The devastating wildfire on Maui last month produced especially ludicrous claims. Social media that racked up millions of views blamed the blaze on a "directed energy weapon" (the evidence: years-old footage not recorded in Hawaii). And as Florida braced last month for Hurricane Idalia, some people claimed incorrectly online that such storms are not affected by fossil fuel emissions.
The unfounded claims that now regularly follow natural disasters and dangerous weather, contradicting a preponderance of scientific evidence, can often seem frivolous and fantastical. They persist, however — attracting large audiences and frustrating climate experts, who say the world has little time to evade a global warming catastrophe.
After holding a similar role for the city of Athens, which was threatened by a ruinous spate of wildfires last month, Myrivili said climate misinformation was "one of the most painful things because it's like adding insult to injury."
Scientists and other climate change experts are being besieged by personal attacks, including claims that they are shills for a globalist cabal or other shadowy forces, said Jennie King, head of climate research and policy at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a think tank that studies online platforms. Eroding trust in experts traps everyone in an "antechamber of discussion," bickering about credibility rather than taking action.
"The danger is not that people hold unpalatable views in and of themselves," she said. "It's more our inability to have a good-faith conversation about these absolutely critical issues in the years ahead."
Graft Continues to Be a Fight, and a Headache, for Ukraine 前方吃緊後方緊吃 烏國忙掃貪
文/Andrew E. Kramer
The removal of Ukraine's minister of defense after a flurry of reports of graft and financial mismanagement in his department underscores a pivotal challenge for President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's wartime leadership: stamping out the corruption that had been widespread in Ukraine for years.
Official corruption was a topic that had been mostly taboo throughout the first year of the war, as Ukrainians rallied around their government in a fight for national survival. But Zelenskyy's announcement that he was replacing the defense minister, Oleksii Reznikov, elevated the issue to the highest level of Ukrainian politics.
It comes at a pivotal moment in the war, as Ukraine prosecutes a counteroffensive in the country's south and east that relies heavily on Western allies for military assistance. These allies have, since the beginning of the war, pressured Zelenskyy's government to ensure that Ukrainian officials were not siphoning off some of the billions of dollars in aid that was flowing into Kyiv.
Zelenskyy has responded to the pressure from allies and criticism at home with a flurry of anti-corruption initiatives, not all of them welcomed by experts on government transparency. The most controversial has been a proposal to use martial law powers to punish corruption as treason.
Reznikov has not been personally implicated in the allegations of mismanaged military contracts. But the widening investigations at his ministry posed a first significant challenge for the government on anti-corruption measures since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.
"The question here is, 'Where is the money?'" said Daria Kaleniuk, the executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center in Ukraine, a group dedicated to rooting out public graft that is now focused on war profiteering.
"Corruption can kill," Kaleniuk said. "Depending on how effective we are in guarding the public funds, the soldier will either have a weapon or not have a weapon."
That high-level cases of corruption are coming to light is positive, said Andrii Borovyk, director of Transparency International in Ukraine, rather than an indication of a nation bogged down by insider dealing. It shows that the country can fight the war and graft at the same time, he said.