Before the Hunter Biden/New York Post/Twitter imbroglio blew up a little more than one week ago, one of the primary targets of social media censors and left-leaning activists was a small nonprofit operating out of Arlington, Virginia. That group is the CO2 Coalition, formed in 2015 to educate policymakers and the public about climate change and the benefits arising from increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide.
The coalition’s leadership and members are a who’s who of leading scientists studying carbon dioxide and climate change, including atmospheric physicists, climatologists, ecologists, statisticians, and energy experts.
The group’s primary mission is stated as “educating thought leaders, policymakers, and the public about the important contribution made by carbon dioxide to our lives and the economy.”
There is broad agreement in this diverse group that the 130 part-per-million increase in carbon dioxide over the past 150 years is not in any way harmful.
As you can imagine, these climate-science contrarians are not warmly received by the mainstream media or the social media giants. The mission of these platforms appears to be to silence any discussion that contradicts the so-called “consensus” that carbon dioxide is dangerous.
The mainstream media and social media giants are committed to defending the view that the modest rise in temperature of one degree Celsius over the past 150 years is mostly man-made and leading to catastrophe.
The social media giants’ continued ability to stifle those who disagree will come under scrutiny Wednesday during a Senate hearing. More on that later.
Censorship of the CO2 Coalition and its chairman began a little more than a year ago, when the former president of the American Association of State Climatologists, Patrick Michaels, and the executive director of the CO2 Coalition, Caleb Rossiter, co-authored an op-ed in the Washington Examiner titled “The Great Failure of the Climate Models.” They showed that the mathematical computer models used to promote global warming fears have been, for years, systematically predicting an exaggerated rate of warming in the tropical lower atmosphere—typically by a factor of three.
Climate Feedback, an organization that Facebook uses to “fact-check” climate-related content, labeled their opinion piece “false,” which led the social media giant to block the distribution of the op-ed on its platform.
The CO2 Coalition and the Washington Examiner appealed to Facebook, providing a detailed scientific basis for their opinion. Confronted by the overwhelming body of evidence provided by the researchers, Facebook finally removed the label and again allowed the piece to be viewed and advertised.
One would have thought that would be the end of it, but the prognosticators of climate doom could not let it end.
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 to 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.”
The attempts at censorship were not limited to the group itself but extended to its chairman, Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace. His PragerU video, “What They Haven’t Told You About Climate Change,” which has more than 3.6 million views, was “fact-checked” by Climate Feedback as “misleading.” Moore’s supposedly misleading statement was: “Of course the climate is changing. It always has. It always will.”
Only recently was the misleading label removed after extended appeals by both Prager U and Moore.
The ability of the giant social media companies to continue to target those who dare to present evidence that doesn’t “toe the company line” will be tested during a Senate Commerce and Science hearing Wednesday.
The title of the hearing is “Does Section 230’s Sweeping Immunity Enable Big Tech Bad Behavior?” The CO2 Coalition will present testimony concerning its views on the role of free speech and censorship.
Twitter, Facebook, and Google should not be the arbiters of truth on complex scientific and societal issues.
Perhaps they should embrace the dictum often attributed to Voltaire: ”I may disagree strongly with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Some of us would settle for, “live and let live.”