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Most of the world’s scientists agree that climate change is driven by greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by human activity, such as fossil fuel burning.
Weather modification such as cloud seeding aims to encourage rain or snow to increase water supplies. Experts say these moves cannot change the climate as a whole.
An image shared on Instagram claimed that climate change is created by humans — but not because they burn fossil fuels.
"What if ‘global warming’ and ‘climate change’" were from "private corporations using the 350-plus weather modification patents they’ve developed since 1920 to engineer adverse weather events?" text across the image said. "Newsflash: That is 100% what is going on."
The post, which included an image of a polar bear, was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
We found no evidence that weather modifications, such as seeding clouds to induce rain or snow, cause global climate change.
Those efforts have "small impacts and no capacity to change the overall climate," said Andrew Dessler, an atmospheric sciences professor and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M University.
Research so far has shown that weather modification is only moderately effective at boosting rain or snowfall. Though scientists have discussed whether it could be a potential tool in future efforts to combat global climate change, experts caution it’s a complex problem and numerous obstacles could stand in the way, including its effectiveness.
Howard Diamond, a scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Air Resources Laboratory, said cloud seeding, for which patents are granted, is the only weather modification being used in the U.S.
Changes to large-scale weather and climate patterns are caused by greenhouse gas emissions and other factors, not weather modification, Diamond said: "The growth in carbon dioxide from human emissions is causing an unnatural spike in CO2 that would in nature take about 20,000 years to accomplish."
The American Meteorological Society says that in the past half century, the leading cause of climate change, including rising Earth and ocean temperatures, rising sea levels and more powerful storms, is human activity that produces greenhouse gases.
Most of the world’s scientists agree that climate change is driven by greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere from human activity.
The gases, notably carbon dioxide, are produced when fossil fuels such as coal and oil are burned for energy.
When these gases accumulate in the atmosphere, they trap heat and raise surface temperatures, leading to changes in climate.
Without evidence to back the claim that weather modification technology causes climate change, we rate the claim False.
USA Today, "Fact check: False claim geoengineering is behind climate change," Feb. 28, 2023
USA Today, "Fact check: False claim ‘chemtrails’ and HAARP are used to manipulate the weather," Jan. 25, 2023
AFP Fact Check, "Carbon emissions, not weather modification, are driving global warming," Dec. 2, 2022
PolitiFact, "Copious evidence proves climate change is not a ‘fraud,’" Jan. 31, 2023
American Meteorological Society, "An Information Statement of the American Meteorological Society," accessed March 28, 2023
Email, Peter Girard, director of communications, Climate Central, March 28, 2023
Email, Andrew Dessler, professor of atmospheric sciences and director of the Texas Center for Climate Studies at Texas A&M University, March 28, 2023
Email, Howard Diamond, scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Air Resources Laboratory, March 28, 2023
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