YPCCC Helps Facebook Debunk Climate Change Myths

The situation concerning the cavalry-style arrival of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) to save us all from global warming disinformation on Facebook begs for a comparison to a comical scene from a famous old movie, where the man held at gunpoint dejectedly notes the unexpected arrival of the totally corrupt police commissioner.

The highlights from the February 24, 2021 announcement are as follows ………………..

… YPCCC is playing a key role in Facebook’s new initiative to combat the spread of climate change misinformation on its platform.

… Facebook also announced a new “myth-busting” unit, which debunks six common myths about climate change …

“Misinformation about climate change long predates the internet but has been greatly amplified in our new digital world. This new myth-busting section of the Facebook Climate Science Information Center can help raise public climate change awareness and understanding worldwide,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, senior research scientist and director of YPCCC.

Leiserowitz, along with John Cook from George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and Sander van der Linden, director of the University of Cambridge Social Decision-Making Lab, worked with Facebook to develop evidence-based refutations of climate misinformation on their platform.

The moment I read about this announcement, I remembered the above comical scene in the 1985 Chevy Chase “Fletch” movie, because of two of the names I highlight above.

Copying from my October 9, 2019 blog post “If nobody spots our fatal problem, we should be just fine,” a title that nicely sums up the appearance problem here:

… the Western Fuels Association, a coal cooperative, spent half a million dollars on a misinformation campaign designed to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).”

Where does John Cook’s clickable link go to regarding the “misinformation campaign”? A PDF file of an entire book chapter by Naomi Oreskes, whose page 139 citation for “reposition global warming” is to a place where nobody will ever find those memos — arguably, outright disinformation on her part and John Cook’s part for perpetuating it. Who does Oreskes cite elsewhere as a source for that memo phrase? Ross Gelbspan.

Why is any reference to the “reposition global warming” memos a form of disinformation regarding the existence of ‘fossil fuel industry disinformation campaigns’? Because the memos are worthless as evidence to support that; Western Fuels never solicited that memo set and never operated under its direction.

You could hardly ask for a better example of disinformation than a blatantly false accusation that’s entirely designed to distract the public away from seeing faults in science narratives which themselves are comprised of cherry-picked data.

Oh, by the way, John Cook is also Facebook Friends with Gelbspan to this day, upholding my long-held observation about prominent people accusing skeptic climate scientists of industry corruption having three degress of separation or less from Ross Gelbspan.

Sander van der Linden is not among Gelbspan’s Facebook Friends. From the above YPCCC announcement, it also seems like he is just a separate person now working with Leiserowitz and Cook.

Well, not quite. In the 2018-published “The Consensus Handbook,” Sander van der Linden gets second billing after its top author …… John Cook. And what is seen on its PDF file page 8? The identical disinformation sentence above about Western Fuels and the “reposition global warming” memos, citing Oreskes’ book chapter’s page 139.

Perhaps van der Linden could put some distance away from himself on that problem by saying the bit about the non-Western Fuels memos was written by John Cook. But he won’t be able to worm his way out of the problem about being a co-author of a global warming book with the decidedly anti-science title of “The Consensus Handbook.”

Repeating from the end of my February 17, 2021 post, as the late Dr S. Fred Singer pointed out, “consensus is not science and science is not about consensus…science is not a show of hands,” and as Lord Christopher Monckton also pointed out within a lengthy reply to John Cook at WUWT, “consensus” — a.k.a argumentum ad populum — “is rightly regarded as unacceptable because the consensus view – and whatever ‘science’ the consensus opinion is founded upon – may or may not be correct, and the mere fact that there is a consensus tells us nothing about the correctness of the consensus opinion or of the rationale behind that opinion. … science is not done by consensus.”

Facebook has already undertaken mass purges of info / user accounts it deemed to be untruth. Their threats to purge what they consider misinformation have widened lately. How much longer will it be before posts and user accounts start disappearing that don’t adhere to the orthodoxy of global warming as preached by the YPCCC? ……….. Which, in case nobody has noticed yet, is essentially the same as Al Gore’s.

How much longer before other outlets of various kinds follow Facebook’s lead?