05.31.2021

Fact-checking Facebook's carbon dioxide fact-checkers

By Gregory R. Wrightstone

The false face of Facebook is once again presented in the censorship of our organization, the CO2 Coalition, an Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit that promotes the benefits of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.

On Earth Day this year, The Washington Times published my op-ed “There is no climate emergency — We love CO2 and so should you.” Shortly after publication, the paper’s Facebook post on the commentary was labeled “false and misleading” and its ad for it was rejected.

Facebook’s actions were based on a lengthy “fact-check” by eight scientists titled “Washington Times presents list of false and misleading statements about the impacts of CO2 and climate change” by Climate Feedback (CF). However, a detailed analysis by actual experts of CF’s “fact-check” showed it to be the real purveyor of false and misleading information. 

The so-called “independent fact-checkers” of my commentary are associated with a nonprofit group called Science Feedback which claims to be engaged in a nonpartisan fight against misinformation. After studying dozens of its fact-checks enforcing “climate consensus” orthodoxy, I judge Science Feedback’s claim to be “mostly false.” 

Climate Feedback’s hit-piece appears to be part of a coordinated strategy to silence the scientists of the CO2 Coalition. Following the Climate Feedback review, InfluenceMap.org started a pressure campaign calling on Facebook to eliminate the CO2 Coalition’s ads and the ads of our allied groups on Facebook. A Stop Funding Heat report expresses particular displeasure with the CO2 Coalition’s ability to escape censorship (p. 31).

This is not our first battle against censorship by Facebook. In 2020, we successfully argued on two occasions that our censored posts were not as they had been portrayed by critics and were, indeed, factual. This did not go down well with the modern-day book burners. First, a letter — signed by Stacey Abrams, Tom Steyer and 13 leaders of groups working to ban fossil fuels — was sent to Facebook demanding that it shut down the Facebook page of the CO2 Coalition and censor posts of its members’ studies and articles on other users’ pages. 

Soon thereafter, four senators, including Massachusetts’ Elizabeth Warren and Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse, sent an open letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to censor the CO2 Coalition because “climate change is an existential crisis” and publicizing any view contrary to that claim “puts action on climate change at risk.”

To rebut the latest censorship, I drew on the firepower of CO2 Coalition experts who include world-renowned specialists in physics, ecology, climatology and more. What they found in the CF critique was a collection of outrageous and mostly undocumented claims that often challenged credulity. Many statements by CF “experts” were well outside established climate science and often even at odds with the science of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent assessment — supposedly the gold standard of climate alarmists. 

Running 27 pages with 38 references to peer-reviewed studies and government sources (NASA, NOAA), our rebuttal is quite technical and may challenge the non-scientist, especially concerning details of what CF scientists got wrong about the physics of CO2-driven warming. 

The bottom line, however, is presented nicely by Dr. William Happer, Professor Emeritus in the Department of Physics at Princeton University: 

“All the statements of Mr. Wrightstone’s op-ed were based on very sound science. In contrast, the Climate Feedback review includes made-up, false assertions and personal attacks.”  

One of the largest problems underlying the entire CF review is a reliance on unlikely and worst-case climate models to predict future heat-related calamities. Drs. Patrick Michaels and William Happer both point out that models used by CF over-predict warming significantly, particularly in the tropics. 

In response to one over-the-top claim of by Amber Kerr that temperatures are “likely” to reach that found during the Eocene Period when the planet was more than 12 degrees Centigrade (23 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than today, Dr. Happer stated, “There is no scientifically plausible way for Earth’s temperature to rise by 12 C by the middle of the next century.”

I propose an actual debate between the experts of the CO2 Coalition and the scientists at Climate Feedback. If CF scientists are sure that they are correct, then they should welcome the opportunity to present their “facts” in an open forum rather than from behind a mask of pseudoscience.

Read the full Climate Feedback Rebuttal here

• Gregory R. Wrightstone is the executive director of the CO2 Coalition which seeks to engage in an informed, dispassionate discussion of climate change and humans’ role in the climate system. The CO2 Coalition educates thought leaders, policy makers, and the public about the important contributions of carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.

This article appeared at The Washington Times https://m.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/may/31/fact-checking-facebooks-carbon-dioxide-fact-checke/

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