The transition to renewable energy sources is seen as a crucial step in mitigating the effects of the climate crisis. However, coordinated campaigns with the intention to sow doubt on the need for the transition are delaying this from happening. Shedding light on this complex issue, Graphika, in collaboration with GreenLatinos, FOE and CAAD, has conducted a comprehensive analysis to understand how anti-renewable narratives spread through the online ecosystem of Spanish-speaking Internet users, the groups and individuals who seed and disseminate them, and the tactics these actors
The report uncovers a network of narratives driven by right-leaning accounts from Spain, Latin America, and other similar communities. While these accounts primarily focus on advancing right-wing ideologies, they occasionally venture into spreading false information about renewable energies. The report emphasises that the volume of content produced by these communities often correlates with extreme weather events or environmental policy updates related to renewables.
Key findings from the report include:
- International Network: The Spanish anti-renewables network comprises ideologically aligned but distinct geographical communities across Latin America and Spain. One prevalent cluster, accounting for 34% of accounts, is rooted in Spain and displays explicit signs of right-wing ideology. However, this cluster doesn’t exclusively focus on environmental topics but encompasses a range of issues, some of which involve criticising renewable energies.
- Narratives and Engagement: Within the network, anti-renewable narratives, including claims that forest fires are intentionally set to clear land for renewable projects, dominate the conversation. While these narratives make up less than half of the posts, they attract a staggering 66% of total engagement. Some other common narratives revolve around the harm to animals, pollution, unreliability, and the idea that renewables solely benefit the wealthy.
- Online Dynamics: The report delves into the online dynamics that drive the spread of anti-renewable narratives. It highlights how content opposing renewable energies transcends geographies and ideologies. Content is often shared across multiple social media platforms to maximise its reach.