Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Third letter to Press Complaints Commission re David Rose

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Press Complaints Commission

REF: 131408

Thank you for your email dated 7/5/2013 and the attached letter from John Wellington of the Mail on Sunday dated May 4th.

The main point is not just a case of difference of opinion about scientific data, as John Wellington (JW) suggests. It is more a case of misinterpretation of scientific data, specifically, the use of selected sequences of data rather than the whole picture, of leaving out important areas of data, and of misreporting the remarks of an expert.

Taking the points in order.
1)       Contrary to JW’s assertion, I did explain in my letter of April 20th why it is misleading to say that hindcasts are “backward projections based on climate simulations and tailored to actual temperatures” as stated in the MoS on March 31 (p38). That is most clearly a misleading statement, one that compounds the mistake in the original article. It may well be that JW and/or David Rose have not fully understood how computer hindcasts are produced (a most forgiveable error), in which case an article in his paper written by an expert in computer modeling would be all to the good.
2)       I am grateful to JW for taking the trouble to assemble evidence that energy levies may be a factor in some firms relocating, although the Civitas report mentions other operative factors.
3)       I will leave it to Prof Myles Allen to argue whether or not his views were misrepresented.
4)       With regard to the graph, I urge the Commission to view the animation that I mentioned in my earlier letter, here: http://bit.ly/ohKWK. Climate science is both very simple and very complex, and the animation teases out some of the complexity in a very elegant matter. I am presently working on trying to further tease out the contribution of the Atlantic currents’ oscillations, which I believe will show even more clearly that the Earth  is continuing steadily to warm.
5)       JW says that the article did not describe Dr David Whitehouse as an “expert”. In fact a box in the article says “and here’s what the experts NOW say” above quotes from three people, one of whom is Dr David Whitehouse.
I rest my case on this point.
6)       It is not true to say that a sixfold number of scientific papers in favour of a point of view is “hairsplitting” as JW asserts. If six times as many scientific papers backed the Mail’s view as contradicted it, I very much doubt that JW would call it hairsplitting and decline to publish.

 JW produces a list of more than 50 “articles” about global cooling in the 70s. His list makes my point for me. Not a single one of those articles was from a scientific journal. They were all articles from newspapers and magazines, with one book. This evidence bears out the climatologists’ historic account of the “global cooling scare” – that it was a journalistic creation, not a serious theory entertained by the scientific community at large.

Which brings us back to the centre of this complaint. We are not dealing here with minor political point scoring, but with what is, and what is not, a true and accurate understanding of the changes we are making to our home planet by re-introducing fossil carbon to our atmosphere. The Rose article gives a misleading impression that the effect of doing this is negligible, and indeed that the science of the enhanced greenhouse effect is some kind of confidence trick. The facts of the matter are unfortunately very different, and so it can truly be said that the total impression given by the article is inaccurate, misleading and distorted, and therefore it is the case that the code has been broken.

I look forward to a positive judgment by the Commission that will lead to a retraction, a correction, and a balancing article by a qualified climatologist, perhaps collaborating with a journalist (but not David Rose) in order to aid communication of the scientific view of global warming.


Dr Richard Lawson

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