A new study finds that people who regularly posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, have fled the platform since Elon Musk took over.
The study, published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution, found that nearly half of users on the platform who posted about climate and the environment at least once every 15 days had become inactive in the six months following Musk’s takeover.
It’s a trend that’s been noted in multiple articles. People who promote the idea that global warming is causing a crisis find themselves exposed to perspectives they disagree with, which they consider abusive and intolerable. Then, they either leave Twitter or block people from commenting on their feeds.
Many of the most active users on the platform who disagree with the crisis perspective, however, express no similar intolerance of engaging people. Many of them say they welcome the opportunity to have such discussions.
Meteorologist Chris Martz regularly responds to people who present exaggerations about climate trends or misattribute the contribution climate change has on natural disasters.
He told Cowboy State Daily that effective science communicators don’t wall themselves into an echo chamber.
“You’re supposed to do it in a public forum, such as social media, or on a debate stage where you’re able to be confronted with people who might have a different perspective,” Martz said.
Martz said he’s regularly blocked by people who promote the climate crisis narrative, including Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, a Canadian atmospheric scientist who The New York Times described as “one of the nation’s most effective communicators on the threat of climate change.”
Hayhoe and Penn State Professor of Atmospheric Science Dr. Micheal E. Mann in May were tweeting about an app called BlockParty, which contained a list of people deemed to be “climate deniers.” With the app, users could block people on the list in bulk.
Mann claimed these coordinated blocking efforts would lower their ranking on the platform.
“If you’re confident in your position, you should be able to withstand criticism,” Martz said.
Cowboy State Daily reached out to Hayhoe and Mann but didn’t receive a response.
Feet To The Ground
Martz doesn’t just extend this criticism to people who promote the climate crisis narrative.
On Friday, Martz was criticizing Steve Milloy, an adjunct analyst with Competitive Enterprise Institute who served on the EPA transition team for the Trump administration.
“I criticize climate activists all the time. That's what I do. But I think that it's important to keep the other side’s feet on the ground, too,” Martz said.
Milloy is firmly on the side that claims that climate change is entirely a hoax. He argues that the idea of an average global temperature is a “bogus concept,” which Martz disputes.
In his response to Milloy, Martz argued that a global mean temperature can be calculated, at the surface or by satellites.
“While it may not be the best measure for climate change, it is in our toolbox and is worth monitoring,” Martz wrote.
Milloy responded to Martz's points, arguing that the idea of an average global temperature has no meaning and temperature data lacks precisions.
"'Average global temperature' is a fake concept and metric invented for the climate hoax," Milloy wrote.
While climate alarmists don't often open themselves up to the same kind of scrutiny from critics, there's a robust debate on the side of climate crisis skeptics.
There are exceptions.
Gerald Kutney, a commenter on print media and social media on the politics of the climate crisis, has told Cowboy State Daily he doesn’t block people.
Kutney even had a debate on YouTube with Tony Heller, a geologist and engineer who lives in Cheyenne.
Heller told Cowboy State Daily that he’s regularly blocked by those who disagree with him. He said people who feel strongly about a position are often eager to engage in competition, if they think they can demonstrate the strength of their position.
“They can assert their dominance and make themselves look good,” he said.
Heller argues that the reason climate alarmists shy away from such engagement is that they don’t feel they can win such a argument.
Prior to Musk’s takeover of Twitter, perspectives challenging climate change and policies addressing it by rapidly eliminating fossil fuels were shadowbanned, meaning they received low rankings and wouldn’t be seen by many users.
Now, users like Mann and Hayhoe only have the option to block people, Heller said.
Heller said he’s blocked by both, as well as many other prominent voices promoting the climate crisis narrative.
“Rather than engaging me, rather than debating me, they block me,” Heller said.
Heller said he will block people who make death threats or spam relentlessly.
“The block feature is definitely useful. I try not to use it in an abusive fashion when people are debating me or trying to present honest information,” Heller said.
He said often people who debate him present data from NASA or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Heller believes the data is fraudulent, and he said when people use it to support their arguments, it’s an opportunity to explain why he believes the data is unreliable.
Heller said he’s concerned about the government takeover of science, and he wants to promote good scientific practices that aren’t polluted by ideology.
He grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico, home of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and government scientists. It made him aware of how politics undermines science.
“Rather than doing good science, it was just people pushing political agendas,” he said.