Anyone who’s delved even briefly into the many ways we need to respond to the climate crisis has likely encountered a torrent of confusing and dubious claims. Some are easy to spot and debunk—like the notion that climate change is altogether fake and thus safe to ignore—but others are more subtle.

So today, let’s take on efforts to confound and delay climate action.

Based on an AI-assisted analysis of thousands of suspect YouTube videos, the 2023 report “The New Climate Denial” found that rather than contend the planet isn’t getting hotter or that humans aren’t responsible, opponents of climate action are instead increasingly trying to cast doubt about the science, solutions, and the dangers of climate change.

Indeed, on the heels of the hottest year on record—and probably in many thousands of years—it’s been getting harder to persuade folks that recent trends are actually peachy.

“That’s why people guarding the status quo have changed tactics, shifting from denial of climate science to strategies such as deflection—for example, getting us to focus on our own personal carbon footprints rather than examining the huge role of big oil and gas companies in delaying climate action,” writes author Susan Joy Hassol in Scientific American: “They also sow doubt by promoting myths and lies about solutions—they’re too expensive, they’re unreliable.”

Of course, the reality is we can’t afford NOT to overhaul our energy system’s reliance on fossil fuels. As we’ve noted before, pollution from fossil fuels kills millions of people each year, and wind and solar are now just cheaper. Oil companies with vested interests have tried to change the subject for many years.

Hassol also points to other challenges, like the idea that it’s too late for meaningful action. This is false, but don’t take it from us, take it from climate justice writer Mary Annaïse Heglar

“If you're worried that it's too late to do anything about climate change and we should all just give up, I have great news for you: that day is not coming in your lifetime. As long as you have breath in your body, you will have work to do,” Heglar writes.

Part of that work is getting informed and figuring out how you can apply your talents to confronting the climate crisis; exists to help with that.

– Daniel Potter