The climate skeptic’s new scapegoat: the researcher


In ancient times, people believed that powerful gods made the weather. The followers of contemporary conspiracy myths have pointed to other culprits: meteorologists and an alleged conspiracy to use fears of global warming to subjugate humanity. The Spanish weather agency was accused of causing a drought on Twitter and other online networks.

In Australia, state meteorologists are suspected of mis-setting the thermometers. And in France, the weather service is accused of not having placed the measuring stations correctly and thus exaggerating global warming.

“Teil des Etablissements”
“The coronavirus is no longer an issue. Conspiracy theorists and deniers who used to talk about it are now spreading false information about climate change,” said communications scientist Alexandre López-Borrull of the Open University of Catalonia. “Scientific institutions are seen as part of the establishment, so everything they say is questioned on social media.” And while meteorologists provided facts that disproved the claims of climate change deniers, the latter tried to discredit the weather experts.

desert threats
The Spanish National Meteorological Agency (AEMET) recently went public after its employees were threatened through Twitter messages, phone calls and emails. They were insulted as murderers and criminals, among other things.

“Would you like us to release your and your family’s contact information?” read a tweet to an AEMET employee. Spain is battling a severe drought and sentiment continued to rise ahead of Sunday’s regional and local elections.

Myth of the contrails
The perpetrators of such threats are people who believe in the myth that aircraft contrails are actually sprayed by governments to poison people or cause catastrophic weather. The conspiracy theorists also invoke a mysterious “2030 Agenda,” according to which global elites have conspired to use the coronavirus and climate change policies to enslave the people.

AEMET spokeswoman Estrella Gutierrez-Marco said after the weather bureau tweeted about contrail formation in April, it had become increasingly targeted by abusive messages. With that, the authors focused on an institution “that looks after their own interests; who wants to ensure the safety of the people”.

Messages are focused on feelings
López-Borrull sees a marked increase in climate change denial, especially among supporters of right-wing movements who see climate change as a left-wing issue and oppose climate protection measures. “People distrust politicians, judges and the media,” says the communication scientist. “They feel alienated and so they come to listen to people they’ve never listened to before, whose messages go straight to the heart.”

“Weather service exaggerates”
Following a series of heat records in South West France in March, someone on Twitter claimed that the National Weather Service was exaggerating the heat. The meteorologists only report the temperatures in urban areas, but it is always slightly warmer there than in the countryside. This claim was viewed almost 140,000 times and also spread to Facebook. One woman wrote, “They’re just trying to make us feel scared and guilty.”

Another Twitter user accused Dutch TV channel RTL Nieuws of exaggerating the heat wave in Spain. As proof, he has released a screenshot showing moderate temperatures for the Costa Blanca. As a fact-check by AFP news agency revealed, this reading came from a cool morning – three days after the heat wave.

Source: Krone


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