US6 | Misunderstanding or malice? Getting to the bottom of geoscience disinformation
Misunderstanding or malice? Getting to the bottom of geoscience disinformation
Convener: Flora Maria BroczaECSECS | Co-conveners: Chloe Hill, Viktor J. Bruckman, Kirsten v. Elverfeldt, Christina West
| Wed, 17 Apr, 08:30–10:15 (CEST)
Room E1
Wed, 08:30
In 2022 the IPCC called out climate disinformation for the first time, noting a “deliberate undermining of science” was contributing to “misperceptions of the scientific consensus, uncertainty, disregarded risk and urgency, and dissent”.

The spread of false and misleading information can erode trust in public institutions, governments, and the scientific community. It fosters polarisation, disrupts informed decision-making, obstructs constructive dialogue, and subsequently poses a threat to social cohesion and democracy. As researchers, we stand in the eye of the storm. As professional “knowledge generators”, we produce and evaluate facts and should be well-equipped to debunk information we read elsewhere. At the same time, we may not be as well equipped as we think and our research may be taken out of context, with single facts inserted into a wider misleading narrative.

During this Union Symposium, an expert panel will outline what mis- and disinformation is, how it is created and spread in the digital age, why false experts gain traction and how they intentionally misrepresent scientific research, and how the dissemination of doubt and denial can undermine public trust, influence policy decisions, and impact society as a whole. The session will also discuss the role and responsibility of the scientific community in managing and preventing the spread of misinformation as well as the other tools that exist to deal with it.

Given the prevalence of mis and disinformation in today’s society, this session will be relevant for participants from all career stages and scientific disciplines.


  • Bärbel Winkler: IT systems analyst & Skeptical Science contributor
  • Vita Crivello: Science-Policy & Science Communication expert 
  • Gaura Naithani: Project Manager & Researcher, European Journalism Centre
  • Simon Clark: Science communicator & author

Session assets

Programme: Wed, 17 Apr | Room E1



  • Bärbel Winkler, Skeptical Science, United States of America
  • Vitalba Crivello, Belgium
  • Simon Clark, United Kingdom
  • Gaura Naithani, European Journalism Centre, Netherlands