In case you missed it, this month Google and YouTube took an assertive step in the fight against climate change denial.
The Conscious Advertising Network (CAN), which is determined to encourage companies to de-fund climate change denial, worked with Google to review its policies and practices.
From November, the new policy prohibits advertisers, publishers, and creators on YouTube from making any ad revenue from “content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around the existence and causes of climate change. This includes content referring to climate change as a hoax or a scam, claims denying that long-term trends show the global climate is warming, and claims denying that greenhouse gas emissions or human activity contribute to climate change.”
Over £100bn - yes BILLION - is spent via Google's advertising platforms annually, so it is no token gesture.
Before bringing about this change, Google says it consulted authoritative sources on climate science, including experts who contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s assessment reports.
Enforcement will be carried out by a mixture of automated tools and human review, and Google aims to enforce the policy in a proportionate way to mitigate unintended consequences. When evaluating content against the policy, Google will take context into account – for example, “differentiating between content that states a false claim as fact, versus content that reports on or discusses that claim”. Google says that “We will also continue to allow ads and monetisation on other climate-related topics, including public debates on climate policy, the varying impacts of climate change, new research, and more.”
“Climate change is the defining challenge of humanity. Misinformation plays a huge part in holding back progress, so this action from Google matters,” say co-chairs of the Conscious Advertising Network, Harriet Kingaby and Jake Dubbins.