Graham Readfearn's blog

Denialist Blogger Anthony Watts Posts Error Strewn “Aerial Survey” of Climate Scientists’ Homes

Climate science denialist blogger Anthony Watts was sure he had a gotcha moment with some of his most hated figures caught red-handed.

Mysteriously popular blogger Watts had wondered how many vocal climate scientists “practice what they preach” when it comes to how they power their homes.

So Watts carried out what he described as an “aerial survey” but what others might call “looking at maps on Google” to look on the roofs of famous climate scientists to see if they had solar panels.

Watts was reacting to research finding that Americans were more likely to follow advice on cutting fossil fuel energy use from climate scientists who had also taken personal steps to decarbonize.

Imagine Watts’ delight to find the homes of celebrated scientists like Professor Michael Mann, Dr Jonathan Overpeck and Dr Kevin Trenberth, all bereft of photovoltaic panels. What hypocrites, right?

So Watts wrote a blog post with photos of the scientists' homes and then published it. What followed was a comedy of errors and corrections - a true car crash of climate science denial bloggery.

Were Historical Pictures of Great Barrier Reef Degradation Really Misused, as The Australian Newspaper Claimed?

The Australian published a convoluted story recently about the Great Barrier Reef and the claims of a scientist over some old pictures.

I've written a few stories about the reef recently - including this piece looking at a recent dodgy editorial in The Australian. But anyway, over the weekend The Australian published a story about Professor Peter Ridd, of James Cook University, who had apparently been disciplined for criticising colleagues and the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) for using some old pictures of reef near Stone Island to show how coral cover had declined over time.

Conservative Funders of Climate Denial Are Quietly Spending Millions To Generate More Partisan Journalism

Millions of dollars have been pouring into conservative media outlets and student journalism projects from the same groups funding climate science denial, a DeSmog analysis has found.

Analysis of IRS tax filings shows the funding groups, including some linked to the oil billionaire Koch brothers, are trying to combat a perceived left-wing bias in media with cash to ideologically-aligned projects.

Many of the funded journalism projects also produce stories that claim human-caused climate change is either a liberal hoax or that policies to mitigate it, such as promotion of renewable energy, are an unnecessary drag on the economy.

DeSmog found that two linked funds — Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund — have been a key source of cash for organisations attacking climate science and opposing policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The Australian Newspaper Misrepresents Science In Great Barrier Reef Bleaching Editorial, Says Scientist It Quoted

Almost a quarter of corals on the iconic Great Barrier Reef have died because of record ocean temperatures driven by global warming.

Those are the bare facts, according to the Australian Government’s Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA).

The coral bleaching that swept across the reef system this Australia summer, hitting hardest the most pristine northern section, affected 93 per cent of individual reefs along its 2300 kilometre stretch (1430 miles).

Scientists have pointed out how those corals that survived the bleaching will be weakened and, to recover, they will need all the help they can get. That means big reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution.

The news has swept across the globe.  Pretty much every major media outlet in the world has told its viewers and readers about the bleaching and shown them the spectacular and confronting images of bleached white coral. Now, the images show dead coral.

Introducing America Rising Squared, U.S. Republicans' "Creepy" New Assault on Climate Action

In a video posted to Vine, respected author and climate change campaigner Bill McKibben turns for just a second or two to eyeball the person holding the camera, before turning his gaze back to the front of the room. There is no context to the video.  Nothing is said.

In another video taken in Australia, McKibben is shown speaking to an audience, but the context is again removed.  His words are replaced with music.

To most people chancing upon the videos, the two clips would seem incongruous and pointless.

But the Vine channel belongs to CoreNews.org — a website that is the public facing arm of a new politically-motivated attack on environmentalists and climate change campaigners operated by well connected political advisers and researchers.

Lasting only a few seconds, the videos were an attempt to put a shot across the bows of McKibben and his supporters, of which there are many. A promise made weeks earlier by Republican Party activists to follow him around with a video camera — wherever he might go — had apparently begun.

The videos were taken by so-called “trackers” working for America Rising Squared (AR2), an operation that has sprung from the new wave of attacks on climate activists that has become a mainstay of the US political machinery.

Richard Branson's Virgin Group Gives Platform to Climate Science Denier James Delingpole on Official Podcast

When is it OK to invite a known climate science denialist with extremist views onto your show – especially if that show happens to be part of the corporate outreach for one of the world’s most recognisable brands?

Well, firstly, you’d want to know something about climate change, or have an actual expert or two on hand.

If that person has a record of being wrong, then it might also be a good idea to point out to your listeners that most of the statements by your guest could be wrong, irrelevant or confused. 

Alternatively, get a proper expert on the show and ignore the pleas of the fringe calling for “balance”. Failure to do this could risk confusing your listeners and exposing them to misinformation.

Unfortunately, this is not a hypothetical situation. As I’ve written on The Guardian, this week global brand Virgin Group — home to some 60 companies with annual revenue of about $24 billion — released its latest Virgin podcast.

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