July 2, 2020
Via Facebook, Twitter, and email
Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
I am writing to inform you that Facebook has inappropriately censored a scientifically accurate article that I wrote at Zero Hedge, Quillette, Environmental Progress, and other websites reprinted.
It is called, “On Behalf Of Environmentalists, I Apologize For The Climate Scare.” The article now comes with a warning, which is a form of censorship, as it leads — or, in this case, misleads — the reader to believe that what they are about to read is false.
As background, my new book, Apocalypse Never, is a comprehensive review of the scientific evidence on climate change, deforestation, plastic waste, species extinction, and other major environmental topics. It has been praised by a large number of the world’s leading climate and environmental scientists and scholars.
My article made claims that are based directly on the content and references in Apocalypse Never. The article is accurate, as is my book, which is one of the most thorough reviews of the scientific evidence to date.
However, Facebook has deferred its science fact-checking to an organization called “Climate Feedback,” which is misrepresenting the science examining climate change’s impact, or lack thereof, on natural disasters, and other major questions.
For example, my article said, “Humans are not causing a “sixth mass extinction,” which is true. All major scientific bodies, including the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), reject strongly the idea that humankind is creating a “sixth mass extinction.” I review this science in Apocalypse Never.
As recently as May 4, 2020, I asked directly Josef Settle, the co-chair of IPBES, “Is it scientifically accurate to say humans are causing a sixth great extinction?”
His answer was, “It’s not; we don’t say that; it’s rather a popular catchy expression… It’s not helpful for all of these activities to come across as being alarmist — that’s also a matter of credibility. You have to look at the evidence. Sixth mass extinction shows up in the media, but not because we said so, rather because certain circles prefer using this term.”
However, Climate Feedback falsely repeats the myth that we are in a sixth great extinction.
Second, the evidence is overwhelming and incontrovertible that the deaths from natural disasters have declined 90% in 100 years and over 80% in the last 40 years. Nobody denies this.
Similarly, nobody denies that the economic cost of natural disasters generally and weather disasters specifically have remained flat when the data is normalized to account for much higher levels of wealth.
A peer-reviewed review of the scientific literature concludes that there is “little evidence to support claims that any part of the overall increase in global economic losses documented on climate time scales can be attributed to human-caused changes in climate, reinforcing conclusions of recent assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
Climate Feedback is expressing opinions contrary to the latest scientific, peer-reviewed literature.
Climate Feedback is not the first organization to misrepresent the science on species extinctions or disasters. In Apocalypse Never, I describe the history of such misinformation.
And in a longer document, I have summarized the many more scientific errors that Climate Feedback made in its review of my article.
These issues are important. Climate change disasters are not killing more people or making disasters more expensive, and yet many people have been misled to believe that is the case.
In January, one out of five British children surveyed told pollsters they were having nightmares about climate change.
And climate alarmism is being used by the international development banks to justify diverting funding from cheap and reliable energy sources for poor nations to expensive and unreliable ones.
I am formally requesting an investigation of this action by Facebook. Climate Feedback got it wrong, and thus Facebook got it wrong.
Many people only get their news from Facebook, which exercises extraordinary market power, and power over how people decide what is true and false. I am confident that you take your extraordinary powers extremely seriously.
Founder and president
Michael Shellenberger was Time Magazine’s “Hero of the Environment,” Green Book Award Winner, and President of Environmental Progress, a research and policy organization. He is also the author of several bestselling books., his latest being Apocalypse Never.
Read more at Environmental Progress
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