In the social media frenzy that followed Jonathan Franzen’s New Yorker article on climate change adaptation, climate scientists and researchers expressed their dismay at Franzen’s misrepresentation of the facts, from Leah Stokes to Andrew Winston, prominent experts in environmental science and sustainable business respectively.
Unfortunately, as is recognisably the case with any internet storm these days, the voices of the experts were drowned out by the waves of comments, tweets and think pieces from, to put it politely, non-experts.
However, this level of engagement with the topic of climate change is not a bad thing. That so many are concerned about Franzen’s inaccurate reporting of the facts – he seems to think the IPCC’s advice on limiting global temperature rises to below 2 degrees throws up a ‘point of no return’, a point refuted by Winston in a Twitter thread – can only be positive.
Indeed, a 2017 study published in The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Climate Science indicates that social media has had a positive impact in the fight against climate change, disseminating greater knowledge of the issue and mobilising new and existing activists.
That said, the sheer number of posts online often means the views of the experts can be drowned out by hot-takes from people expressing various levels of outrage. That’s why there is an imperative need for a platform on which the experts can air their views, tailored to the issues of the day.
Traditional news sites offer this outlet, but with a remit to report on everything from sports to entertainment on top of current affairs, there remains a need for a place where climate experts and businesses striving for sustainability can air their insights, unfiltered and in-depth.
The launch of our 50 Climate Leaders campaign does just that, and will culminate in a networking and discussion summit in New York, a chance for those driving the fight against climate change to debate and have their voices heard.