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COP27: Activists task digital giants to fight climate misinformation

COP27: Activists task digital giants to fight climate misinformation
FILE- In this March 13, 2019, file photo Facebook, Messenger and Instagram apps are are ...   -  
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Jenny Kane/AP -

Digital Society

Activists on Tuesday urged COP27 summit leaders and major technology companies to take action against climate change misinformation that is undermining efforts to limit the devastating effects of global warming.

In an open letter signed by 550 groups and individuals including former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, the activists called on COP27 delegates to adopt a common definition of climate misinformation and false information and to work to prevent it.

They also called on the bosses of seven digital giants, including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, to put in place strict policies to prevent the spread of false climate information on their platforms, as they did with Covid-19.

"We cannot defeat climate change without addressing false information and misinformation about the climate," the signatories stressed.

"As emissions continue to rise, humanity faces climate catastrophe, but economic and political vested interests continue to organize and fund climate misinformation to stall action," they added, demanding "swift and robust global action from COP decision makers and technology platforms to mitigate these threats."

The letter was also signed by diplomat Laurence Tubiana, one of the architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement, which forms the current basis for global goals to curb climate change.

The letter is accompanied by a survey released Tuesday on the extent of belief in climate misinformation in six major countries -- Australia, Brazil, Britain, Germany, India, and the United States -- lamenting that a large proportion of their populations believed false claims about climate change.

According to the study, at least 20% of respondents in each country believe that the current global warming is natural and not caused by humans. The human causes of global warming are unequivocally documented in the reports of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"There is a significant gap between public perception and science on such fundamental issues as the existence of climate change or its primary cause, namely humans," said the survey released Tuesday.