Mapping Climate Science Denial

DeSmog UK

An investigative media outlet dedicated to cutting through the spin clouding the debate on energy and environment

Amount granted €11 000
Project period 2018–2019
United Kingdom

DeSmog UK is an investigative media outlet dedicated to cutting through the spin clouding the debate on energy and environment in Britain and beyond. It has sister organisations in the US ( and Canada (The Narwhal), and a large US readership, giving it international reach.

The overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed climate studies agree with the scientific consensus that human-caused climate change is real and that the burning of fossil fuels is a significant factor. Despite this strong scientific grounding, political debate about energy and the environment has become increasingly dysfunctional.

DesMog`s goal is to help restore healthy public conversation on energy and environment, by helping journalists, politicians and the public understand the story behind what is reported around climate change in the mainstream media. Independent media is crucial to laying the groundwork for mainstream coverage of climate chang, and engaging directly with an audience that is eager to understand how to mitigate climate change.But, increasingly, long-form written content is failing to connect with a wide audience. So DeSmog UK has devised a new method for communicating the complex politics of climate change – network maps.

DeSmog UK’s most popular resource is our still-growing Climate Disinformation Database, which contains almost 100 profiles of organisations and individuals involved in spreading inaccuracies about climate change and climate policy action. It contains information about those helping to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and fight global warming. Research conducted by DesMog UK demonstrates that all of these actors are connected – through funding, organisational affiliations, and ideology. However, the density of this information can sometimes be overwhelming to a broad audience, or policymakers short of time.

DesMog UK aimed to employ an innovative strategy to communicate who is involved in these networks, how they interact, and why that matters for climate action. DesMog UK thinks it has found the answer – network maps. DesMog UK has created a mapping tool that allows for a great deal of interactivity, with dynamic elements that will link back to relevant database profiles and stories. DeSmog UK’s preliminary work - using a tool with limited functionality - suggests this is a highly effective way to engage the public and affect political change.

The tool was launched with a comprehensive map showing all the connections between people and organisations pushing climate science denial, and those pushing to strip away environmental regulations as part of a hard Brexit. The timing of this, ahead of the Brexit deadline, was intended to ensure it has maximum communicative and political impact. The initial launch was going to show the tool’s full potential, and encourage interested parties to engage with future content developed using the tool.

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