Open Letter

To the COP Presidency & UNFCCC:

The COP Presidency outlined a need for ‘a new work programme for climate empowerment, education, training and public awareness, participation and access to information’ in the COP26 Negotiated Outcome. We advocate for the ‘action against climate dis/misinformation based on the following definition’ to be included:

Climate disinformation and misinformation refers to deceptive or misleading content that:

  • Undermines the existence or impacts of climate change, the unequivocal human influence on climate change, and the need for corresponding urgent action according to the IPCC scientific consensus and in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement;
  • Misrepresents scientific data, including by omission or cherry-picking, in order to erode trust in climate science, climate-focused institutions, experts, and solutions; or
  • Falsely publicises efforts as supportive of climate goals that in fact contribute to climate warming or contravene the scientific consensus on mitigation or adaptation.
  1. Acknowledge the extent of climate mis/disinformation in the global information ecosystem and formally recognise the universal definition of climate mis/disinformation.
  2. Undertake activities to prevent climate mis/disinformation being targeted at actors within the UNFCCC and beyond.

To the CEOs of Facebook, Instagram, Google, Twitter, TikTok, Pinterest and Reddit:

Implement climate misinformation and disinformation policies and enforcement that extend to content, algorithms and advertising, similar to the robust COVID 19 policies that have been published over the last 18 months (these policies should also be based on the definition above):

  1. Accept the universal definition of climate mis/disinformation.
  2. Produce and publicise a 100%-transparent company plan to eliminate the spread of climate disinformation on your platform. This plan should consider:
    1. Community standards that do not permit deceptive statements on climate science or policy.
    2. A 100%-transparent fact-checking process that includes how climate disinformation is categorised and handled by independent fact-checkers and how it is protected from politicisation by company staff.
  3. Add an interstitial to disrupt potential climate mis/disinformation, and ensure human checking on all posts flagged in this way.
  4. Advertise your zero tolerance approach directly to users.
  5. Do not publish adverts if they contain climate mis/disinformation based on the universal definition, or allow content which contravenes the definition to be monetised .
  6. Share your internal research on how climate mis/disinformation spreads on your platform with researchers and journalists so we can work together to tackle this global, multi-faceted issue.

COP27 is a perfect moment to start momentum for decision-makers to acknowledge the climate misinformation threat and, through global cooperation, to step up against it.

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