Marco Silva is a climate disinformation specialist.

The world has already lost the battle against global warming according to climate doomers. While that view is spreading online, there are others who are fighting the tide.

Charles McBryde hit the record button on his phone as he walked down the street.

I need your help.

Charles lives in California. His quirky TikTok videos about news, history, and politics have earned him more than 150,000 followers.

He decided to confess in the video that was recorded in October of 2021.

He said that he is a climate doomer and that there is little to nothing we can do to reverse climate change on a global scale.

Climate doomism says that we are past the point of being able to do anything about global warming and that mankind is likely to become extinct.

The argument is picking up steam online.

Image source, Charles McBryde/TikTok
Image caption, "I am a climate doomer," Charles McBryde told his TikTok followers last October

He followed up with a plea after admitting to feeling overwhelmed, anxious and depressed about global warming.

He called on the activists and scientists of TikTok to convince him that there is something worth fighting for.

It wasn't long before someone answered.

A scientist by the name of Alaina Wood is based in Tennessee. She is known as thegarbagequeen on TikTok.

She explained in simple terms why he was wrong after watching the video.

She has embraced the challenge of challenging climate doomism with a sense of urgency.

People are giving up on activism because they can no longer do it. This is too much and if it really is too late, why am I trying?

Image source, Alaina Wood
Image caption, Sustainability scientist and TikToker Alaina Wood is on a mission to reassure people it is not too late for the climate

Climate scientist Dr Friederike Otto, who has been working with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, doesn't think it's helpful to pretend that climate change will lead to extinction.

In its most recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change laid out a detailed plan that it believes could help the world avoid the worst impacts of rising temperatures.

It involves rapid, deep and immediate cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases, which trap the sun's heat and make the planet hotter.

There is no denying that there are large changes across the globe, and that some of them are irreversible, says Dr Otto, a senior lecturer in climate science at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change and the Environment.

It doesn't mean the world is going to end, but we have to stop emitting.

In the US, the Pew Research Center ran a poll last year on attitudes towards climate change.

The majority of respondents said they would change the way they lived to tackle the problem.

When asked how confident they were that climate action would reduce the effects of global warming, more than half said they had little to no confidence.

That sense of hopelessness is tapped into by doomism. Charles started with a community devoted to the potential collapse of civilisation.

The most apocalyptic language that I would find was actually coming from former climate scientists.

It is not possible to know if the people posting the messages were genuine scientists.

The posts had an effect on him. He admits that he fell down the rabbit hole.

Charles's story is not unusual, says the scientist.

She says she rarely encounters climate denial or any other form of misinformation on social media. People are saying that it is too late.

Misinformation that causes harm is forbidden by TikTok's rules. We sent the company some videos that were not true. The rules were found to have not been violated.

TikTok works with accredited fact-checkers to limit the spread of false or misleading climate information.

It is difficult to accurately measure doomism, but it is popular among young people.

There are people who are climate activists who are scared. She says that they want to make change, but feel they need to spread fear to do so.

There are people who know that fear goes viral, and they follow trends even if they don't understand the science.

I have watched several of the videos that she debunks. They feature young users who are sad about the future.

One young woman says that she doesn't know what she wants to do with her life and that she's not planning.

A lot of that is fatalistic humour, but people on TikTok are interpreting that as fact.

Is Charles still among them? Is he still a climate doomer?

He told me that he would say no.

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