Over the weekend, Twitter users — including some climate scientists — were upset by a plaque at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, which seems to be spreading misinformation about climate change. The panel, titled "Recent Climatic Changes and Extinctions," misstates the role that human emissions of greenhouse gases play in causing global warming. It also says that, although we're currently living in one of Earth's warm periods, "there is no reason to believe that another Ice Age won't come." But it turns out, the panel was put up 25 years ago, according to the museum, so it contains outdated information that reads very differently today.
Images of the sign were first tweeted by environmental economist Jonah Busch, and were shared over 2,000 times. Busch tweeted that the panel is at the David H. Koch Dinosaur Wing, which was funded by right-wing philanthropist and fossil fuel magnate David H. Koch, and asked the museum to "separate this panel from its donor's interest." The tweet sparked outrage among scientists and the general public: "Dear @AMNH I bring my young kids to visit regularly because science & natural history is fascinating, inspiring and fun," one tweet read. "Please do not misguide their curious minds. If we can't even trust the AMNH to give us the facts who can we? Very sad."
But the sign is actually located in the Hall of Advanced Mammals in the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing of Mammals and Their Extinct Relatives, and was installed "many years before David Koch supported the Dinosaur Halls," says Kendra Snyder, a spokesperson for the AMNH, in an email to The Verge. Busch says he didn't realize that hall was separate from the dinosaur wing because both are on the same floor. Because some of the permanent exhibitions at the AMNH were funded by Exxon as well as the Koch brothers, which are known funders of climate deniers, "it makes it that much harder to give them the benefit of the doubt," Busch tells The Verge. But Snyder says that at the AMNH, "scientific and educational content is determined by scientists and educators.That is not the role of donors."