Climate Disinformation

ISD identifies, monitors and analyses online information operations targeting the climate policy agenda.

For nearly fifteen years, ISD has been at the forefront of analysing and trialling innovative solutions to the rising tide of extremism, hate, populism and polarisation. ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit has developed advanced tools and methodologies to monitor and expose the dark influence operations of a range of state and non-state actors seeking to sow division and undermine democratic processes. 

Our research has shown how the forces of disinformation and division are organising and aligning in an unprecedented manner around the world. We are seeing intensive international coordination in order to mainstream extreme positions and undermine, distort and co-opt public opinion.

Most global efforts to research and tackle disinformation at scale tend to focus on safeguarding elections from foreign state interference. Yet we know that efforts to address some of the most pressing transnational challenges of our time - climate change, migration, human rights, and sexual and reproductive health - have come under consistent attack by bad actors. These threats encompass government-sponsored entities, organised hate and extremist groups and corporate lobbies, in an attempt to influence both public opinion and shape policy agendas at the domestic or multilateral level. If left unchecked, manipulation of the information space poses a systemic threat to democratic dialogue and may well derail the action so urgently needed in these issue areas.

To combat malign influence campaigns, disinformation and broader anti-climate efforts, the sector requires in-depth and ongoing data from the digital space, which to date has been sorely lacking.  In collaboration with our technology partners CASM, LSE Arena, and a range of climate partners including the European Climate Foundation, Greenpeace UnEarthed and DeSmog, ISD is developing cutting-edge tools tailored to audiences across the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, the UK and the United States.

The objective of this work is to:

  • Build a system for data collection and analysis which can support key stakeholders in their advocacy, public education, policymaking and strategic communications around climate
  • Provide live trend analysis on anti-climate narratives and influencer networks, particularly in the run-up to key events (e.g. COP26, national elections)
  • Develop and drive execution of strategies to expose, disrupt and mitigate coordinated influence campaigns around climate.

Latest Climate Disinformation posts from Digital Dispatches

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Climate Change Reporting in Hungary: The Evolving Nature of Messaging among Government-Affiliated Media and Pundits

In Hungary, government-affiliated media is critical in shaping public opinion. This dispatch looks at how national and local government-affiliated media outlets on Facebook have portrayed the issue of climate change over the past two years.
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The Coal Debate in Poland: Key Trends on Social Media

In Poland, climate change is largely absent from the online discussion around coal mining and the energy sector, which is instead dominated by economic and security arguments in favour of, and in opposition to, the coal industry. This dispatch highlights the key trends in such discussion, as well as the types of messaging different actors employ.
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Climate is the New Front in the Culture Wars

The far right has stoked up fear of immigration, elites, and multiculturalism. Now, extremists are turning their attention online to the alleged threat of the green agenda – with an eye to discrediting COP-26.

ISD's Climate Disinformation team

Sasha Havlicek
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Sasha Havlicek

Co-Founder and CEO

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Sasha Havlicek
Sasha Havlicek

Co-Founder and CEO

Sasha Havlicek is Co-Founder and CEO of ISD, having spearheaded ISD’s pioneering research and data analysis, digital education, policy advisory, training, tech and communications programmes. With a background in conflict resolution and an expertise in extremism, digital information operations and electoral interference, she has advised a range of governments at the highest levels and has spearheaded partnerships with the UN, EU Commission and Global Counter-Terrorism Forum. She has also worked with the private and civil society sectors to promote innovation, including developing major programmes run in partnership with Google, FB and Microsoft. Sasha serves as an expert advisor to the UK Counter-Extremism Commission and the Mayor of London’s counter-extremism programme, and is a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations. Sasha previously served as Senior Director at the EastWest Institute where she led conflict resolution programming. Sasha has testified before US Congress, the UK Parliament and is a regular commentator in the media (CNN, BBC, Channel 4 News and other networks).
Chloe Colliver
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Chloe Colliver

Head of Digital Policy and Strategy

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Chloe Colliver
Chloe Colliver

Head of Digital Policy and Strategy

Chloe Colliver is Head of Digital Policy and Strategy at ISD, where she leads a global team of analysts studying disinformation and extremism online, including programmes of work focusing on the German, European Parliamentary, UK, Swedish and US Elections. She has worked on the development of the Global Internet Forum to Counter Terrorism and has provided expert testimony to the UK Home Affairs Select Committee, the Swedish, New Zealand, Canadian, French and German governments on digital policy and tech regulation. She has been featured at CNN, the BBC, Sky News, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Wired and Bloomberg. She is the co-author of ISD reports Spin Cycle: Information Laundering on Facebook, Developing a Civil Society Response to Online Manipulation, The 101 of Disinformation Detection, Click Here For Outrage: Disinformation in the European Parliamentary Elections 2019, The First 100 Days: Coronavirus and Crisis Management on Social Media Platforms, and Hoodwinked: Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Facebook. Chloe is a Yale Mellon Fellow and sits on the Advisory Board for Accountable Tech.
Daniel Maki
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Daniel Maki

