The World Economic Forum didn’t say it’s engineering the climate

27 October 2022
What was claimed

An article published by the World Economic Forum confirms that the organisation is engineering the climate.

Our verdict

This is not what the article claims. It simply describes some of the technology being developed to counteract global warming.

A post on Facebook claims that the World Economic Forum (WEF) has said it is engineering the climate. 

The post shows a screenshot of a 2018 article published by the WEF with the headline “From synthetic life to engineering the climate – how we’re learning to manage the Earth”. The Facebook post has the caption: “WEF claims to engineer the climate.” 

But this isn’t what the article says. Rather than allegedly confirming that the WEF is engineering the climate, as the Facebook post suggests, the article simply explains some of the technologies in development to counteract global warming. 

These include “solar radiation management” methods, which are intended to reflect the sun’s rays back into space in order to cool the atmosphere. 

We have written about climate engineering, sometimes called geoengineering, before—especially in the context of the ‘chemtrails’ conspiracy theory. One possible form of geoengineering is Solar Radiation Modification which, as described in the WEF article, could involve injecting aerosols high into the atmosphere.

The WEF is heavily involved in initiatives related to climate change, identifying “disorderly climate transition” as a major global risk in a recent report. However, Full Fact could find no explicit evidence to suggest that the organisation is involved in Solar Radiation Modification, and in fact the same report states that “there are still many unknown risks from deploying untested biotechnical and geoengineering technologies”. 

Another article published by the organisation about solar engineering also highlights the unknown dangers of such projects, saying it would be a “risk” as “it remains unknown what might happen if the world pursues strategies like stratospheric aerosol injection”. (Solar geoengineering involves spraying substances that form reflective aerosols into the atmosphere which can then bounce sunlight back into space).

We have contacted the WEF to confirm whether or not the organisation is involved in Solar Radiation Modification or other geoengineering technology, and will update our article if we receive a response. 

Other fact checkers such as Reuters have debunked claims that the WEF is involved in geoengineering projects such as “space bubbles” to deflect solar radiation in the past, after the WEF published a blog about research into the technology. A spokesperson for the WEF told Reuters that the organisation had not funded the space bubbles project and was “not involved in any aspect of it”. 

We have also frequently written about the WEF, who are often referred to in online misinformation—particularly in relation to conspiracies around its ‘Great Reset initiative’. 

Image courtesy of Evangeline Shaw

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