Sometimes climate change deniers make it all too easy.
The UK paper Daily Mail has a long history of courting climate change denial, and apparently it has no wish to change. It recently posted an atrocious article called "Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it". The article was written by David Rose, who wrote a pretty inaccurate article earlier this year on a similar topic.
In fact, this new article was so blatantly wrong that the MET office – the national weather service for the UK – wrote a rebuttal to it detailing the flaws. To start with, they point out they did recently update their global temperature databases, but that’s a very different thing than "quietly releasing a report", as Rose claims. Cue the conspiracy music!
It gets worse from there. They take on his points one at a time and take them down. I highly recommend reading them. And if you haven’t gotten your fill of it, or you’re still not convinced, you can check out The Carbon Brief’s article that gives more details on Rose’s denial.
Or you can read the takedown by Skeptical Science.
Or by Open Mind. In fact, let’s take a closer look at that.
Tamino, the author of Open Mind, shows just how Rose picks and chooses his data to make it look like global warming stopped years ago. In the picture here, the top graph shows what Rose says the temperature looks like: flat across the past 15 years or so. But that’s terribly misleading: the starting point he chose falsely makes the graph look flat. The bottom one shows the true situation as Tamino describes it. You have to go farther into the past to find a reasonable starting point, and when you do, you see what looked flat is actually a rising temperature over time.
To do what Rose did in that upper graph is to strain reality (and credulity) past the breaking point. It’s almost as if Rose specifically chose the data that he liked and rejected the rest. That’s a big no-no in the reality-based world. Tamino thoroughly vaporizes Rose’s article, showing that it’s wrong in its most basic assumptions, its methodology, and its conclusions.
But other than that…
This article is just another in a long line of climate change denials that fiddles with the data to make it look like the Earth isn’t warming up. But it adds up. This kind of nonsense is damaging to real efforts to do something real about a real problem. And venues like the Daily Mail are all too happy to fan the fire while the world burns.
Over the weekend, two amazingly bad articles were published about climate change. Both were loaded with mistakes, misinterpretations, and outright misinformation, and are simply so factually wrong that they almost read like parodies.
Just so we’re clear here.
The first was in the Wall Street Journal. The article, called No Need to Panic About Global Warming, is a textbook example of misleading prose. It’s laden to bursting with factual errors, but the one that stood out to me most was this whopper: "Perhaps the most inconvenient fact is the lack of global warming for well over 10 years now."
What the what?
That statement, to put it bluntly, is dead wrong. It relies on blatantly misinterpreting long term trends, instead wearing blinders and only looking at year-to-year variations in temperature. The Skeptical Science website destroyed this argument in November 2011, in fact. The OpEd also ignores the fact that nine of the ten hottest years on record all occurred since the year 2000.
The WSJ OpEd makes a lot of hay from having 16 scientists sign it, but of those only 4 are actually climate scientists. And that bragging right is crushed to dust when you find out that the WSJ turned down an article about the reality of global warming that was signed by 255 actual climate scientists. In fact, as Media Matters reports, more of the signers of the WSJ OpEd have ties to oil interests than actually publish peer-reviewed climate research.
Shame on the WSJ for publishing that nonsense.
When I read it, I thought that OpEd was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. But then the Daily Mail chimed in and I discovered that barrel gets a lot deeper. They printed an article by David Rose called Forget global warming — it’s Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again).
By "Cycle 25" he’s referring to the solar activity cycle — which I’ll get to in a moment. But first, the most egregiously awful thing about the Mail article is the angle it takes on new results released by The Met Office, the National Weather Service for the UK. The subheadline for the Mail article is "Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years", which is a bit odd given that the very first two paragraphs of the Met’s press release say: