Facebook launches climate science information centre, targets net-zero value chain by 2030

Facebook is used by more than three billion people globally

Called the ‘Climate Science Information Centre’, the resource was made available to Facebook users in the UK, US, France and Germany late on Monday (14 September).

It features facts, figures and data from organisations including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Met Office, UN Environment Programme (UNEP), The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and World Meteorological Organization (WMO), with relevant news posts citing such sources also promoted.

Facebook is hoping that the tool will prove as useful and widely-used as its Covid-19 information centre, which it is modelled after. The social media giant directed more than two billion users to the resource and saw 600,000 click through at least once.

“One of the biggest lessons we have learned from the Covid-19 pandemic is how powerful Facebook can be for connecting people to accurate, expert advice and information during a global crisis,” the firm said in a statement. “Now, we are taking a similar approach to the climate crisis.”

The statement highlighted how the new centre will build on Facebook’s existing fact-checking provisions. The firm has independent fact-checking organisations working to identify fake news in more than 60 languages and, once a post has been identified as either fully or partly non-factual, a content warning is applied and the algorithm is instructed to reduce distribution.

Nonetheless, it has repeatedly faced criticism for failing to tackle misinformation “loopholes” on climate science. In 2018, a video promoting climate science denialism was viewed by more than five million users before it was removed. Facebook has also been found to categorise scientific research alongside opinion pieces and to flag them as such.

Net-zero vision

Earlier this year, Facebook announced that it was on track to meet its 2020 sustainability goals, including an ambition to procure 100% renewable electricity for operations and to reduce operational emissions by 75%.

It built on this announcement this week with a new commitment to reach net-zero operations by the end of the year, offsetting the residual 25% unaccounted for by progress towards the previous target, and to achieve a net-zero value chain by 2030. Emissions from commuting, business travel and the supply chain will be covered.

Facebook will work with the Science-Based Targets initiative (SBTi) to develop emissions reductions targets for the supply chain over the next 24 months. It has said it will work directly with suppliers to help them set their own targets and invest in the efficiency and carbon removal technologies they need to meet them.

The commitments come after Facebook faced scrutiny from CDP earlier this year about the ambition of its climate targets and the quality of its disclosure and reporting.

Sarah George

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