DeSmog Launches Project to ‘DeBunk’ Climate Misinformation

Heard it all before? So have we. That’s why we are trying out a new way to fight climate science denial.
Adam Barnett - new white crop
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Series: DeBunk
Debunk spotlight
DeBunk will correct false climate narratives and expose deniers. Credit: Andy Carter

Anti-climate politicians, media and think tanks are pumping out false and misleading arguments which erode public support for climate action. 

This misinformation is being pumped out when, as UN climate science body the IPCC has said, we have “a brief and rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all”.

Since the war in Ukraine, these pro-fossil fuel voices have grown even louder. They can be heard in the media all the time – saying net zero will make people colder and poorer, or that fracking for shale gas will bring down energy bills, or still questioning whether humans are causing climate change.

Take BBC Question Time’s latest episode on 27 October, when panelist Julia Hartley-Brewer called the IPCC’s climate models “complete nonsense” in response to a question about Just Stop Oil protests.

The TalkTV host went on to “thank god for fossil fuels”, and dismissed this year’s record UK heatwave and the devastating floods in Pakistan, saying: “It’s called weather”. Although they disagreed, host Fiona Bruce and other panelists struggled to rebut her claims effectively. 

Enter DeBunk

This is where DeBunk comes in. DeSmog has spent the past 15 years exposing the links between climate science denial and fossil fuel interests. (We record it all here.) We see the same discredited climate science denial arguments recycled over and over again. 

And as the BBC example shows, even well-informed people often don’t have the key evidence at their fingertips to correct these misleading claims.

With the pivotal COP27 UN climate summit taking place in Egypt in November, the forces of climate denial and delay are likely to go into overdrive.

So for a limited period we are going to try a new way to set the record straight. DeSmog is launching a project to debunk these false narratives and arm people with the correct information about climate change. 

How it Works

Our plan is three-fold. First, we will rebut high-profile examples of climate misinformation on Twitter, and second, publish “cheat sheets” with the killer facts to debunk these denial and delay arguments. 

There are already organizations dedicated to expert factchecks, so our role will be to collect and summarise the best available evidence, and Tweet it out into the world in bite-size chunks.

Third, we will draw on our investigative journalism and Climate Disinformation Database to expose the track records of serial misinformers and their pro-fossil fuel agenda. 

So when climate saboteurs take the mic, we will be ready. When groups like Net Zero Watch and their allies in parliament blame high energy bills on the UK’s net zero policies, we’ll provide the evidence to disprove this false claim. When pundits like Hartley-Brewer use their media platforms to attack the IPCC, we’ll stand up for climate science and show why such claims are wrong.  

Our hope is that these DeBunk tweets and “cheat sheets” will provide a useful resource in the fight against anti-climate propaganda, and will help shore up support for climate action and net zero policies. 

We will be publishing our first DeBunk later this week, so watch this space

To find out more or get involved, email us at [email protected]

Adam Barnett - new white crop
Adam Barnett is DeSmog's UK News Reporter. He is a former Staff Writer at Left Foot Forward and BBC Local Democracy Reporter.

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