This Earth Day, when it comes to climate change, let’s get the facts straight. Not everything you read online about climate is true. Climate denialists have planted a good deal of disinformation to confuse and delay climate action.

That’s a big reason why the United Nations, in collaboration with Purpose, has been running Verified for Climate - a global communications program to address complex crises like climate change by countering the spread of mis and disinformation. The initiative, supported by TikTok, Rockefeller Foundation, and Fortescue, aims to reach key audiences with positive and accurate climate information to counter harmful narratives that block a swift transition to renewable energy.

“Together, we’re confident we can help to turn the tide in the climate information narrative and power communications that spur action to secure a liveable future for the planet. There is no time to lose.” - Melissa Fleming, UN Under Secretary General of Global Communications.

To learn more, read Melissa Fleming’s blog post here. 

Verified for Climate is brought to life by Verified Champions, a diverse network of climate scientists, practitioners, organizers, and community members currently spread across the UAE, Brazil, and Spain. These are climate experts from a wide range of backgrounds, based on scientific, empirical, and traditional knowledge. For this initiative, it was critical to include the perspectives of those directly impacted by the effects of climate change, as they are uniquely equipped to speak about climate mis and disinformation from a first-hand perspective.

“At TikTok, we are continuously finding ways to empower our community with authoritative information on topics that matter to them, including climate literacy. Through this initiative, we're proud to partner with a team of experts to further inform and inspire our global community, bound by our shared goal of raising awareness around important climate topics and finding sustainable solutions.”

Helena Lersch
Vice President of Public Policy for Emerging Markets and Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at TikTok

The Verified Champion network’s primary purpose is to shift narratives and improve access to accurate information about climate change on the platform. Verified Champions are unified by a single goal - to counter climate mis- and disinformation on the platform through original content that generates awareness and educates viewers on the issue. And the impact they’ve made thus far is remarkable:

As of April 2024, the campaign has reached over 280 million impressions and over 800 thousand engagements through 160+ original TikTok videos full of climate stories, facts, and practical guidance.[1]

Here’s what some Verified Champions have to say about why this initiative matters:

“Being a Verified Champion is important because we must give voice to experts who can debunk rumors and disinformation and speak with data and scientific studies about the climate crisis. In an era dominated by confusion and disinformation, it is crucial to address issues from a scientific and objective perspective, showing the actions we can take for the well-being of the planet and giving visibility to ways to change the current situation.”

Mar Gomez
Verified Champion from Spain

“As a sustainability advocate, I have strived to reach out to people with the benefits and urgency of living sustainably. When I got the opportunity to join this campaign, I had no hesitation or second thoughts about it. I was very happy to learn about this initiative to educate people on climate change. It is very fulfilling to contribute to this campaign and take this message forward to as many people as possible.”

Pallavi Santhapuram
Verified Champion from UAE

“Since 2017, I’ve been writing content about … the climate crisis, the power of collectivity, veganism, and many other subjects. And sometimes this content gets stuck in a bubble or lacks updates on what new tactics we can use to bring this kind of communication [to life]. [Through Verified Champions], I’ve learned a lot over the last few months about how to build content … and I can see that today more debates are taking place in my videos’ [comment section] and more people are taking interest in the content I post. Through content platforms like TikTok, we can bring the environmental agenda into the daily lives of thousands of people of different ages, realities, and backgrounds.”

Renata Padilha
Verified Champion from Brazil

Earth Day is a significant moment for climate awareness and action. As greenhouse gas emissions continue to cause extreme weather events globally, the urgency of collective climate action increases. But with the rise of climate mis- and disinformation online, sharing climate facts is incredibly challenging.

With over 9.6 million internet users in the UAE, and 32% logging on in search of news, it is increasingly important to differentiate fake and real climate news. For social media users globally, navigating a mis and disinformation-dense online environment full of climate denialists is not only disorienting, it is also distracting. Climate mis and disinformation are harmful in their capacity to hinder swift climate action, our most urgent task to date.

Verified Champions is built around the premise that to promote climate awareness and action, we must first address the challenges of climate communications in today’s landscape. By combating mis and disinformation, Verified Champions are disarming the harmful lies that confuse and delay progress on climate action.

Verified Champions are making a way for climate facts to have a larger seat at the table on TikTok.  TikTok prohibits harmful climate misinformation and directs people who search for climate misinformation to authoritative information that it worked with the UN to source

Read this report Purpose developed with CAAD to learn more about how to keep climate integrity at the forefront of climate communications.

Join the campaign, and help Verified Champions spread accurate climate information on TikTok by following the #VerifiedChampions hashtag and liking their content.

For more information, please contact:
Nora Bakhash, Principal Researcher, RCEPUNESCO 

[1] Data obtained from Pulsar reporting.