Viral posts distort Greta Thunberg’s tweet to warn about climate change –

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A Harvard University professor warned in 2018 that steps to reduce carbon pollution and preserve Arctic ice would be needed over the next five years. Climate activist Greta Thunberg then shared a tweet that misquoted the professor. But recent social media posts have distorted Thunberg’s tweet by falsely claiming that she predicted human extinction by 2023.

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James G. Anderson, a professor of atmospheric chemistry at Harvard University, gave a 2018 lecture at the University of Chicago on the effects of climate change on the planet. Among the dangers Anderson highlighted was the depletion of floating ice in the Arctic.

Anderson warned that an urgent effort is needed to halt carbon pollution production and remove it from the atmosphere within five years to preserve any permanent ice in the Arctic, Forbes reported.

The following month, the now-defunct news website Grit Post quoted the Forbes article in an article that misinterpreted Anderson’s lecture and had the inaccurate headline, ‘Top Climate Scientist: Humans Will Go Extinct if We Don’ tFix Climate Change by 2023.

Greta Thunberg speaks on climate change at the United Nations in 2019. Photo by Spencer Platt via Getty Images.

Greta Thunberga young Swedish climate activist who rose to fame when she organized the School Strike for Climate 2018 movement, quoted from the Grit Post article in a since-deleted June 2018 tweets.

Thunberg’s tweet read: Leading climate scientist warns climate change will wipe out humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels in the next five years.

With the fifth anniversary of her tweet recently passing, social media posts falsely claimed that Thunberg predicted human extinction would occur by 2023.

“Greta Thunberg’s apocalyptic tweet turns out to be false exactly 5 years later,” reads a Facebook post from the Young America’s Foundation.

Donald J. Trump, Jr. shared an Instagram post that read, “The start of Greta Thunberg’s end-of-the-world prediction was for today, June 21.” His post received more than 99,000 likes.

But Thunberg’s 2018 tweet didn’t say that humanity would be wiped out in five years, but rather that continued use of fossil fuels over the next five years would lead to human extinction at some point. The tweet also quoted an article and not his own words.

Thunberg has already been the subject of false viral claims, as we wrote. These claims often target her credibility as a climate activist, such as the false claim that she is on the payroll of billionaire George Soros.

In this case, however, Thunberg has been both the object and the spreader of disinformation. According to Anderson, the “leading climate specialist” in question, the Grit Post quote Thunberg shared was a “complete fabrication” of her own words.

“The ‘..wiping out humanity by 2022’ is a complete distortion of what I said, implied or understood at the University of Chicago colloquium in 2018,” Anderson told us in a June 23 email. . such a statement.”

Rather, Anderson’s claim was that at the rate of drift ice loss in 2018, there would be no more drift ice within five years. In his email, Anderson said that the only reason there is any drift ice left in the Arctic Ocean today is that the last 15-20% of that volume of drift ice is protected by the existence of the ice mass of the Arctic Ocean. Greenland.

Ironically, of course, it was the Arctic ice sheet on the Arctic Ocean that protected Greenland during the summer melt season for the past 10,000 years, Anderson said. There is now virtually no protection of the Greenland ice system through floating ice on the Arctic Ocean. This is a deep concern with the increasing rate of sea level rise. Another key point of context is that the volume of drift ice on the Arctic Ocean has been broadly stable over the past 10,000 years, but in the past 40 years alone, about 80 percent of that volume of drift ice has been lost.

Editor’s Note: is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk the misinformation being shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.


Aden, Scott. Top Climate Scientist: Humans will go extinct if we don’t fix climate change by 2023. Grit Post. February 19, 2018.

Anderson, James G.. Email to June 23, 2023.

Hof, Jim. SURPRISE! The official escort for 16-year-old global warming expert Greta Thunberg is a leftist hacker funded by the George Soros Org. The Gateway Expert. September 22, 2019.

McMahon, Jeff. We have five years to save ourselves from climate change, says a Harvard scientist. Forbes. January 15, 2018.

Thunberg, Greta (@GretaThunberg). Leading climate scientist warns climate change will wipe out humanity unless we stop using fossil fuels in the next five years. Chirping. June 21, 2018.

United Nations. “Greta Thunberg tells world leaders you are failing us, as nations announce new climate action.” September 24, 2019.

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