U.S. alarmists hope to silence critics of anthropogenic warming and Net Zero plans as creators of ‘climate disinformation’
Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, OCT. 6, 2022
Now that Elon Musk has bought Twitter, the hopeful view for online speech is that his rockets-and-flame-throwers heterodoxy might be an answer for what ails social media. He won’t have it easy. More than a dozen environmental outfits, including Greenpeace and the Union of Concerned Scientists, have written to the big tech companies to blame them for “amplifying and perpetuating climate disinformation.”
What the letter asks for sounds modest, but the implication is clear. The Digital Services Act recently enacted by the European Union includes transparency rules, and the green groups want Silicon Valley “to commit to including climate disinformation as a separately acknowledged category in its reporting and content moderation policies in and outside of the EU.” Then they could proceed to complain that the tech giants aren’t doing enough censoring.
The letter was directed to Twitter, Facebook, Google and YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest. At least the public can read it. How much of this lobbying goes on behind the scenes?
“We partnered with Google,” Melissa Fleming, the communications undersecretary for the United Nations, told a panel last month. “If you Google ‘climate change,’ at the top of your search, you will get all kinds of UN resources. We started this partnership when we were shocked to see that when we Googled ‘climate change,’ we were getting incredibly distorted information right at the top.”
It’s a bad sign when one side of a political debate demands to cut off the microphones of the people on the other—and the tech censors these days are almost uniformly progressives. On climate change, the disinformation tag gets liberally applied even to people who agree that it’s real, caused by fossil fuels, and a problem . . . but who also think humanity can adapt, apocalyptic predictions are overwrought, or subsidies for green energy are a poor investment.
“We need the tech companies to really jump in,” White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said this summer. Dissent has shifted from climate-change “denial” to “the values of solar energy, the values of wind energy,” she continued, but “that is equally dangerous to denial.”
In other words, censorship must increase the more the public resists the climate lobby’s preferred solutions. If Gina McCarthy’s ideas lose a debate, the cause must be “disinformation.” With statements like that from White House bigs, is it any wonder that skeptics of big tech’s power are gaining ground? The left increasingly wants Silicon Valley to deploy its mute buttons as a way to stifle opposition, especially on climate.
Which brings us back to Mr. Musk. His plans for the social site are far from clear, but he has spoken or tweeted in the past that Twitter should be the modern town square and should be an “inclusive arena for free speech.” A good place to send that message would be to shut down the climate censors.