National Post apologizes for "denier" smear

Wed, 2007-04-11 15:57Richard Littlemore
Richard Littlemore's picture

National Post apologizes for "denier" smear

The National Post withdraws any allegation that (UK astrophysicist) Dr. (Nigel) Weiss is a global warming “denier” and regrets the embarrassment caused him by (a) … Feb. 2 column and a further column on Feb. 9.

Canada's National Post newspaper deserves some credit for finally issuing the correction and apology exerpted above. Columnist Lawrence Solomon had embarrassed Dr. Weiss, and the Post, with an unfounded allegation that Weiss denies that humans are responsible for climate change. Solomon then went on a week later to exacerbate the libel by reaffirming his mistaken position, despite having received a letter from Dr. Weiss setting the record straight.

We could complain that this apology took an inexcusably long time to write. We could complain that the Post is still carrying the original columns online - without (as of this writing) providing related links to the correction.

But the otherwise unconscionable delay suggests that the Post struggled with this - and they should be encouraged for having overcome that struggle. Given the Post's enthusiasm for climate change denial in the past - given Solomon's own mutli-part feature aggrandizing “deniers” even when several of his subjects did not, in fact, deny climate change - it is refreshing to see the paper admit that taking such a position would cause a right-thinking person embarrassment.

We can't tell for sure whether it's the Post's own writers or the paper's legal advisors who finally figured it out, but it's a step in the right direction.

Comments

Mr. Littlemore, I saw an article you posted here recently about IPCC revisions being watered down, and now it appears to be gone. I made a comment on it, showing how Richard Lindzen was creatively revised by the IPCC… and now it seems that the article is completely gone. What happened?
Here it is. Blogs run chronologically – as new stories are posted, the old ones get buried. IF your involved in one the more lengthy discussions on desmog, I would suggest copying the unique address for that story and saving it in your favorites or somewhere you won't lose it.
Yeah… as soon as I posted the comment, I found it. Another rookie move by me. I need more sleep, I think.

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Yes, and kudos also go to Desmogblog for posing the question, and setting it right. Good work.
continues unabated though. You keep refering to anyone opposed to the IPCC dogma as ‘climate change denier’, invoking images of holocaust denial and flat earth type morons, although virtually nobody denies that the climate is changing, has been changing, and will continue to change. Several posters, including I, have pointed out this mistake for you, but still you continue with your smear campaign. Who is it that denies that the climate is changing? Name a few, please. Or are you deliberately lying about these people?

J I K said: “Who is it that denies that the climate is changing? Name a few, please. Or are you deliberately lying about these people”?

OK, here are three to start with:

Fred Singer
Tim Ball
Bob Carter

Let’s see how embarrassing we can make this for J I K by listing as many as we can.

I still can’t believe that some people are just so stupid that they never check their facts before hitting the typing keys. We should be thankful that they are so stupid since it makes our job of exposing their nonsense so much easier.

Ian Forrester

The problem is that the deniers have now changed their tune. They can’t easily deny that the climate is changing when the evidence is all around us; but they deny that the climate change is caused by human activity, or they try to confuse the issue by saying no one can tell what percentage is human-caused. That’s why they now push the “natural climate change” meme.

I’ve sometimes called them AGW deniers because it’s the anthropogenic global warming that they are denying now. After all, if we can blame it all on nature or on God, we don’t have to change our own behaviour, do we? Especially if we are greedy corporations who don’t care how many people we kill with our poisons, and who don’t want to be regulated.

1) Singer: “..we need to recognize that the climate has always been changing” (i.e. he says the climate is changing) (http://www.friendsofscience.org/documents/Stern%20critique%20-%20Singer.pdf) 2) Ball: “There is absolutely no convincing scientific evidence that human-produced greenhouse gases are driving global climate change” (i.e. he says the climate is changing) (see http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?ide=3) 3) Carter: “..have established a sound understanding of the natural patterns of and some of the mechanisms of climate change” (i.e. he says the climate is changing) (see http://www.climatechangeissues.com/files/PDF/conf05carter.pdf) Is anyone really surprised that Ian was wrong?

QED
Presumably that Ian is wrong and that the climate change denier label incorrect?

Sorry, I should have realized you were too dense to get it. I said that the deniers were now saying climate change is happening, but that it’s not caused by humans. You came along and provided illustrations.

Which lying website do you get your talking points from, JIK? Don’t bother repeating them here; we’ve seen them all before.

Ian is correct, and Kanada has missed even the easy references in which deniers agreed (among themselves) that warming was not happening. Some of those articles have now been deleted, but consider:

FC: Could you summarize the evidence that suggests the world is cooling slightly, not warming up?

