Another big week for climate-related advertising
Plus, a Florida anti-environment dark money group targets Val Demings
Welcome to Climate Monitor, a weekly digest of the digital tactics and strategies that polluters and climate-action groups are using to shift public opinion and move legislation. We’ve examined political ad spending on platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Google by several dozen groups and corporations from the past week, as well as what’s trending on social media. Tell your colleagues to subscribe here!
Climate groups spent more on Meta political ads last week than any other this year, with Science Moms, NextGen America, and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications topping the charts.
The NRDC Action Fund is building its grassroots audience with activist-focused Meta ads, and the League of Conservation Voters launched a new ad advocating for the expansion of the Supreme Court.
BP America and Enbridge are doubling down on their most recent campaigns supporting “net zero projects” and “low-carbon solutions.”
A dark money group called Florida First Project spent $14k on YouTube ads attacking Val Demings for ties to “radical environmentalists.”
The most engaged Facebook posts mentioning climate change and related terms last week came from Heather Cox Richardson, Bill Maher Fan Page, and the Washington Examiner.
National Digital Ad Spending on Climate
Meta (Facebook + Instagram)
First, here are the top 25 spenders nationwide on climate and energy-related ads on Meta platforms from last week:
Last week, climate groups spent more on Meta political ads than any other week this year, dropping approximately $422,000. The biggest spenders in this group are Science Moms and NextGen America, which continued investing in ongoing campaigns.
On a smaller scale, the NRDC Action Fund and League of Conservation Voters launched new ad campaigns last week. The NRDC Action Fund spent just under $5k on a nationwide email acquisition campaign focused on building its grassroots climate activist audience. Even more political was LCV, which launched an ad last week echoing Sen. Elizabeth’s Warren call to expand the Supreme Court. Otherwise, the group spent most of its Facebook ad budget targeting New Mexico with pro-Biden ads they’ve been using virtually since the beginning of his administration.
Spending on Meta political ads by polluters and their allies grew by 25 percent last week, largely driven by increased spending by BP America and Enbridge. These companies are continuing to invest in ongoing campaigns that advocate for investing in “net zero projects” and “low-carbon solutions.”
Google + YouTube
We didn’t identify any new or ongoing ad campaigns on Google from clean energy groups or polluters from last week. We did find though that a dark money group called the Florida First Project affiliated with Sen. Marco Rubio spent $14,000 on YouTube ads in the Tampa-Sarasota media market last week attacking Val Demings. They attack her for “voting with Nancy Pelosi 100% of the time…with gas prices soaring, Val voted with Pelosi to give billions in handouts to radical environmentalists, raise energy prices, and cost taxpayers trillions.”
Taking sides in next week’s primary between Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newman in the new IL-06, LCV Action Fund is running a Snap ad campaign targeting a small area outside of Chicago supporting Casten. The quick video ad reads: “Casten understands that our energy crisis is also a climate crisis. He knows we need real solutions.”
Overall, here’s how much has been spent on the platform this year on related ads:
Climate & Energy Ads in the 2022 Elections
Here’s a roundup of notable energy or climate-related advertising from battleground midterm campaigns:
MN-02: Tyler Kistner launched more fundraising ads this week: “Democrats are destroying our nation – opening our borders, suppressing American energy, indoctrinating children, and weakening America’s stance on the world stage.”
CO-08: Ahead of next week’s primary election, Republican Jan Kulmann is doubling down on her oil and gas background: “As an oil and gas engineer, Jan knows how to keep energy costs down. We need affordable energy in Colorado.”
CO-GOV: Republican Heidi Ganahl launched a series of new ads in the final weeks of Colorado’s primary season: “The ANTI-AMERICAN ENERGY agenda isn’t just raising prices at the pump, it’s costing American jobs and crushing rural America, especially in Colorado.”
GA-SEN: Pro-Herschel Walker group 34N22 launched another ad attacking Sen. Raphael Warnock over energy prices: “Record-breaking diesel prices could lead to food shortages in US, farmers warn 🚨 What is Raphael Warnock doing to help us? Raising more taxes and blocking more domestic energy production? ❌”
Reaching Frontline Communities
Over the past 30 days, the Texas Campaign for the Environment has spent nearly $6.5k on Meta ads targeting the Lone Star State. Most recently, they’ve been running ads highlighting the current climate realities facing Texas as well as the risks offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico poses to both the coast and Texans’ finances.
Tracking Climate Disinfo Online
This week, tracking found that more than 20 million people were exposed to climate misinformation on Twitter during the time period reviewed, a decrease of five million from last week's exposure levels. The content had over 56,000 engagements on Facebook, an increase of 42,000 from last week's exposure levels. The content had over 3,100,000 views on Telegram, an increase of 1,100,000 from last week's exposure levels.
The top narratives and themes are below. You can find the full report here.
Obama installed three huge propane tanks on his Martha’s Vineyard property
1,100,000 human accounts exposed on Twitter, over 6,900 engagements on Facebook, over 280,000 views on Telegram.
Cows dying in Kansas was not caused by climate change
2,500,000 human accounts exposed on Twitter, minimal Facebook engagement identified, minimal Telegram engagement identified.
Environmental policies are responsible for high inflation
2,100,000 human accounts exposed on Twitter, over 820 engagements on Facebook, over 82,000 views on Telegram.
Roy (R-TX-21) proposed a bill to defund John Kerry’s climate czar role
1,600,000 human accounts exposed on Twitter, over 32,000 engagements on Facebook, minimal Telegram engagement identified.
What’s trending organically?
Last week, the most engaged Facebook posts mentioning climate change, energy, and related terms came from Heather Cox Richardson and the Bill Maher Fanpage, the latter of which reposted an Atlanta Journal-Constitution political cartoon illustrating the cost of gas to our planet. The most engaged relevant post from the right came from the Washington Examiner, which shared a video of climate activists being forcibly moved out of the road in both Italy and the UK. Their video got nearly 970k views, and the same video from an Instagram account called Millenial Republicans got 664k views.
Additionally, the most engaged posts about electric vehicles last week came from Breitbart and TurningPoint USA. Breitbart called Ford’s stop-sale of their electric Mustang crossovers due to a potential safety issue an “ELECTRIC CAR FAIL,” while Breitbart accused the GM CEO of being a hypocrite for charging an EV with fossil fuel energy. Together, these two posts earned nearly 57k interactions, and TPUSA’s video got 256.1k views.
We’ll also note that Donald Trump Jr. again reposted a video claiming his dad “warned us about Biden and oil.” This is the fifth time he’s reposted this specific video since early March; this time, his video got 213.4k views.
Overall, here’s how the most engaged content on Facebook breaks down:
On Instagram, the most highly engaged post that mentioned climate- or energy-related terms came from Donald Trump Jr., which combined ivermectin, Kid Rock, and climate denialism, and got 225k interactions. The most engaged relevant posts from pro-climate action pages came from Shaun King and Leonardo DiCaprio. The latter again used his platform to highlight how our climate is currently changing, while the former railed against oil profits. However, King got a misinformation disclaimer on his post.
Overall, here’s how the most engaged content on Instagram mentioning climate, energy, and related terms breaks down:
That’s it for Climate Monitor this week. As always, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to drop us a line by shooting an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.