Simon Lewis, an expert on tropical forests at the University of Leeds in the UK, says the Sunday Times’ “inaccurate, misleading and distorted” story by Jonathan Leake in January left readers under the wrong impression that the 2007 IPCC AR4 report made a false claim by stating that reduced rainfall could wipe out up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest. Lewis filed a formal complaint this week with the UK Press Complaints Commission.
Leake’s story helped to launch the “Amazongate” scandal that had the denialosphere all aflutter, and even made the rounds of many mainstream outlets. Leake got his story idea and research from climate change denier Richard North, a blogger who has denied the link between secondhand smoke and cancer, among other ridiculous positions. The premise of “Amazongate” was ginned up by North, who alleged that the IPCC erred in its 2007 report by citing a World Wildlife Fund report that stated the impact of reduced rainfall on forest health.
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has warned that the next Conservative Party leader must have a strong stance on tackling climate change in order to win her support.