BRUSSELS - Conspiratorial groups and influencers that once focussed on Covid-19 are increasingly pivoting towards attacking the EU's climate policies and sowing disinformation. Ahead of the EU's parliamentary elections, climate disinformation is ramping up, with the far-right looking to benefit.

In a six-month investigation, a cross-border team of journalists conducted numerous interviews with experts and actors concerned to explore what is happening.

Starting in November 2023, the journalists teamed up with digital researchers at Prose Intelligence to monitor climate discourse on Telegram, a major (if overlooked) platform for conspiratorial content online, by tracking 3,899 conspiracist-leaning channels and groups across more than 20 European languages. 

Posts about the climate evolved considerably over the period of monitoring; although the channels continued to post about the pandemic, posts about the climate surged during and after COP28, jumping 400 per cent at its peak and has since remained higher than previously.

Over the five months of monitoring, posts about the climate from conspiracy-minded channels doubled. Huge spikes in activity with posts about the farmers' protests also eclipsed Covid posts. Experts agreed that conspiratorial groups and influencers have been switching attention to the climate. 

During the investigation, the team homed in on specific grifters and influencers who have been posting more about the climate to keep their audiences engaged to ask what motivates them and what their real-world impact is. The investigation also led the journalists to report on how Green politicians around Europe are coming under attack as climate disinformation spreads. 

Photo by David Geitgey Sierralupe.

Team members

Darren Loucaides

Darren Loucaides is a freelance journalist from the UK, based in Barcelona and London.

Darren Loucaides

Sam Edwards

Sam Edwards is a freelance investigative journalist and writer based in the UK.

Sam Edwards

Alessio Perrone

Alessio Perrone is a freelance journalist based in Milan, Italy.

Alessio Perrone

Craig Silverman

Craig Silverman is an award-winning Canadian journalist and author.

Craig Silverman
€17,140 allocated on 28/08/2023

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