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Monday 15 October 2012

Global Warming – Mail Caught Telling Porkies

Whenever you see the by-line of David Rose on an article discussing climate change, one thing is certain: there will be selective quoting of information, misleading arguments, and for good measure the odd whopper thrown in to the mix. And he was at it again yesterday, as his continuing bid to disprove scientific analysis coupled with the implicit urging of readers to “look over there” shows.

David Rose says Do Not Look At This Image ...

Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released... and here is the chart to prove it” declares the headline, and along with it the first act of dishonesty: the Met Office didn’t “quietly” release any report. In fact, they did not release a report period. They had completed their work updating what is known as the HadCRUT4 dataset, but no report was released.

So not a promising start, then, and it continues in the same vein: Rose’s chart alleging that warming has stopped is superbly selective, taking its start point from global temperatures recorded during an exceptionally strong El Niño event and concluding that there has been no rise in 15 years. Rose knows exactly what he’s doing here: his mission is to push the contrarian line.

... and Do Not Look At This One either

What he manages not to explain is how, if there has been no warming for the past 15 years, nine of the ten warmest years on record have come after the turn of the millennium. Moreover, even with his selective approach, there is a clear yet slight warming trend of around 0.03 degrees per decade, or 0.05 degrees over the period shown. Rose’s piece omits this information.

And also missing, as pointed out by the Met Office, is that they did not comment on their climate predictions not out of attempting to hide anything, but because there was no report to comment on, and Rose didn’t ask them to comment. All that the Mail On Sunday article is doing is rehashing what the GWPF have already done, in an effort to achieve what they can’t by means of scientific engagement.

Then we come to energy bills, and again Rose pulls a fast one. “‘Green’ subsidies being provided to the renewable energy industry ... will cost the average household about £100 this year” he asserts, to which I call bullshit. As FactCheck has noted, this amount was £103.30 in total for the nine years from 2002 to 2011. That’s around £11.50 a year. It may be rising, but not that much.

So when Rose says “the news that the world has got no warmer for the past 16 years comes as something of a shock”, he’s right, but not for the reasons he might prefer. Because it’s not news, as it’s factually plain flat wrong. Why he has to keep banging this particular drum is his problem. Why the Mail On Sunday insists on giving him a platform for this rubbish is a more serious one for them.

Either way, it’s another denialist rant easily filleted. No change there, then.

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