criticism, the institution apologized for providing information “contrary to scientific findings” and being “scientific speculation by the author of the text.” – This text will deepen the questioning of the results of research on climate change – says science popularizer Tomasz Rożek.

The Polish Geological Institute – Polish Research Institute (PIG-PIB) in a text sent to the Polish Press Agency on Monday (April 22) provided information that “modern warming will probably reach its maximum at the end of this century, after which another cooling will begin.”

The Polish Geological Institute writes about global warming

“The impact of increased greenhouse gas emissions (on climate – editor's note), primarily as a result of the burning of fossil fuels by humans, is significantly overestimated because the role of parallel warming caused by natural factors is not taken into account,” he argued in information provided to PAP on the occasion of the Day. Earth National Geological Institute.

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The author of the text pointed out that the Earth and its atmosphere were shaped by natural factors, and climate changes can be predicted based on the occurrence of such processes in the past – including previous warm episodes and the cooling periods separating them in the current geological era.

The publication was retweeted by many media – including serious and large press titles. The further statements of PIG-PIB aroused controversy. Among others, professor Witold Szczuciński, a geologist from the University of Adam Mickiewicz in Poznań.

“If this discovery is supported by reliable research, then congratulations – it should be published in the world's best scientific journals (I did not find such a work there), but if a loose opinion of someone in your institution significantly undermines your credibility and does a lot of harm to science and the perception of geology in Poland in particular,” the scientist wrote under one of the entries on the PGI-PIB Facebook page.

Read also: They sued the country for not fighting climate change and won. A historic verdict

Apology for “scientific speculation”

On Tuesday, the text disappeared from the website of the Polish Press Agency, and a statement was published on the PGI-PIB website: “The Polish Geological Institute – PIB fully agrees with the scientific findings regarding the impact of human activity on the Earth's climate. The destructive impact of emissions related to the combustion of fossil fuels is obvious “In the material, we wanted to show that this is not the only factor influencing the climate – natural processes occurring on Earth also play a role.”

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“Unfortunately, imprecise information and arguments used distorted the intention of the message. The publication of the material in this form should not have taken place, the content verification system at the Institute failed, for which we sincerely apologize,” we read in the statement. The institution's authorities explained that the statements contained in the announcement were “scientific speculation by the author of the text”, and that they were unconfirmed and even “contrary to previous scientific findings.”

It was noted that the author of the text is prof. Leszek Marks, a specialist in Quaternary research, and the material prepared by him “is not the official position of the Polish Geological Institute.”

“We apologize that our actions may have misled public opinion about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions by humans on the climate,” the institution's authorities concluded.

“This text will deepen the undermining of climate change research results”

– This is a research institute. These are scientists. I read things on their site that turn everything I know upside down. So I would expect them to share the evidence. I don't know what to call this text. Letter? Column? Comment? Even unofficial and popularizing material should have sources. I can't imagine publishing a film on my video blog without providing the sources on which I build my knowledge – comments Tomasz Rożek, science journalist, creator of the video blog “Nauka. To lub” and the foundation of the same name, in an interview with tvn24.pl .

Rożek emphasizes that “a scientist should rely on facts.” – I don't know of any scientific publications, let alone meta-analyses of collections of publications, that would justify such an opinion. It is as important as saying that a particle can move faster than light. This may be true, although it contradicts many things we have discovered, but it is not impossible. However, you need evidence for this. There are no dogmas in science. It happened that even the most established knowledge was turned upside down, but this must be preceded by showing evidence – he emphasizes.

On Tuesday, the topic was picked up not only by large media, but also by accounts on the X website (formerly Twitter) spreading fake news. Some users suggest that PIG-PIB published… an inconvenient truth.

– The milk spilled. This text will deepen the questioning of research results on climate change. Under each subsequent popular science material, links to this text and other creative interpretations of PGI will appear in the comments – says Tomasz Rożek bitterly.

The journalist notes that this is not the first time that the Polish Geological Institute has published scientifically unconfirmed theories. In 2015, in another article, prof. Marx appeared – as he argued, among others: atmospheric physicist, professor of earth sciences Szymon Malinowski from the Polish Academy of Sciences – “serious errors and distortions”. “Prof. Leszek Marks has long cultivated the tradition of denying climate change and cultivating climate myths,” said Malinowski together with other authors of the article on the website Naukoklimacie.pl.

Climatologist: The rate of increase in Earth's temperature is unprecedented in history

When asked about the statements included in the original text of PGI-PIB, prof. Anita Bokwa, a climate scientist from the Jagiellonian University, replies that “there are different opinions on the causes of global warming, but taking into account modern climatological knowledge, the IPCC reports, prepared by a huge team of scientists, can be recommended as a source of reliable information.”

The IPCC is the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. WITH last year's report of this group we are learning that the greatest threat to action on climate change is the world's continued dependence on burning fossil fuels, which still account for more than 80 percent of the world's energy and 75 percent of the human-made pollution heating the planet. – Humanity is treading on thin ice and this ice is melting quickly – warned UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in March 2023.

– According to numerous studies presented in these reports, the observed increase in average global temperature cannot be explained without human intervention – adds Prof. Bokwa.

The climatologist emphasizes that “currently, the rate of increase in Earth's temperature is unprecedented in history.” – We do not know whether a situation will come in which the natural processes known to us from the past will proceed completely differently. Man has already changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere by emitting large amounts of greenhouse gases, and this process is still progressing, translating into changes in physical processes in the atmosphere – comments an expert from the Jagiellonian University.

– Even if someone does not believe that greenhouse gases emitted by humans are the main cause of global warming, limiting their emissions is associated with reducing the burning of fossil fuels, and therefore with reducing energy production, which we should strive for anyway. primarily by reducing excessive, unnecessary consumption. Moreover, less burning of fossil fuels means a reduction in emissions of substances that poison us, such as dust that contributes to the formation of smog – adds Prof. Anita Bokwa.

Author:Bartłomiej Plewnia

Main photo source: 24Novembers/Shutterstock

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