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Countering disinformation using new media strategies
March 04, 2024

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that climate disinformation is a major impediment to emissions reduction and broader action on climate. The fossil fuel industry is sowing confusion among the public and inaction among lawmakers, fueled by billions spent annually on climate disinformation campaigns, many of which target teens.

Most Americans get their news and form their worldviews on social media, and this is where disinformation and denialism is largely playing out. At the same time, we are facing intensified hurricanes, rising sea levels, flooding, drought, wildfires, intense heat, and more. There is an urgent opportunity to not only neutralize climate disinformation, but educate directly-impacted communities about the connection between climate change and extreme weather events. Action for the Climate Emergency (ACE) is utilizing this opportunity to catalyze accountability to the fossil fuel industry for their loss and damages.

ACE sees education as a first organizing opportunity to transform knowledge into climate action at scale, and as such deploys its expertise in digital media and culture-setting youth creator marketing to quickly respond to extreme weather events—educating millions about the role of fossil fuels and clean energy solutions. Through sophisticated audience analysis and message testing, ACE’s rapid-response digital campaigns will effectively connect extreme weather and climate change.

Core to ACE’s strategy is the understanding that young people set culture and form the bedrock of social media users from Instagram to YouTube to TikTok—thereby holding the power to control the narrative and set culture for the rest of us. In alignment with the CO2 Foundation’s mission to address the changing climate with bold, proof-of-concept solutions that meet the urgency this moment demands, ACE will mobilize this force of young people through innovative digital media tactics to generate the critical mass needed to solve the climate emergency.

ACE will pair new media strategies and social media creator marketing with content based on key extreme weather event messaging and informed by relevant news cycle rapid response weather events. In addition, the team will conduct and disseminate research findings that test the effectiveness of its extreme weather campaign content messages across target audiences and media tactics.

With support from the CO2 Foundation, this project’s research-backed digital media tactics will reach and persuade new target audiences of the connection between extreme weather and climate change, and the need for urgent action.