Category Archives: Climate change “skeptics”

ABC claims Ian Plimer is “a legitimate voice”

A few days ago, I received a response from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation concerning a complaint I had submitted concerning climate contrarian Ian Plimer’s outrageous “Unleashed” online column. The email, from Kirsten McLeod of ABC’s Audience & Consumer Affairs, claims that the Plimer piece was “in keeping with the ABC’s editorial requirements for opinion content” and even calls Plimer’s opinion “a legitimate voice for the debate” on climate change.

However, it appears that ABC has not followed its own requirement that “reasonable steps” be taken “to ensure factual content is accurate”. Moreover, ABC policy on opinion pieces contains a major loophole: there is no requirement to disclose past and current affiliations to lobby groups or other political organizations, even when those links are clearly relevant to the subject matter at hand. In Plimer’s case, of course, such organizations include the Australian Climate Science Coalition and its progenitors, the Australian Environment Foundation and the right-wing Institute of Public Affairs.

[Update, September 8: As detailed below, ABC is now claiming that the requirement “to ensure factual content is accurate” does not apply to opinion content, even though that specific section of ABC’s Code of Practice does explicitly apply to opinion content (as opposed to news or topical programming).]

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Ian Plimer, ABC and the lie that won’t go away

The “global cooling since 1998” myth is an ever-present talking point emanating from virtually all contrarians. Australian geologist and “Heaven and Earth” author Ian Plimer is no exception, as I pointed out in my discussion of his ludicrous error-filled piece for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) online “Unleashed” series.

Of course, the claim does not stand up to any serious analysis, as I discussed in great detail in my dissection of a National Post column by Canada’s own Lorne Gunter.

Now it turns out that Plimer and Gunter have something else in common: they both thought that 1934 was the warmest year on record (and for all I know Gunter still does). Even worse, an examination of the ABC interview that discussed these very claims shows that ABC management knew very well that Plimer had no credibility on climate issues, and yet still offered him a platform for his propaganda.

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Dropping the P-Bomb

Contraian Publication RecordThe blogosphere, or at least the climate contrarian part of it, has been up in arms over supposed misconduct and plagiarism on the part of climate scientists. First, there was a minor kerfuffle earlier this summer over NOAA’s citation of the surfacestation.org website instead of an online publication by Anthony Watts. That turned out to be just the latest in a series of accusations of misconduct from ClimateAudit.org.

But that was nothing compared to the furor over the Corrigendum to the Steig et al. paper, “Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year” (just published in Nature). Steig et al. were accused of failing to acknowledge the role of Hu McCulloch in identifying an error in the calculation of trend significance. The corrigendum thus was held to constitute an act of plagiarism.

Meanwhile, some of the same bloggers who have risen up in righteous indignation and made groundless accusations against Steig et al, have been strangely silent regarding a real act of plagiarism, namely EPA economist Alan Carlin’s wholesale appropriation without attribution of large swathes of Patrick Michaels’ World Climate Report.

And, of course, an examination of the accusations against Steig et al shows them to be completely baseless. In fact, Hu McCulloch has apparently already withdrawn his accusations, although at present we have yet to see any apologies or retractions from Steig et al’s accusers.

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Complaint to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation regarding Plimer’s “Legislative Time Bomb” piece

I have submitted an online complaint to the Autralian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), concerning Ian Plimer’s outrageous and misleading opinion piece, entitled “Legislative Time Bomb”.

Here is the full text of the complaint:

Ian Plimer’s opinion piece, entitled “Legislative time bomb” contains several egregious factual errors. Plimer has the right to express his opinions, no matter how cretinous or ill-informed they may be, but his propagation of obvious falsehoods is unacceptable. ABC has a duty to correct any clear errors of fact, even in an opinion piece.

There are at least two passages that require such immediate correction.
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Meet Alan Gibbs, builder of amphibious HumVees and “climate science” coalitions

In my first post on the ongoing McLean et al (2009) kerfuffle, I discussed the role of the various lobby groups in promoting and exaggerating the findings of this abysmal paper. Chief among these, of course, are the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (New Zealand CSC) and its “big brother”, the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC).

Today I’ll focus on various connections between the New Zealand CSC, the ICSC, and ACT New Zealand, a staunchly libertarian and anti-science political party with five seats in the New Zealand legislature.

And it turns out those links lead straight back to none other than Alan Gibbs, one of New Zealand’s wealthiest and most famous businessmen. All of this, of course, raises fundamental questions and concerns about the sources of Coalition funding.

