Last week, David Rose wrote an article telling us all that the we are headed for global cooling. This week, he has an article telling us that global warming will be half as much as previously thought. Which one is it? Neither. Both articles are wrong but unfortunately both articles have been echoed all over the web by denier blogs and Rupert Murdoch-owned news media. A number of scientists and bloggers have pointed out the mistakes but so far there is no acknowledgement or correction by anyone and the scientists correcting the errors have no hope of competing with Rupert Murdoch’s massive reach. So I will add my tiny and insignificant voice to those who have already addressed the mistakes even though it will have little effect on the damage already wreaked by these fools. I guess this means you win, Rupert.
The headline for the first article is And now it’s global COOLING! Record return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 60% in a year. The scientific journalist Peter Hadfield has made an entertaining youtube video about this misleading article. Watch it. It’s very good and only about 4 mintues.
Rupert Murdoch even tweeted about this apparent recovery of Arctic sea ice and he has almost half a million followers (I’ve included a reply by Bob Ward from the Grantham Research Institute) :
The second David Rose article suggests that global warming is only half what the IPCC predicted in 2007. It claims the IPCC predicted global warming of 0.2C per decade. Is this correct? No. Oxford physicist Myles Allen corrects this mistake in one of the comments – there are 500 of them so this one gets lost in all the mess – of the David Rose article.
Since I am quoted in this article, I think it is important to point out that the IPCC in 2007 said that the “warming trend over the last 50 years was 0.13 degrees C per decade.” 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 — a full degree of warming between the 1950s and 2000s? So the headline should have been “Global warming is just 92% of what we said it was”, on an apples-for-apples comparison.
I want to credit Phil Plait who has a fabulous article about misleading Daily Mail articles at slate.com for finding Allen’s comment. It’s also possible to go to the previous IPCC report to verify what they did say which is not what David Rose is claiming:
The linear warming trend over the 50 years from 1956 to 2005 (0.13 [0.10 to 0.16]°C per decade) is nearly twice that for the 100 years from 1906 to 2005.
If I make a mistake, I feel embarrassed. Maybe a little stupid. I would correct it and apologise but I have yet to see this from David Rose, Andrew Bolt, Rupert Murdoch and all the others. Why not? Do they really believe what they’ve written? The first mistake involving Arctic sea ice is quite extraordinary and one that only a moron would make but I don’t think these people are morons which suggests to me that it is not a mistake. It is my view that they are deliberately misleading the public.
Wikipedia has a page on journalism ethics and standards. The first four principles they list are truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity and impartiality. I do not see any of these qualities in Rose’s articles at the Daily Mail nor in the carbon-copied versions it spawned on the world wide web.