Challenging climate misinformation: How science can guide debunking

Challenging climate misinformation: How science can guide debunking

A round table with John Cook, Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne Centre for Behaviour Change, University of Melbourne, and founder of Skeptical Science, and Paula Gori, Secretary General and Coordinator of the European Digital Media Observatory, European University Institute. The round table was part of the event “Foresight Dialogues. Our Planet, Climate and Society”, that hosted the award ceremony of the CMCC Climate Change Communication Award “Rebecca Ballestra” second edition. 


From sensational media narratives to conspiracy theories, the impact of misinformation on climate change discussion is pervasive, posing a threat to climate action and fostering distrust in scientific endeavors. During the “Foresight Dialogues 2023” event, hosted by the CMCC Foundation, misinformation experts John Cook and Paula Gori explored innovative approaches, such as AI-based tools and cognitive science applications, aiming to equip the public with the tools needed to discern accurate information.

Far from being confined solely to political elections, misinformation affects many important topics in public discussions, from wars to vaccines, from migration to COVID. Climate change is not immune to this threat, which can hinder climate action and create distrust in science.

Misinformation on climate change can take the form of different narratives. This is no longer just about climate change denial, or about arguing that global warming is not related to human activities. Climate misinformation can take the form of sensational media reports spreading panic, or of social media threads questioning the usefulness of sustainable solutions, up to conspiracy theories and opposition to activist movements based on false information.

The good news is that there are powerful tools that can contribute to a more informed public opinion, and sciences, once again, come to our aid.

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