NASA reports that Earth is warming at its fastest rate in the past 10,000 years, and climate scientists agree that human activity is to blame for the shift. However, a social media meme attempts to discredit the veracity of climate change by distorting the opinions and media coverage of a climatologist who is well-liked by those who think the phenomenon is a “hoax.”
Misleading statements regarding climate change were making the rounds on social media as scientists and world leaders convened in the United Arab Emirates for the COP28 climate summit.
A meme that has been going viral for months attempts to disprove the existence of climate change by implying that Greta Thunberg, a Swedish environmental activist, receives an unfair amount of media attention in comparison to Judith Curry, a climatologist who is well-liked by people who think the theory of climate change is a “hoax.”
The social media post compares Thunberg and Curry’s credentials and message, pointing out that Curry has published scientific papers and asserting that Thunberg “says it’s all a hoax.” It also features side-by-side photos of the two women.
The meme concludes, “This is what media manipulation looks like,” by comparing Curry to Thunberg, who “gets 24/7 media coverage.”
However, the meme exaggerates Curry’s stance on climate change and—more importantly—creates a fictitious comparison between the two to suggest that the phenomenon isn’t real.
In an email, climate science communication specialist John Cook said, “Comparing media coverage of Greta Thunberg versus Judith Curry is like comparing apples to oranges.” As an environmentalist, Greta Thunberg’s stories are usually covered by the media with an emphasis on the larger climate action movement. Scientist Judith Curry holds opinions that differ from those of the majority of climate scientists.
Climate scientists agree that human activity is the primary cause of climate change, citing the evidence of rising temperatures and the release of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
According to NASA’s website, “since 1750, the industrial activities that underpin our modern civilization have raised atmospheric carbon dioxide levels by nearly 50%.” Scientists are able to identify a unique isotopic fingerprint in the atmosphere, which indicates that human activity is to blame for this increase.
Cook, who co-wrote the Consensus Handbook with other researchers at the Center for Climate Change Communication, stated, “Instead, we recommend in the handbook that when airing contrarian viewpoints, they also communicate the weight of evidence or weight of experts.”
Thus, if Curry doesn’t make the news, it’s not a sign of a cover-up; rather, it’s in line with standard reporting procedures. It’s also important to note that conservative media outlets like Fox News and the New York Post frequently feature her.
Curry acknowledges that climate change is occurring, but she takes no position on the matter. or that people have made a contribution. She contends that significant contributions can also be made by natural climatic variability and that actions to
She disagrees with the majority of scientists in that she believes that the effects of climate change are probably insignificant.
In an email, Curry said, “I have never said that climate change is a hoax.” “For the past 4.6 billion years, the climate of the earth has been changing.”
Geologically speaking, climate change is real. There is another problem that has been causing the change for the last century. Although there has been natural climate variability and change, humans are also responsible for the recent changes in climate, according to Curry.
However, as we previously stated, the majority of climate scientists hold a different opinion, concluding that natural fluctuations in the climate cannot account for the observed temperature increases.
Therefore, the meme misrepresents Curry’s stance on the matter and implies that the media is hiding climate change rather than acknowledging its existence.