Fabricated screenshot peddled as Irish Independent's headline on 'asymptomatic global warming'

By: Ishita Goel
July 27 2023

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Fabricated screenshot peddled as Irish Independent's headline on 'asymptomatic global warming'


The Verdict False

A fake headline claiming 'Ireland is suffering from asymptomatic global warming' has been falsely misattributed to Irish biochemist Luke O'Neill.

Claim ID 9c65053f


A screenshot of a headline purportedly published by the Irish Independent on July 20 is viral on social media. The headline reads: "Climate crisis explainer: Why is July so cold while everywhere else on the planet is burning? Prof. Luke O'Neill says Ireland is suffering from asymptomatic global warming." The logo of the Irish daily can be seen on the top left of the screenshot, and the dateline reads "Thursday 20th July." The archives to the posts are here and here

The purported headline claims that Luke O'Neill—a professor of biochemistry at the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin—said that Ireland is suffering from 'asymptomatic global warming.' A post sharing the screenshot had over 56,000 views at the time of publishing. 

However, neither did Irish Independent publish any article with this headline, nor did O'Neill say anything about 'asymptomatic global warming.'

In Fact

We found that Irish Independent had not shared any article with the viral headline on July 20 or any other day on its website or social media accounts. We also checked the archived versions of the accounts and website and found no results for July 20.

The last piece O'Neill penned for Irish Independent was published on July 23, and was headlined "Luke O'Neill: How to look after your body in a heatwave." The newspaper has also quoted the biochemist in several articles, but none of them mention 'asymptomatic global warming' in Ireland.

A spokesperson for Irish Independent told Reuters that the newspaper had published no such article with the headline in question. Logically Facts has also contacted Irish Independent for clarification. This story will be updated if and when we receive a response.

O'Neill told Logically Facts that he had not made any comment on 'asymptomatic global warming.' He said, "I was on Newstalk radio last week talking about how heat can affect the body— I've no idea what 'asymptomatic global warming' is."

Parts of the U.K., Europe, and the U.S. are experiencing severe heatwaves. Against this backdrop, on July 20, O'Neill spoke about heatwaves on The Pat Kenny Show on the Irish radio station Newstalk. On its website, Newstalk reported that, according to O'Neill, some people struggle to handle the heat because of heat shock proteins – special proteins made by cells to protect the body under heat conditions. He also mentioned a few measures and steps to bear the heat and stay safe but did not make any comment about 'asymptomatic global warming.'

The Verdict

Irish Independent did not publish an article warning about 'asymptomatic global warming' in Ireland, and the professor quoted in the purported headline did not make any such statement either. The viral screenshot has been fabricated.

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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