November 30, 2015


With approximately 150 Heads of State or Government gathering in Paris for the 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21), all eyes are on the French capital. Opinion and fact are often confused when it comes to climate change, and leaders’ eagerness to look good on the world stage and gain political points at home provides rich pickings for fact-checkers.

This article summarizes fact checks on climate change published around the globe and will be updated as the COP21 progresses. Feel free to share more in the comments section or @factchecknet on Twitter.

  1. Libération’s Désintox looked at whether a recent NASA study showing gains on the Antarctic ice sheet refuted prevailing evidence on global warming, as several media reported. It does not, Désintox show in this video.
  2. Always in France, Le Monde Décodeurs debunked a photo purporting to show Green protesters this weekend brandishing a placard with the slogan “We are all Green jihadis”. Coming just two weeks after the terrorist attacks in the city, the photo was vividly criticized on social media. However, it actually dates from 2014 and the term was coined as a derogatory one by a leader of the French farmers’ union. (Also from Le Monde, a weekly series on climate hoaxes).
  3. The Associated Press had eight scientists grade the anonymized claims of the top candidates in the Democratic and Republican presidential primaries on a scale from 0 to 100. Several flunked.
  4. Two of these candidates, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, were also fact-checked on climate change by the Washington Post Fact Checker earlier this year. Cruz argued that there has been “zero warming” for seventeen years; Huckabee suggested that reports of cooling in the 1970s show there is no settled science on global warming. The two earned three and four ‘Pinocchios’ respectively.
  5. Bernie Sanders’ claim that “climate change is directly related to the growth in terrorism” was a gross exaggeration of a study on climate change and instability in Syria, found. (PolitiFact rated the claim “Mostly False”).
  6. Did the Conservative/Lib Dem government in the UK treble renewable energy installation? “There are figures to support this, but the previous government can’t take all the credit,” say UK fact-checkers Full Fact.
  7. Australia’s coal is cleaner than that of other countries, the country’s newish Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed recently. His claim checks out, according to ABC Fact Check.
  8. ABC Fact Check also scrutinized a claim by Turnbull that Australia’s emissions reduction target was “comparable to other countries similar situated” and found it “Arguable”.
  9. Dogruluk Payi fact-checked Turkey’s former Environment Minister, İdris Güllüce, who in July argued that the country was doing “better than many countries in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.” Not according to the Turkish fact-checkers, who note large increases in the country’s GHG emissions and a weak overall performance on climate change policies.
  10. In a fact sheet, Africa Check looks at why many scientists think Africa will be the continent hardest hit by climate change.
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Alexios Mantzarlis joined Poynter to lead the International Fact-Checking Network in September of 2015. In this capacity he writes about and advocates for fact-checking. He…
Alexios Mantzarlis

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