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Is ENSO “responsible for recent global warming?” No.

A raging controversy, one almost as hot as the record-breaking heat wave on the North American west coast, has broken out over a recent paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research (Atmospheres), a peer-reviewed periodical published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

Authors John McLean, Chris de Freitas and Bob Carter all have a long history of links to climate disinformation groups and associated PR campaigns (many of which lead back to Canadian spinmeister Tom Harris, director of the International Climate Science Coalition).

Now the trio have claimed that their analysis demonstrates that global warming is primarily a result of natural processes with little role for anthropogenic influences such as greenhouse gases.

A barrage of criticism has forced the authors and their champions to backpedal furiously. Along the way, a PDF of the paper has been removed from the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (NZCSC) website, presumably to rectify an egregious copyright breach. Even worse, the NZCSC parent affiliate, the above-mentioned International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), was caught substituting its preferred title for the actual one in its link to the paper.

And, of course, a look at the actual data clearly shows that the trio’s touted source of global warming, namely a 1976 “shift” in the El Nino Southern Oscillation (or ENSO), can not possibly account for the recent upward trend in temperatures. All this raises serious questions about JGR’s editorial processes, and leads to the inevitable conclusion that the paper should be withdrawn.

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Friends of Science: They’re back!

It’s been quite a month for Friends of Science, the Calgary based astroturf group with a long history of engaging in climate science disinformation. First, RealClimate.org revealed that the supposedly “suppressed” EPA report, ostensibly by economist Alan Carlin, was based in large part on the pseudo-scientific musings of FoS director Ken Gregory (although it subsequently turned out that Patrick Michaels had a stronger claim on being anonymous lead author as detailed previously here and here).

Now it turns out that Friends of Science has big plans for this fall (which, not so coincidentally, will likely see another Canadian federal election). The group is co-sponsoring, along with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, a cross-Canada speaking tour by none other than Lord Christopher Monckton, the “potty peer”. Also in the works is a cross-Canada “radio blitz” to promote Friends of Science and its website.

And it appears that at least some project funding will come via by anonymous tax-deductible donations to the preposterously named Science Education Fund at the charitable Calgary Foundation.

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“Suppressed” Carlin report based on Patrick Michaels attack on EPA

A couple of days ago, I posted about economist Alan Carlin’s “suppressed” report on the EPA’s proposed greenhouse gas endangerment finding. Not only was the report a pastiche of warmed over contrarian talking points attacking the scientific consensus on climate change, but at least one entire section had been lifted almost whole from longtime disinformation specialist Pat Michaels’ World Climate Report (WCR).

Now further study reveals an even more shocking connection: the “suppressed” Carlin report appears to have been inspired by, and largely lifted from, an attack on the EPA published last November in climate science disinformation specialist Patrick Michaels’ World Climate Report. And all this came without any attribution of the large swathes of copied material to WCR or the original author (presumably either Michaels or sidekick Chip Knappenberger).

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EPA’s Alan Carlin channels Patrick Michaels and the Friends of Science

A new uproar in the blogosphere has broken out over the supposed “suppression” by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) of an internal review of the EPA’s proposed endangerment finding on greenhouse gases. The review purported to show that the latest “research” calls into question the scientific consensus on climate change. It turns out that the report, written by Alan Carlin, with assistance from John Davidson, of the EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, is drawn heavily from the contrarian blogosphere, especially Ken Gregory of the Calgary-based “astroturf” group Friends of Science.

And in one case, a lengthy “analysis” of a recent peer-reviewed paper has been lifted, without attribution, straight out of World Climate Report, the climate “news” blog run by uber-contrarian Patrick Michaels.

[Update, June 29: In the immediately subsequent post, I’ve now established that the Carlin report’s central premise, along with four key sections, came directly from a November, 2008 World Climate Report blogĀ  attack on the EPA proposed endangerment finding on greenhouse gas emissions.]

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Freeman Dyson’s shadowy Canadian connection

Eminent retired physicist Freeman Dyson is perhaps the most prominent scientist to oppose publicly the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming. But the widespread controversy that peaked after Nicholas Dawidoff’s New York Times Magazine cover feature on Dyson has thus far glossed over some inconvenient facts and questions about Dyson’s participation in recent anti-AGW petition projects organized by Canada’s leading climate disinformation PR operative, Tom Harris. These include the Bali Open Letter released toward the end of the December, 2007 at the UN Climate Change conference in Bali, and the Manhattan Declaration, released in March, 2008 at the Heartland Institute’s first International Climate Change Conference.

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