Benjamin Haslem, CEO
The Shell Policy Update 1
The Climate Reality Project, founded and chaired by former US Vice President Al Gore, has decided to take on their opponents at their own game and have established an intriguing digital project: Reality Drop.
Peruse most online articles about climate change, where people are invited to leave comments, and you would be excused for thinking a large number of people not only dismiss the reality or threat of man-made climate change but seem to be quite knowledgeable about it.
They sprout all sorts of facts and figures and present unsubstantiated claims to undermine the theory that by burning fossil fuels humans are warming the Earth’s climate at an alarming, dangerous and unsustainable rate.
People pushing for measures to reduce the effects of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) complain that online comment streams are flooded with false information. Some even claim there is a coordinated effort by energy companies and their allies to spread misinformation and confusion about climate science.
They argue these streams of canned comments create a misconception amongst the broader public there is a large amount of disagreement amongst scientists about the reality of AGW, when in fact there is not.
They also believe there are many people reading online articles who support action to tackle climate change but are not equipped with the information to combat claims made by alleged trolls.
The Reality Drop project searches the day’s news articles online and seeks out the most heated climate change arguments. It then provides members with access to the “most accurate, relevant climate science” which people can then put into their own words and paste into comment streams. Members earn points for each paste.
Members get bonus points when someone responds to a pasted comment and clicks back to Reality Drop.
Supporters say Reality Drop uses competitive gaming techniques to combat climate denial online.
It could provide an interesting model for political parties during election campaigns. All sides of politics accuse the other parties of flooding online comments with information critical of their opponents.
Of course, this begs the question, is Reality Drop any different from the very people it is criticising? It too is providing supporters with ‘canned comments’, leaving itself open to charges of hypocrisy.
But then Reality Drop argues it has science on its side.