In an unexpected victory, the chief climate hoax proponent, Donald Trump, has won the election and will shortly President of the United States. As such, he will be in control of the federal regulatory agencies and others that are needed to mitigate climate change. Furthermore, with Republicans controlling both bodies of Congress, his energy and environmental policies may easily become codified in law. I mention the elections results because they will certainly influence the conversation around climate change both online and in traditional media.
In previous posts, I have stated that the climate hoax supporters were the fringe group in the larger conversation, but with the incoming president among them, it may not be an accurate description any longer. For context on President-elect Trump’s views on climate change, below is a tweet from him in 2012:
With the ascendency of their choice candidate, the climate change denialists seem to have a renewed sense of legitimacy and vitality. One example of the renewed effort can be seen on Reddit, which is a social media platform that has yet to be examined regarding #climatehoax.
As with Twitter and Facebook, the conversation on Reddit is split between those that are dedicated to discussing the climate hoax topics and the larger conservative groups that will intermittently discuss the topic, usually at the instigation of a major news event. On Reddit, the dedicated climate change denialists can subscribe to r/climateskeptics (https://www.reddit.com/r/climateskeptics). The epithet on the sidebar indicates that it is dedicated to “Seeing past hyperbole, alarmism and environmentalism driven politics”. As with the other climate change denial social media groups, this subreddit has a relatively small audience (6,927 readers) with a limited amount of participation. When scrolling through the posted links, you will quickly notice that a majority of posts are submitted by only a few very active users.
They type of content that gets posted to r/climateskeptics is quite similar to that of Facebook the groups. The most frequently posted material comes from whatsupwiththat.com or “The world’s most viewed site on global warming and climate change”. Disturbingly, this blog notes that it has over 290 million views. Breitbart.com is also a prominent resource. For instance, here is the comment section on Reddit of a new Breitbart article entitled “The Left Just Lost The War On Climate Change”.
The current top comment from user lunkinator asserts that
Similarly, most top comments were highly vitriolic and appear to be fueled by a new confidence instilled by Trump’s election.
As with Facebook, articles from both left and right leaning traditional media organizations are posted on r/climateskeptics as well. The left leaning articles are posted as examples of the fear mongering “warmists”.
One the most active users, logicalprogressive, commented that “How can anyone be taken seriously when they indulge in such mindless, over the top hyperbole like this? I hugged my grandchildren alright, I love them and know my vote worked to save them from Progressive totalitarianism.” This comment illustrates the widespread celebratory feeling shared by many users in this subreddit.
I found no interaction between r/climateskeptics and Facebook, but there were a few examples of recent content derived from Twitter. This tweet, by one of the co-founders of Green Peace and famous climate skeptic Patrick Moore, was posted several days ago:
Also, a recent tweet by the well-known liberal economist Paul Krugman was the topic of another thread.
As expected, Mr. Krugman is not a popular figure among the skeptics.
Overall, the goal of this subreddit seems less concerned with showing that mainstream climate science is false and more about condemning those who support it. For the skeptics here, the reality of the climate change hoax is a given fact. This is in slight contrast to the discussion on Facebook, where many of the posts are directed at disproving the theory of anthropogenic climate change.
More discussion about the climate change hoax could also be found at r/conservatives. It is certainly a minor topic on this subreddit but links posted here probably receive more viewers. When searching for the topic in r/conservatives, the most recent popular result is:
And the current top comment:
Although most users in the thread appear hostile to the idea of climate change, there were a few users that were more restrained or even expressed their concern about it as a significant issue. Besides this article, most threads concerning climate change are very infrequently and the issue does not seem to constitute a major topic for discussion.
(Cover image retrieved from: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-picks-top-climate-skeptic-to-lead-epa-transition/)