Fact check: No, a volcano in Greece did not produce more CO2 than all humans combined
The claim: A volcano in Greece released more CO2 than all of humanity combined
A Jan. 13 Instagram post (direct link, archive link) shows a screenshot of a tweet from two days prior.
"Just a reminder that a volcano in Greece has put more CO2 in the atmosphere in 24 hours than humans have In (sic) our entire existence," the Twitter screenshot reads.
The post received over 20,000 likes in five days.
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Our rating: False
This is wrong on multiple fronts. There have been no recent volcanic eruptions in Greece, experts said. And humans produce 100 times more carbon dioxide per year than all the volcanoes in the world combined.
Volcanologists have found no evidence of this supposed eruption
There have been no recent volcanic eruption in Greece, said Global Volcanism Program data researcher Edward Venzke.
The initiative based in the SmithsonianNational Museum of Natural History documents all volcanic activity over the last 10,000 years. According to their data, the last Grecian volcano eruption occurred in 1950.
"Not even any unrest has been reported (in Greece)," Venzke said in an email to USA TODAY. "(It is) completely made up."
Carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes are minuscule compared to the amount humans emit yearly.
"Human contributions to the carbon cycle are more than 100 times those from all the volcanoes in the world – combined," according to a NASA article. "Human activities emit a Mount St. Helens-sized eruption of CO2 every 2.5 hours."
Fact check: Global temperatures and atmospheric CO2 levels are correlated, contrary to claim
Volcanologists have surveyed hundreds of active and sleeping volcanoes to understand their carbon dioxide emissions, said Benjamin Black, an assistant Earth and planetary sciences professor at Rutgers University.
"CO2 is one of the big gases that volcanoes do release," Black said. "It’s just that the amount of CO2 that humans release dwarfs the amount of CO2 that volcanoes are releasing right now."
USA TODAY has debunked a variety of CO2-related claims, including a similar claim comparing CO2 from humans and Mt. Etna and a claim about how much carbon dioxide plants absorb every year.
USA TODAY reached out to social media users who shared the post for comment. The Twitter user who made the original post could not be reached.
Our fact-check sources:
Benjamin Black, Jan. 18, Phone call with USA TODAY
Edward Venzke, Jan. 18, Email exchange with USA TODAY
NASA, Jan. 12, What do volcanoes have to do with climate change?
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, June 15, 2016, Which emits more carbon dioxide: volcanoes or human activities?
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, accessed Jan. 17-18, Global Volcanism Program
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Humans produce 100 times more CO2 than volcanoes