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Misinformation can harm action on climate change

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The recent report on actions and non-actions taken by Facebook now Meta, on climate change misinformation posts on its platform has reignited the debate about the impact of falsehood on climate change initiatives. Facebook is accused of failing to take appropriate action on its global platform against lies posted by its members on the world’s most visited social networking site. A recent report by the London-based non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate states in its analysis that Facebook misled investors in its efforts to tackle climate change. The watchdog insists the social media giant failed to label half of the posts as inaccurate or misleading that could have been directed to Facebook’s ‘Climate Science Information Center’ for accurate information on the change climatic. Facebook, in its defense, said it works hard to provide reliable information on climate change through its information center.

Data giant Google took action against climate change misinformation on October 7, 2021, when it banned misinformation video ads on its YouTube video app, saying it will “ban ads and monetization content that contradicts a well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change”. This effectively ended the revenue stream of Youtubers who created videos containing misinformation about the dangers of climate change. This ban will only be effective if Youtubers post videos themselves, if they are backed by powerful climate change opponents, then revenue is not their priority or need. attempted to respond to the slew of distorted climate change tweets aimed at the COP26 climate change conference that was held in Glasgow. Twitter said it would program a new policy to “pre-bed” helping to create an authentic narrative about climate change.

A disturbing tribe of climate change deniers exist around the world who deny claims of global warming and the impending danger of climate change. This tribe uses major social media sites to call on their followers to ignore the call to action against global warming. Often, vested interests fuel climate change denials in countries leading to pressure against policy changes and pledges on climate change. Los Angeles-based news portal Breitbart, New York-headquartered Washington Times, The Federalist, Newsmax, and Russian state media, The Patriot Post, The Daily Wire, and The Western Journal are the main opponents of climate change that impact opinions around the world. A group called the Clexit named after him on Brexit aims to push for global control through climate hysteria. The group advocates for countries to withdraw from the Paris Agreement and other UN treaties on action on climate change. These outlets help create a false narrative about the global warming conspiracy theory.

Around the world, social media users and newspaper subscribers often fall for fake news that includes misinformation about Covid-19 and its vaccines, advocacy of the falsified concept of flat earth and possible existence aliens, and the invasion of planet Earth. The damage caused by misinformation in today’s digital age about climate change parallels the damage caused by greenhouse gas emissions on earth. The skewed perception of the reliability of climate change projections and impending danger has attempted to neutralize opinions about the threat to the planet. Powerful lobbies are using the propaganda of climate change deniers to advance their agenda to make a quick buck today rather than worry about a dangerous future. Any change in policy aimed at playing and pleasing climate change skeptics has the most direct impact on planet Earth.

Governments, Google, social media giants and news outlets should urgently flag harmful false information and not allow any video or post to remain online for longer than a maximum of one hour. Videos and posts should not be allowed to be shared, liked or retweeted in the meantime. Politicians must resist lucrative deals that attempt to slice the planet for today’s gain at tomorrow’s expense. Policymakers and think tanks need to push businesses and the media to be more responsible for their actions on climate change, sustainability and emissions. Action must be taken against these think tanks that encourage opponents of climate change and help spread misinformation about the real dangers of climate change.

Climate change deniers blame inaccurate data, high projections, doomsday conspiracy, promotion of nuclear energy, political agenda, conspiracy by renewable energy companies, etc. For the future of the planet, climate change supporters and deniers must come together to solve the problems and agree on a common minimum agenda. A healthy planet is our gift and our legacy to the next generation who will inherit the world as we preserve it.



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The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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