Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, a self-professed “unapologetic proponent of greater use of fossil fuels,” has repeatedly cited false or misleading statistics to downplay the risks of climate change.
It’s not known what sparked the wildfires in Maui, although some evidence points to downed power lines. The conditions were ripe for fire, as large amounts of invasive grasses were dry due to drought and high winds helped to rapidly spread flames. Bogus posts on social media, however, are baselessly claiming the fires were intentionally set.
The White House declared the site of the Maui wildfires a disaster area, and the Department of Defense has provided more than 400 troops, air support and other resources in firefighting and recovery efforts. Yet posts on Instagram misrepresent the federal response and one falsely claimed “the military is standing down.”
In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Economic Forum proposed an initiative to reform economic and social systems, called the “Great Reset.” But a 2020 video of WEF’s Nicole Schwab discussing this initiative never showed her saying that “permanent climate lockdowns” were coming, contrary to claims in a widely shared article.
A Harvard University professor warned in 2018 that steps were needed over the next five years to reduce carbon pollution to preserve Arctic ice. Climate activist Greta Thunberg then shared a tweet that misquoted the professor. But recent social media posts have distorted Thunberg’s tweet to falsely claim she predicted human extinction by 2023.
It’s increasingly likely that the planet will reach 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, of warming, probably within the next two decades. But while that level of warming comes with a variety of dangerous effects, it’s not a point of no return, scientists say, and it doesn’t mean “we’re done,” as President Joe Biden has claimed.