Google is stopping ad money for climate crisis deniers

8 Oct 2021

Image: © Thaspol/Stock.adobe.com

From next month, Google and YouTube will prohibit ads on content that refers to the climate crisis as a scam or denies the impact of human activity and rising emissions.

Google is cracking down on creators of climate misinformation earning ad revenue on its platforms.

The company has announced a new monetisation policy for Google advertisers, publishers and YouTube creators that will prohibit ads on content that “contradicts well-established scientific consensus” around the existence of the climate crisis and the causes of this global emergency.

“We’ve heard directly from a growing number of our advertising and publisher partners who have expressed concerns about ads that run alongside or promote inaccurate claims about climate change,” it wrote in a support post.

“Advertisers simply don’t want their ads to appear next to this content. And publishers and creators don’t want ads promoting these claims to appear on their pages or videos.”

Google said this will include content referring to the climate crisis as a hoax or scam, claims denying that long-term trends show evidence of global heating, and claims denying that human activity and rising emissions contribute to the crisis.

The company will allow ads and monetisation on public debates on climate policy, the impacts of the climate crisis and new research.

It added that it will look at the context in which claims are made to differentiate between content that states a false claim as fact and content that reports on or tackles that claim.

Earlier this year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the climate crisis is affecting every region around the world as human activity is changing our climate system.

It estimated that unless there are immediate and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, as outlined in the 2015 Paris Agreement, will be “beyond reach”.

Google said that in creating its new policy, it consulted climate science experts including some who have contributed to the IPCC reports.

It will begin enforcing the policy next month, using a combination of automated tools and human review.

This is not Google’s first climate-focused announcement this week. The tech giant revealed it is rolling out updates to many of its services in a bid to help users make more sustainable choices.

Google Maps will now help travellers find the most eco-friendly route and carbon emissions information is being added to Google Flights. Meanwhile, users who search for information about the climate crisis on Google will receive authoritative information from sources such as the UN.

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Sarah Harford is sub-editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com