Report explores practices of online misinformation about climate change ahead of COP27

A report by the Climate Action Against Disinformation coalition reveals widespread online misinformation preceding COP27. Fossil fuel-linked groups spent $4 million on Meta ads spreading false climate information. The report highlights a rise in climate denial content, urging action from governments, tech companies, and international bodies to combat disinformation effectively.

A new report issued by the Climate Action Against Disinformation (CAAD) coalition argues that ‘rampant disinformation’ was present online prior to and during the COP27 climate summit held in 2022.

According to the report, several entities linked with the fossil fuel sector spent approximately US$4 million for paid advertisements on Meta ‘to spread false, misleading claims on climate crisis, net-zero targets and [the] necessity of fossil fuels’ prior to and during COP27. Researchers have also detected a ‘surprising increase’ in content related to climate denial, including a spike on Twitter for the hashtag #ClimateScam since July 2022.

CAAD called on governments, intergovernmental entities, and big tech companies to ‘acknowledge the climate disinformation threat and take immediate steps to improve transparency and data access to quantify disinformation trends, to stop misleading fossil fuel advocacy in paid ad content, enforce policies against repeat offenders spreading disinformation on platforms, and to adopt a standardized and comprehensive definition of climate disinformation’.