James Hoggan’s Monster Journalistic Due Diligence Lapse

Bad enough that Desmogblog co-founder James Hoggan makes one if not more monster errors of assumption, but he recently (and in an almost comical inadvertent way) showed the world what not to do when an alleged news item isn’t getting the attention people believe it deserves. His lapse was a classic example of beliefs overriding elemental due diligence. Continue reading

The Ongoing Embellishment Problem

My recent Twitter debate with John Stauber, co-author of the “Trust Us, We’re Experts” book, reminded me of a particularly embarrassing embellishment error that pops up elsewhere among efforts to portray experts on man-caused global warming as authoritarians above reproach. It’s like the proverbial fish story, the tendency to make things bigger than they actually are.

From the top paragraph of page 268 in “Trust Us, We’re Experts”,

The most authoritative statement of these concerns is a November 1995 report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of some 2,500 climatologists from throughout the world that advises the United Nations.

The substitution of “2500 climatologists” for the more commonly seen “2500 scientists” isn’t a unique mistake on Rampton’s / Stauber’s part. Folks across the internet who favor action to stop man-caused global warming repeat that combined figure and label. In a display of entertaining irony, those same people hurl the “not a climatologist” label as a credibility destroyer of any critic they hear about.

Small problem with that line of reasoning: people who are certifiably climatologists – those arguably having Masters / PhD degrees specifically focused on climatology / climate science – are quite few in number overall. As detailed in a reproduced blog piece at WUWT, biogeochemistry professor / global warming mitigation advocate Dr. William Schlesinger offered his guess for the number of climate scientists within the IPCC as “something on the order of 20 percent have had some dealing with climate”.  2500 x 20% = 500.

In a December 30, 2010 Financial Post article, where Lawrence Solomon pointed out a major flaw in one source for the claim that there is a ‘97% scientific consensus’ on man-caused global warming, he said the following about a group of supposedly ‘climate specialist’ scientists:

The number stems from a 2009 online survey of 10,257 earth scientists, conducted by two researchers at the University of Illinois. The survey results must have deeply disappointed the researchers – in the end, they chose to highlight the views of a subgroup of just 77 scientists, 75 of whom thought humans contributed to climate change.  The ratio 75/77 produces the 97% figure that pundits now tout.

In a December 14, 2007 Canada Free Press article, John McLean and Tom Harris analyzed the “2,500 scientists of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)” tally and concluded regarding the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4),

An example of rampant misrepresentation of IPCC reports is the frequent assertion that ‘hundreds of IPCC scientists’ are known to support the following statement, arguably the most important of the WG I report, namely “Greenhouse gas forcing has very likely caused most of the observed global warming over the last 50 years.”

In total, only 62 scientists reviewed the chapter in which this statement appears, the critical chapter 9, “Understanding and Attributing Climate Change”.  Of the comments received from the 62 reviewers of this critical chapter, almost 60% of them were rejected by IPCC editors. And of the 62 expert reviewers of this chapter, 55 had serious vested interest, leaving only seven expert reviewers who appear impartial.

IPCC-dissecting blogger Donna Laframboise’s January 16, 2012 blog post notes how the “government of Alberta may think the IPCC consists of more than 3,000 scientists but the IPCC itself says that only 450 lead authors plus 800 contributing authors wrote its last (2007) assessment report.” Immediately below that, Laframboise shows IPCC material with an interesting walkback of the “2500” figure itself: “2500+ scientific expert reviewers” which comes from the IPCC’s own web page IPCC’s own web pages for its 2007 AR4 report.

Keep in mind how I pointed out right here at GelbspanFiles on September 20, 2013 that Al Gore’s former long-time spokesperson, someone having no more than a Bachelor of Arts, History degree, is found in a 1997 IPCC special report in its Annex H “Authors, Contributors, and Expert Reviewers” USA section, where she is listed in association with Greenpeace.

To his credit, Ross Gelbspan at least does not make the mistake of saying there are 2500 climatologists at the IPCC. He just inflates the number of IPCC scientists to 3000 at his November 5, 2014 Facebook post.

Apparently in the same manner that he glommed onto the notion that skeptic climate scientists are paid illicit industry money under instructions to “reposition global warming as theory rather than fact”, it seems he didn’t check the veracity of the more recently repeated ‘3000 IPCC scientists’ figure. The IPCC itself certainly doesn’t claim that number as its tally. At a November 2012 United Nations Climate Change Conference, then-IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri said (page 3) in regard to the preparation of the new IPCC AR5 report,

We had an unprecedented number of approximately 3,000 nominations of outstanding scientists who volunteered to work on the AR5. The IPCC selected 831 out of this number as Lead Authors and Review Editors for direct involvement in the preparation of the Report.

