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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Prominent environmentalists and Democratic activists say Facebook is "allowing the spread of climate misinformation to flourish, unchecked" and urging the company's external oversight board to intervene.

Driving the news: A new open letter with signatories including Stacey Abrams, John Podesta and Tom Steyer takes aim at distribution of content from a group called the CO2 Coalition without warning labels or restrictions.

  • The coalition argues more carbon emissions are a "net benefit" and rejects consensus science on warming.

Why it matters: The letter, organized by the recently launched group Climate Power 2020, could provide an early test for how the recently established oversight board deals with the topic.

The state of play: The letter to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, co-chair of the board, centers on recent reports about how Facebook addressed a CO2 Coalition post.

  • "Instead of heeding the advice of independent scientists and approved fact-checkers from [the nonpartisan fact-checking group] Climate Feedback, Facebook sided with fossil fuel lobbyists by allowing the CO2 Coalition to take advantage of a giant loophole for 'opinion' content," it states.
  • "The loophole has allowed climate denial to fester by labeling it 'opinion,' and thus, avoiding the platform’s fact-checking processes," the letter adds.

What’s next: It’s hard to say! Scott Rosenberg, Axios managing editor for tech, notes that the oversight board hasn’t formally begun operating yet and will have discretion about which complaints to take on.

Go deeper: Millions more homes face flood risk than previously thought

Go deeper

Sep 29, 2020 - Economy & Business

Media prepares to fact check debates in real time

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

From live blogs to video chyrons and tweets, media companies are introducing new ways to fact check the presidential debates in real time this year.

Between the lines: The debates themselves are likely to leave less room for live fact-checking from moderators than a traditional news interview would.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 30, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Energy industry veterans form SPAC to take climate startups public

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

A group of energy industry veterans announced Tuesday that they are launching a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) aimed specifically at taking climate tech startups public.

Why it matters: They're self-branding as "the world’s first climate-focused" SPAC to launch.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.