Many top Reporters are Dead... • 16 August 2007 • The SnowBlog

Many top Reporters are Dead...


...wrong about what constitutes good journalistic practice. See what I did there? I cheated with a headline. The Guardian had one a bit like that today. 

Blogger spots Nasa's climate error * Amateur discovers 1934, not 1998, is hottest year * Climatologists insist trend is still towards warming
I particularly like the 'Climatologists insist' bit. You really get the sense that their views are under pressure and they're trying not to crumble. The start of the article looks even worse:
"An amateur meteorologist in Canada has embarrassed Nasa scientists into admitting that some of the data they used to show significant recent increases in global warming is flawed.
"As a result of Stephen McIntyre's calculations, climatologists at the Goddard Institute of Space Science in New York now accept that 1934 was historically the United States' hottest year since records began, not 1998 as they had claimed. It also turns out that five of the 10 warmest years on record in the US occurred before 1939, and only one is from the 21st century, raising questions over the statistics used in Al Gore's environmental film An Inconvenient Truth to highlight the faster pace of climate change."
But if you read all the way to the end, you get one or two little footnotes which kinda sorta totally reverse the sense of the article:
"Climate researchers...[say] the differences in the recalculated temperatures, hundredths of one degree, are so insignificant as to have no impact on the overall trend towards global warming.... [they] also noted that the error related only to figures from the US, covering just 2% of the Earth's surface, so could not be applied globally."
Is that what it takes to 'raise questions' over the statistics Al Gore used to highlight the faster pace of climate change? Statistically insignificant errors in 2% of the data? You might have thought it would take a bit more than that. But this isn't about the truth; that's not the point. The point is, there's still doubt about whether man-made climate change is real. That's what you're supposed to take away from this. That doubt may not have any bearing on the predicament we're in, but for those who like to say scientists aren't sure, no one knows, it might be nothing, these sorts of newspaper articles are vital and they keep appearing. The only difference is that they used to challenge the consensus regarding man-made climate change and now they have to content themselves with criticising the workings-out and the P.R. skills of those involved. It's not much, but if it helps us put off taking action for a little while longer then it will have served its purpose.


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