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Fact check: Did 1,200 climate experts sign viral misinformation?

A climate-denying document, supposedly signed by 1,200 leading scientists and academics, has gone viral on social media. 

The “World Climate Declaration” — which claims that there is “no climate emergency” — was first shared on 27 June.

One Australian Senator shared the document on Facebook claiming that “this is further confirmation that there is no climate emergency”.

Other well-known conspiracy groups have argued that there is no scientific consensus that humans are to blame for global warming because the “Earth’s climate has varied since the planet first existed, with naturally occurring cold and warm phases”.

A 2021 report by Cornell University found that 99.9% of more than 88,000 climate change studies agree that humans have accelerated the phenomenon, largely due to carbon emissions.

Moreover, the last 15 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, with the most recent eight years being the warmest, according to NASA.

Investigations show that practically none of the signatories to the “World Climate Declaration” are climate scientists.

The two main Dutch actors behind the declaration are Guus Berkhout, a retired geophysicist who has worked for oil giant Shell, and journalist Marcel Crok.

Both have been accused of receiving money from fossil fuel companies to finance their climate-sceptic work. They deny the allegations,

When looking closer at the list of signatories, there are precisely 1,107, including six people who are dead. Less than 1% of the names listed describe themselves as climatologists or climate scientists.

Eight of the signatories are former or current employees of the oil giant Shell, while many other names have links to mining companies. 

One of the signatories is Ivar Giaever, a joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1973 for work on superconductors. However, he has never published any work on climate science. 

According to an independent 2019 count of the declaration’s signatories, 21% were engineers, many linked to the fossil fuel industry. Others were lobbyists, and some even worked as fishermen or airline pilots.

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