Entertaining to see one lone public mention in 2008 of ‘3000 scientists’ from President Obama’s then soon-to-be Science Czar John Holdren, where he said:

… if you have 3,000 scientists working for years and producing a report that says our considered opinion is the climate is changing by this much, it’s changing this fast, it’s having these effects, and you have two or three so-called denialists or a few small think tanks, some of which were certainly funded by Exxon, saying the opposite, they get equal time. The deniers get equal time in the newspapers, on the television.

Holdren does hardly more than repeat the Schneider-Gelbspan unsupportable talking point about fair media balance for skeptics, and Gelbspan’s overall unsupportable accusation about fossil fuel money corrupting skeptics.

And to end on the proverbial fish story angle…. how about “3000 climatologists”? How about “4000 climate scientists”? “5000 climatologists”? No joke.

Three Degrees of Separation or Less, Part VI: The ‘Conflicts of Interest’ Notification Idea

In the global warming issue, when it comes to the idea of skeptics being ‘corrupted by industry funding’, basically any variant of that notion inadvertently points to the core promoter of that accusation, Ross Gelbspan. Take the March 9 article in Energy & Environment’s ClimateWire by Evan Lehmann, for example (archived version here). Continue reading

Ron Arnold: “Naomi Oreskes Warps Climate Skeptic History”

First, the setup for Ron’s article: Back late 2009, in my efforts to figure out where the infamous reposition global warming as theory rather than fact” phrase came from – the line spelled out in Al Gore’s movie and in Ross Gelbspan’s book “The Heat is On”, which they portray as a sinister top-down industry directive that skeptic climate scientists are paid to follow – I ran across Naomi Oreskes’ widely repeated Powerpoint presentation from 2008 where she said the leaked memo set containing that phrase was in the archives of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). Problem is, you may not view them there. Continue reading

“Regurgitate Unsupportable Accusations, We Much?” Kert Davies is Back. Again.

A brief word of explanation about the first part of that title, it’s a variation of the “Resist, we much” teleprompter reading gaffe by the Reverend Al Sharpton, where he meant to say “Resist, we must” on his TV show. It lends itself to a variety of other overblown political situations which beg for a “Sharptonism” parody. The latest instances where Boston Globe, New York Times, and Washington Post articles cited Kert Davies’ supposedly damaging documents (screencaptures here, here and here), in an effort to trash skeptic climate scientist Dr Willie Soon, invites exactly that kind of parody. Continue reading

Whenever There is Any Doubt, There is No Doubt

That’s a line from the 1998 movie “Ronin”, where the CIA agent character played by Robert De Niro explained the reasoning for his apprehension over a bungled situation which didn’t look right from its inception. This simple analysis lends itself perfectly to the accusation about skeptic climate scientists being paid industry money to lie and misinform. If there’s no doubt the accusation is irrefutable, it would be consistently repeated by all. Dig into any part of the accusation, however, and its inconsistencies pile up to the point where there’s no doubt something is seriously wrong with everything and everyone connected to the accusation. Continue reading

Three Degrees of Separation or Less, Part V: Ross Gelbspan and Global Warming Nuisance Lawsuits

Not long ago, lawsuits were filed against cigarette companies for all the suffering caused by smoking, saying tobacco executives fully knew their product was a killer when they hired shill experts to testify and report that there wasn’t a clear connection between smoking and lung cancer. A leaked tobacco company memo pushing “Doubt is our Product” was a key bit of evidence in those complaints, but industry efforts to hoodwink the general public were arguably ineffective since a slang term for cigarettes had been “coffin nails” for multiple decades. Meanwhile, someone in the enviro-activist community decided to apply that same kind of complaint to high-level global warming nuisance lawsuits. Guess who and what is connected in a questionable manner to those cases? Continue reading

Pivotal “Corruption Revelations” should not have Conflicting Discovery Dates (or Insufficient Evidence!)

It’s a major problem that the ‘industry-corrupted skeptic climate scientists are paid to lie’ accusation has no evidence to support it, but now it appears the person widely credited with ‘discovering/exposing’ that corruption is seen with significantly conflicting dates of when he actually started examining skeptic scientists. Continue reading

Worried about Global Warming or Ozone Depletion? Then Destroy Critics Who Say Those aren’t Problems.

Think about that line of reasoning for a moment. If you are fearful of climate catastrophe, wouldn’t you welcome the critics’ good news? Enviro-activists don’t, and I don’t try to analyze why. What I can do is tell how particular people reveal a one-and-the-same character assassination effort against critics of global warming and ozone depletion. Continue reading