There is an overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that points to humans as the cause of global warming. Nevertheless, a video entitled “Why Climate Change Is Fake News” has gone viral on Facebook in the past few months, garnering over 9.5 million views, nearly 5 thousand comments, and one hundred seventy thousand shares. The video depicts Marc Morano, a “climate denial expert” despite having no scientific expertise in the area, who centers around three common climate myths to cast doubt on the legitimacy of climate change and spread misinformation. Morano is best known for having directed think-tanks that were funded by large fossil fuel companies, including ExxonMobil and Chevron, and designed to influence public opinion by creating uncertainty about the reality of and dangers associated with human-made climate change.
Morano begins the video by utilizing one of the most popular climate change myths known as consensus denial, denying that there is not actually a 97% expert consensus on human-caused global warming among scientists and claiming that it is “the most outrageous falsehood of them all” and the percent was “pulled out of thin air”. The climate denyer bases this opinion on a single study that evaluates the expert scientific consensus, in which out of the 3,146 Earth scientists that were surveyed only 80 of them were currently publishing climate science research, judging that the sample size was too small to be effective. Although this is a valid critic, Morano pointedly ignores the other consensus studies that employ a variety of approaches, some of which including very large sample sizes. Specifically, the authors of seven different consensus studies collaborated to publish a paper in 2016 that concluded that the expert scientific consensus on human-causing climate change was between 90 and 100%. Thus, when considering all available research on expert consensus, Morano’s argument falls short.
In the next portion of the video, Morano states that the hottest year claims, in which the annual global temperatures have increased since the industrial age and each preceding yearly temperature breaks the record of the one prior since 2014, are “merely political statements”. In other words, the temperature statistics are in the “margin of error between hottest year statements” and therefore not increasing. According to a consultation with climate scientists, this statement is wrong. Rather that point to single year increases, like Morano does, experts said that long-term trends clearly show the temperature has been rising for decades on Earth. The years from 2014 to 2017 have indeed been the hottest years on record, and 2018 is also predicted to be the fourth-hottest year yet.
Morano concludes his video by saying that the “most outrageous myth of them all [despite having already claimed this in his first point] is that carbon dioxide is somehow the control knob of the climate.” In a study published by NASA scientists that is actually entitled “Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature”, it states that ample evidence shows that carbon dioxide is the most important greenhouse gas. Despite how ludicrous the claims in this video are and blatantly pulled on widespread myths, it was obviously effective with engaging viewers and has had a degree of impact on individual’s prevailing beliefs or confirmed their bias. The epidemic of fake news and disinformation will continue to be employed as political tactics and wreak havoc until it is combatted and regulated by the creators of the tech companies and social media apps.
Posted by Jamie Courtney (Group A)
The consensus is definitely there -- climate change is real, and humans are one of the primary drivers there. I have to ask, though... why deny climate change? Is it just their belief that it doesn't exist? Do they have some alternate agenda? With all the evidence that climate change does exist, what is there to gain by denying it?ReplyDelete
Posted by "Chandler Kupris"
The think-tanks that Morano directed were largely paid for by fossil fuel companies, like ExxonMobil and Chevron, and the funding for this video is likely also coming from the fossil fuel industry. Because the combustion of fossil fuels has been linked to climate change, there has been a large push for ending the use of fossil fuels altogether. These companies continue to endorse the creation and spread of disinformation so they can continue to benefit.Delete
If there was an economical benefit behind faking the real news I was would understand why these people do this. But just to create uncertainty and doubt! That's crazy. Climate change real data are important to be presented to people so they track it and follow how science are trying to avoid danger. They reached 9.5 million views which is crazy and to go back and correct these wrong info is way much harder now if not impossible. Unfortunately, this is the fact, and the only way to solve it is to press charges on people who intend to fake science and create a big fake scene.ReplyDelete
Posted by "Jad Imad"
Some fake news articles and websites do have a financial gain from their stories. Typically, viral articles containing disinformation will increase the amount of "web traffic" and the owners of the website will receive income if they have advertisements on their page. Though I don't believe this is the case with this particular fake news video. It is more likely Morano was funded by the fossil fuel companies to create this video and spread falsehoods about climate change, so they can continue to profit off the fossil fuel industry.Delete
This is one of the huge problems with social media, people can easily find posts, videos, or whatever it is that has no credibility and use it to confirm their biases. Facebook has been put directly in the spotlight for promoting fake news and yet there has been no change to solve this issue. It's kind of saddening to think that this is even an issue at all.ReplyDelete
It is a major concern not only in the scientific field, but fake news has been weaponized as a political tactic to influence the prevailing public beliefs and interfere in political elections. Disinformation on social media has created an issue for tech companies like Facebook, who have expressed their concerns of appearing bias when trying to combat the fake news on their site.Delete
I think the fact that ExxonMobil and Chevron had funded his think tank projects is proof enough that this is fake news. Clearly if a gasoline company was paying him, they are paying him and funding him for a reason. With climate change plans and tactics for renewable energy sources becoming more commonplace these companies clearly want to debunk the idea of climate change in order to benefit their companies. Why do you think so many people are inclined to believe this news given how much other information is out there and given how much bias is present in his theories? What do these people have to gain? A false sense of hope?ReplyDelete
Posted by Lauren Hiller
I think climate change denial is the most frustrating fake news to read about in science for me personally. The evidence tells us very obviously that this is not just a "margin of error." It is also crazy how this person can claim to be some sort of authority on the subject when he clearly has a bias, being funded by companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron. I also wonder why people want to believe this idea so badly- accepting climate change is occurring and acting on it would be far more beneficial than staying in denial about it.ReplyDelete
Posted by Alexandra Rios