A disinformation survival guide for COP27

ACT Climate Labs is live

It’s COP27 again, and the great and the good have gathered in Sharm-El-Sheikh to discuss how we can keep the warming of the planet to under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Any more than that has been described as a ‘death sentence for Island Nations’, and could put us in danger of societal collapse.

The problem for many of us communicating in this space is disinformation and the adversarial narratives that litter discussions on solutions. Last year, The Institute for Strategic Dialogue’s detailed report, ‘Deny, Delay, Deceive’ found culture wars and climate delay tactics by a surprisingly small, but vocal minority were influencing public opinion. This threatens the public mandate we have for climate action. However, if you’re battling disinformation, we’ve got a new project that’s right up your street.

People on social media wrongfully claimed this picture was from COP26 and showed delegates flying private jets. Credit: NewsMobile

A specialist team at ethical ad agency, Media Bounty, has been working on ACT Climate Labs for over 18 months. We’ve built a member base of over 120 people and organisations who are learning how to get ahead of climate misinformation and adversarial narratives.

Our mission is to supercharge the effectiveness of climate communications with advertising techniques that allow us to make climate action mainstream, and get others to follow our lead. This starts with climate communicators breaking out of our bubble and starting to engage the mainstream.

I’m particularly excited about working on this project, because it’s the reason I moved from working at specialist sustainability consultancies to big agencies — because I believe to solve a problem we need to get everyone involved and on side. That means thinking beyond the ‘ethical consumer’.

In the UK, approximately 69% of the population are neither climate activists nor climate deniers and aren’t being reached by climate communications.

We call this group the Persuadables. They are at risk of being exposed to climate misinformation, so we need to get ahead and reach them first with positive messaging.

ACT Climate Labs draws on advertising and misinformation expertise to reach the Persuadables more effectively, with positive messages that start where they are. We offer marketing and advertising expertise through:

  • ACT Intelligence: newsletters highlighting current misinformation trends and practical guides to combatting them
  • ACT Network: a closed Slack group for insight sharing and peer-to-peer learning, webinars and in-person events with experts
  • ACT Advertising: creative campaigns to test different approaches to making climate communications more effective

Sign up to our newsletter here, for fortnightly updates on misinformation, audience insights, and advertising techniques. We also run webinars, events and troubleshooting sessions.

We’ve also partnered with the Climate Action Against Disinformation Coalition (CAAD), to produce a COP27 survival kit. The kit’s designed for anyone who’s communicating against a backdrop of misinformation and climate delay.

If you are interested in supercharging your climate communications you can join the ACT network by emailing Kathryn@actclimatelabs.org and sign up to ACT misinformation alerts at www.actclimatelabs.org.

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Harriet Kingaby

Harriet Kingaby

Co-chair of the Conscious Advertising Network and climate misinformation expert at Media Bounty. Advertising, ethics, disinformation and climate change.