DeBunked: Claims about Fracking, Net Zero and Renewables vs Food

We correct some oft-repeated misinformation from 2022 from Jordan Peterson, Michael Gove and others.
2022 saw a wave of false climate claims.
2022 saw a wave of false climate claims. Credit: DeSmog

First posted on Twitter on 20 December 2022

This year we’ve seen a wave of false claims from opponents of climate action exploiting the Ukraine war and energy crisis to push fossil fuels. Here are the top six bogus climate claims of 2022 – and the evidence for why they’re wrong.

1. Net Zero

Climate deniers pushed the false idea that net zero policies caused the energy crisis. In fact, it’s caused by the high wholesale price of gas, hiked by the Ukraine war. And timely climate action – such as home insulation policies – could’ve saved households billions.

2. ‘Solar and Wind vs Food’

In 2022 some MPs falsely claimed more onshore wind and solar farms would threaten farming. In fact, renewables plans would require an additional 0.32 percent of UK land (0.02 percent for wind farms, plus 0.3 percent for solar). This compares to 71 percent of UK land that is currently used for agriculture, according to the Department for Food, Rural Affairs and Agriculture.

3. Fracking

This year climate deniers, media and MPs pushed for fracking “to cut energy bills”. PM Liz Truss adopted this policy. In fact, any shale gas produced by fracking in the UK would be sold at (high) global prices. Renewable energy is nine times cheaper. And fracking causes earthquakes.

Fracking was a key demand of the network of backbench MPs and activists around Global Warming Policy Foundation who oppose net zero and push fossil fuels. For more on this network see DeSmog’s map.

4. Climate Forecasts

In January 2022, author Jordan Peterson used his large platform to claim climate models are unreliable and full of “errors”. In fact, climate models have accurately predicted global temperature rises.

Jordan Peterson was a major source of climate science misinformation this year, calling climate action “totalitarian”. See more on Peterson and climate in his DeSmog profile.

5. Coal

Michael Gove has claimed the newly approved coal mine in Cumbria is needed to produce steel for UK use. In fact, UK steel industry figures say 90 percent of its coal would be exported due a) to its high levels of sulphur which rule it out for domestic use, and b) the steel industry’s plans to shift to greener production.

Gove also claimed carbon offsets will make the new Cumbria coal mine “net zero”. In fact, it will emit 400,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year (equal to 200,000 cars) before the coal is even burned.

Carbon offset experts call Gove’s claim “nonsense”.

6. Sun and Wind

This year saw claims renewable energy “does not work” because the amount of sunlight and wind varies. In fact, wind and solar can generate majority of energy cheaply and reliably, supported by storage and other sources.

This blog is part of our DeBunk pilot project. You can read more about the project here.