The World Economic Forum (WEF) did not propose releasing “space bubbles” to tackle climate change, despite claims made online that misattributed a research paper to the organization. The WEF reposted (but did not author) an article published by an outlet titled ‘Dezeen’ that covered research being conducted by scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Researchers at MIT have been working on a concept that could counter climate change by testing thin-film structure bubbles in outer space conditions that could deflect solar radiation (here).
Some blogs and users online falsely claimed that the WEF had created the idea.
Users shared a blog on social media with a title that reads: “WEF suggests blotting out the Sun to fight climate change” (archive.ph/dfIw7).
One user sharing the blog on Twitter said: “WTF: Klaus Schwab wants to block out the sun using a “raft of bubbles the size of Brazil” in outer space, all to allow scientists to control the climate” (here).
Another user who shared the link to the blog on Facebook said: “I don’t remember voting for globalist robber barons who already think there are too many “useless eaters” on this planet, to make irreversible world-altering decisions like blotting out the sun which would kill off plants, then animals, then us” (here).
Other examples of the claim made online can be found (here) and (here).
The WEF did not propose any such idea themselves, however, but did repost an article written and published by another organization that reported on research conducted by researchers at MIT.
The blog post seen (here) and published in June 2022 has a headline that reads: “This ‘Space Bubble’ shield could counter the effects of climate change by reflecting the sun’s rays.”
A note at the top of the blog indicates that the webpage reposted another article. The text reads: “This is a reposting of an article originally published on the Dezeen website. If you wish to copy or redistribute this article please do so in accordance with these terms: (here)” (archive.ph/wip/kJ1RM).
The original article published by Dezeen can be read (here).
The WEF regularly republishes articles on ongoing scientific research that were first published elsewhere (www.weforum.org/agenda/space).
A WEF spokesperson confirmed to Reuters that the blog republished an article first published via Dezeen.
The WEF also published clips on the MIT research via the Forum’s social media channels, and the social media videos do not show WEF taking credit for the research (here), (here).
The spokesperson also told Reuters that the Forum has not funded this project and is not involved in any aspect of it.
A spokesperson for the MIT project similarly told Reuters that the WEF was not involved, and instead simply republished reporting on the ongoing research.
Other outlets have also covered the MIT research project, including Science Alert and Popular Mechanics (here), (here).
Partly false. The WEF did not propose a plan to release “space bubbles” to combat climate change. The Forum reposted a blog published by an outlet titled ‘Dezeen’ that covered research conducted by MIT. Users and blogs online misattributed the research to the WEF.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here.