Senior Manager, OSINT & Digital Risk

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Daniel Maki
Daniel Maki

Senior Manager, OSINT & Digital Risk

Daniel Maki is a Senior Manager in charge of open-source intelligence (OSINT) research for ISD’s Digital Research Unit, as well as serving as ISD’s Digital Risk Officer. Daniel leads a team of practitioners in the collection and analysis of intelligence related to investigations, ethnographic research, crisis response, and security monitoring. He also regularly serves as a subject-matter expert in intelligence collection and analysis within ISD and on behalf of ISD’s key partners. As ISD’s Digital Risk Officer, Daniel is responsible for tackling emerging digital risks and identifying operational security threats encountered in the course of research projects and investigations. Daniel has worked in the intelligence community for ten years as an investigator and intelligence analyst, conducting investigations into a wide variety of matters, including financial crime, insider threats, counterintelligence, espionage, organized crime and corruption, workplace misconduct, cybercrime, terrorism, and geopolitical conflict.
Jasmine El-Gamal
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Jasmine El-Gamal

Senior Manager, AMEA

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Jasmine El-Gamal
Jasmine El-Gamal

Senior Manager, AMEA

Jasmine is a Senior Manager for Africa, Middle East and Asia (AMEA) at ISD, where she is responsible for overseeing prevention of violent extremism (PVE) research and programming. From 2015-2020, Jasmine was a Senior Fellow with the Middle East program at the Atlantic Council, where she focused primarily on U.S. policies in the Middle East. From 2013-2015, Jasmine served as a Special Assistant to three consecutive Under Secretaries of Defense for Policy at the Pentagon, where she advised on national security issues. From 2008-2013, Jasmine served as a Middle East advisor at the Pentagon, where she served three Secretaries of Defense. During her tenure, she prepared and staffed the Secretary of Defense on foreign trips and during Congressional briefings. She covered issues related to Iraq, Syria, the Arab Spring and ISIS, among others, and served as the Acting Chief of Staff for the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy. From 2014-2016, Jasmine served as a translator and cultural advisor to the Office for the Administrative Review of the Detention of Enemy Combatants (OARDEC) in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where she provided briefings on Islam and Arab culture to incoming military officers in advance of their participation on the Review Boards. She conducted over 100 detainee interviews during her time at GTMO regarding their background and journey to Afghanistan and ensured the integrity of their testimony during their review boards, many of which resulted in the illumination of their unjust detention. In 2003, Jasmine served as a translator with a U.S. Civil Affairs team responsible for reconstruction in Southern Iraq, helping to facilitate communication and cooperation between U.S. forces and the local population in rebuilding the area. Her commentary has appeared in The Washington Post, USA Today, The Atlantic, Newsweek, Time Magazine, CNN, Al Jazeera, Al Hurra, L’Orient du Jour, Sawt al Azhar, Al Masry Al Youm and other international outlets.
Jennie King
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Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

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Jennie King
Jennie King

Senior Policy Manager

Jennie King is a Senior Policy Manager at ISD. She supports programme design, policy outreach and strategy across the organisation. Jennie previously served as MENA Regional Director Arts, Assistant Country Director Egypt and Co-Director Hungary for the British Council, the UK’s international body for cultural relations. She also served as an Attaché for the Guatemalan Diplomatic Mission. She is the co-author of the ISD report Hoodwinked: Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour on Facebook. Jennie read Arabic and Spanish at Pembroke College, Cambridge, receiving a Foundation Scholarship and the Marie Shamma’a Frost Prize for Oriental Studies.
Christian Schwieter
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Christian Schwieter

Project Manager, Policy and Research, ISD Germany

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Christian Schwieter
Christian Schwieter

Project Manager, Policy and Research, ISD Germany

Christian Schwieter is a Project Manager at ISD Germany, leading the German-language research project on far-right activity on alternative and emerging online platforms. At ISD, Christian also co-led the pilot phase of the Digital Policy Lab, a new intergovernmental working group focused on charting the online policy path forward to prevent and counter disinformation, hate speech and extremism. Previously, Christian worked as a researcher for the Computational Propaganda Project at the Oxford Internet Institute, where he co-authored reports on state-backed information operations relating to the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019, Christian was the Specialist Adviser on Disinformation Matters for the UK Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Select Committee at the House of Commons. Christian holds an MSc in Social Science of the Internet from the University of Oxford and a BA from Leiden University College The Hague.
Kata Balint
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Kata Balint

Analyst

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Kata Balint
Kata Balint

Analyst

Kata Balint is an Analyst on ISD’s Digital Analysis Unit, primarily working on the analysis of the climate change debate in Hungary, using digital analysis tools and open source intelligence methods. Kata’s main areas of research are political radicalisation and extremism, with a focus on far-right groups and movements; disinformation and conspiracy theories; and political attitudes and behaviour. Kata previously worked as an Analyst in the Radicalisation and Extremism Programme of Political Capital, an independent research institute based in Hungary, where she co-authored a number of research papers and was involved in radicalisation prevention activities. She gained her first professional experiences working in the Office of the Hungarian Parliament and in the European Parliament. Kata completed her postgraduate studies in Political Psychology at Queen’s University Belfast in the UK, and she holds an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences with majors in International Studies and Communication from Roskilde University, Denmark.