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

Global coal-fired power generating capacity sees first half-year decline on record

A field of sunflowers is within sight of the Mehrum coal-fired power station in Germany. Photo: Julian Stratenschulte/picture alliance via Getty Images

The global amount of coal-fired power generating capacity fell slightly in the first half of 2020 as plant closures outpaced additions, per new data Monday from the group Global Energy Monitor.

Why it matters: It's the first half-year decline on record, Christine Shearer, the group's coal program director, writes in Carbon Brief. Coal-fired power plants are a huge source of global CO2 emissions.

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 19,451,097 — Total deaths: 722,835 — Total recoveries — 11,788,665Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2. p.m. ET: 4,968,413 — Total deaths: 161,858 — Total recoveries: 1,623,870 — Total tests: 60,415,558Map.
  3. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective.
  4. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  5. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
1 hour ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.