It really began with Katrina in 2005, watching the footage of incredible destruction on Wunderground. I became concerned and followed people like Joe Romm at his excellent Climate Progress blog, or read the often highly technical expertise from actual climate scientists at RealClimate.org.
We write the year 2008 I open the url YouTube.com looking for climate related content. Voila, the search puts out lots of videos, but what is this, the majority of them is about Al Gore, general explaining that all is a big scheme to take away your rights, money, and liberties.
Other videos claim it’s the sun, or we learn that carbon dioxide is good for us, slogans like “we call it life” pop-up.
I upload my first video, it is Stephen Hawking’s machine voice with some quickly assembled images of Venus, hurricanes, pandemics, or artificial intelligence. A few years later the video had over 50K views, was among the first to pop up in the search, it was a lot at the time.
Buchheit, the creator of Gmail, said he “wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out”, adding that the slogan was “also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent”
It is 2011, I maintain a WordPress blog to help me make sense of the sciences, and in hopes that more people become concerned. Again, I take a look at YouTube, the situation meanwhile became worse, climate science denying videos make up the large majority of climate content.
This is when I go full force in establishing what became one of the largest climate science video channels on the internet, Climate State was born. Over 1000 videos uploaded, millions of views, when most people didn’t even had a Google account.
The channel bridged a gap, often Universities were slow to upload talks, if at all, or if they even maintained a platform presence. Media outlets are worse, the mantra here is still to pit a scientist versus a fossil fuel financed dude, in order to present ‘both sides’, as if the scientific facts are up for discussion.
The ‘dude’ is usually very good in talking, in convincing, not something all scientists are very skilled in, because they don’t have to.
Since around 2016, the media situation has changed, science is usually presented accurate, but according to recent studies ,most YouTube climate change videos oppose the consensus view, YouTube’s top related videos have a climate change denial problem, YouTube ads of 100 top brands fund climate misinformation, or some think it is time to ask, Why is YouTube Broadcasting Climate Misinformation to Millions?
Unfortunately, time is a luxury, something we don’t really have a lot of.
You would think that by now we are all on the same page, at least with the largest single monopoly on the planet, the climate denial monster known as YouTube. Perhaps, the company has done more to delay climate action than everybody else.
In reality people are shy to criticize YouTube, because they profit off of it. This is why you will find it difficult to read critical commentary about YouTube on the mainstream media. Basically the mainstream media has partnered with YouTube, and got all their wettest wishes fulfilled, but this is another story.
YouTube bans Climate State
For unknown reasons, YouTube staff terminated, de-platformed the last remaining Climate State channel, they got rid of the first channel in 2017. Now Dr. Disrespect also knows how this feels. No warnings, no nada, no way to communicate properly, account in good standing, you can read their official response on twitter.
You only get these kind of fascist standard replies, even after you helped them grow to what they are today. This is just one reason why YouTube staff actions translate into evil.
Did we violate YouTube community guidelines, by spamming, scamming, or with deceptive content? No, of course not. The channel largely consisted of public domain content, often edited, science talks, often edited to improve audio and visuals, or in more recent years dozens of our own productions.
The decision to terminate one of the leading climate change channels, fits precisely with the erroneous decision of YouTube staff to block us from disputing a false copyrightstrike, or when a staff person told us that they found suspicious view behavior on our videos.
Since the channel was created it was frequently targeted by climate deniers. They used false emails to file copyright strikes, they run view bots on our videos, some even pressured companies to ask us to take down a video.
Because YouTube staff is hiding behind their Newspeak guidelines, claiming the opposite of what the channel stood for, we will likely never know the real reason. Yet, with studies concluding what content dominates the site, we can learn more about motives.
Climate State is a Success Story
However, what remains is a channel which was there for science, made a real impact with roughly 15 million views, at a time when science content was scarce, a time when many Universities and media outlets were still about to wake-up when it came to communicating the facts.
Today, there is good news, a lot of high quality science channels, media is letting science speak uninterrupted, even though we need more, all hands on deck!
Chris Machens is leading video editor at Climate State, and currently works on a video game involving climate change, check it out.