“The main claim by David Rose in the Mail on Sunday is that rate of global warming since 1951 has been halved
since the last IPCC report. This is completely incorrect.”
“Neither the IPCC in 2007 nor the current crop of climate models ever suggested that the world has been,
or should have been, warming at 0.2 degrees per decade since 1951. So the headline should have been “Global warming
is just 92 percent of what we said it was”, on an apples-for-apples comparison.”
Could it be that Matt Ridley and his fellow confusionists at the Wall Street Journal have finally embraced serious climate action? Have they actually endorsed the warming target of 2°C (3.6°F), long embraced by scientists and global leaders who want to avert the worst impacts of climate change?
Or have they published another epic blunder-fest of disinformation? Have they actually gone so far as to (mis)cite the work of a scientist who explained a year ago that Mr. Ridley is misusing his research and is “just plain wrong about future global warming!”? You be the judge.
Reporter: Timothy Pope
Speaker: Doctor John Cook, Research Fellow in Climate Communication at the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland
COOK: The article is actually quoting from a UK tabloid, rather than quoting climate scientists or the actual IPCC report.
POPE: Take us through the main point of the article. It says that the IPCC’s 2007 Assessment Report claimed that the planet was warming by 0.2 degrees Celsius every ten years and that this leaked update says that it’s only 0.12 degrees celsius, which is a reasonable difference. Are those figures accurate?
COOK: I find that actually quite extraordinary that they say that. I went straight to the 2007 report this morning to have a look at what the IPCC actually said and they say that the linear warming trend over the last 50 years was 0.13 degrees celsius per decade, which is almost exactly the same as the accurate value that The Australian is talking about. So they just seem to have made up this 0.2 C per decade number. Even The Australian in this article aren’t disputing that carbon dioxide causes warming. What they’re talking about is climate sensitivity, which is how sensitive is our climate to a doubling of carbon dioxide.
Now in 2007, the IPCC said that their best estimates, climate sensitivity was three degrees, so if we doubled carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, then we should experience three degrees of global warming.
Now, in the latest IPCC report, which is due in about a week or so, the best estimate, the climate sensitivity is still three degrees celsius, so that hasn’t changed at all.
What has changed is the range of very likely value, so they give a best estimate, but then they also give a range of possible values.
POPE: Do you think there is a prevalence of perhaps wilful misreporting on this subject?
COOK: Ah, that’s a good question. And in fact, just over a the last few days, they’ve been pretty much a misinformation blitz. The Australian has published this article, but there’s also been articles written in some of the conservative newspapers in England, as well as The Wall Street Journal, which is a conservative newspaper in America. And all these articles have come out at the same time. They’re all saying the same message and they’re all misrepresenting the science. So not only has there been a misrepresentation of the science. Currently what we’re experiencing is a blitz of misinformation all at the same time, all over the world.
Memo to Jeff Bezos: If you want to fix the Washington Post, stop publishing anti-science pieces by Bjorn Lomborg
In a collective act of media irresponsibility, the New York Times and Washington Post have joined the Wall Street Journal in publishing “don’t worry, be happy” articles days before the big UN climate science report will say quite the opposite.
Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University, “an expert on environmental communications,” emailed me this comment
on the WashPost and NYT pieces:
“My opinion -– irresponsible, one-sided journalism on the part of both papers.”
“This really looks like the beginnings of the cultural/media counter-offensive against the forthcoming IPCC report.
That said – why are both the Post and Times publishing this nonsense? Either they are being played or are complicit.
Obviously fact checking is not required for op-eds in either of our “so-called” leading newspapers.”