TB: Yes, since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling. The argument is that there has been warming since then but, in fact, almost all of that is due to what is called the “urban heat island” effect – that is, that the weather stations are around the edge of cities and the cities expanded out and distorted the record. When you look at rural stations – if you look at the Antarctic, for example – the South Pole shows cooling since 1957 and the satellite data which has been up since 1978 shows a slight cooling trend as well.

Those of use who were required to speak at the various agricultural dog-and-pony shows where Ball spoke often heard him say it’s not happening, and that the data suggesting warming is either biased or faked. He also denied there was an ozone problem (this is in House Standing Committee transcripts, that pesticides did not have health or environmental problems, that industrial smokestacks do not emit pollution, etc. These claims were so frequent that hundreds heard them, although as Ball says himself, few listened to him. I was in the audience more than once, and on that point, I certainly agree with Ball.

Surely, at least he must be able to find Carter’s article saying global warming was a blip that ended in 1998.
Ian is correct. J. Kanada missed even the easy references. Ball and others repeated over and over in their talks that global warming was not happening. Although most of the written versions have been removed over time, consider one of many examples:

FC: Could you summarize the evidence that suggests the world is cooling slightly, not warming up?

TB: Yes, since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling. The argument is that there has been warming since then but, in fact, almost all of that is due to what is called the “urban heat island” effect – that is, that the weather stations are around the edge of cities and the cities expanded out and distorted the record. When you look at rural stations – if you look at the Antarctic, for example – the South Pole shows cooling since 1957 and the satellite data which has been up since 1978 shows a slight cooling trend as well.

Those of use who had to speak at some of the same events heard him say that global warming was based on misinterpreted data, or fakery.

Surely those who deny that the deniers denied GW in general can use a simple search to find Carter’s strong statements that global warming was a blip that ended in 1998.

Dan, I think I found your reference to Carter’s statements in an op-ed piece of highly unscientific drivel in the Telegraph. I don’t know if it qualifies as “climate change denial” a la Johan–but the more interesting bit was how he makes the assumption that since there was no exact correlation between temperature and CO2 output (ie. cooling 1940-65) then there must be no connection, and therefore fluctuation is natural.

Not exactly a denial of changing temperatures, but exactly as ridiculous, unscientific, and irresponsible (read: dishonest). I mean, even deniers understand that the climate is a complex system, and that such reasoning would be completely meaningless, don’t they?

Johan wants to defend this guy’s record?

Actually, after many paragraphs of paranoid ravings (read the article: there’s really no other way to describe it), he does “demonstrate”, using (notional) graphs, that climate fluctuations have occured in the past. As it turns out, climate scientists know that but have been keeping it a secret from the public. Naturally there’s no mention of the existence of any serious work, say, to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic change (other than the hockey stick, of course.)

Also of note: he seems to support the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate–the “voluntary” climate agreement. He says that it will be more likely to “improve environmental outcomes” than Kyoto. How interesting that he feels qualified to sneak in an unsupported economic assessment…one that might appeal to a true-blue libertarian…

Anyway, if you want to play word games with Johan, then the guy’s not a “denier”. That’s fine–I’ll use the word defier: of logic, honesty, integrity…

“Defiler” works too…

Dan, you’re right: this is so easy!

FS: But since 1979, our best measurements show that the climate has been cooling just slightly. Certainly, it has not been warming…

“…The surface record continues to go up. But you have to be very careful with the surface record. It is taken with thermometers that are mostly located in or near cities. And as cities expand, they get warmer. And therefore they affect the readings. And it’s very difficult to eliminate this–what’s called the urban heat island effect. So I personally prefer to trust in weather satellites.” (Oops!)

Here are the details. If JK’s comment that nobody denies that climate is changing means that even the deniers accept that over long time it can change because of changes in the sun, atmosphere, orbits, etc., we can welcome him to Geography 101. But if he honestly means, as he implies, that people like Carter (Singer, Ball, etc., (claiming bad data for various reasons) have not denied, in the past or present, that there is a current significant warming going on, then JK is obviously wrong, and not because he has looked carefully at science articles or even scanned the newspapers. If JK was talking about Bob Carter (the one who is an Adjunct Professor at the School of Earth Sciences, James Cook University), here two clear statements. Newspaper articles seem to be his chosen publication medium, so we will have to go with this. Both are good examples for teaching critical thought, too (as cautionary tales).
1) The first article (it came up in my google news search last year):

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/09/do0907.xml
There IS a problem with global warming… it stopped in 1998
By Bob Carter
09/04/2006
In this one, he claims that the global temperature data shows a cooling trend, apparently based on his misunderstanding of the effect of the El Nino blip in 1998. Some of my students laughed spontaneously when they saw the claim in the Telegraph article, because who would say that a small jump downward in a long upward trend means that the times series is flat? Compare it to the global temperature data. Check any source, NASA, CRU, etc. Here is the UK Met Office.


2) How about this one, by Bob Carter, April 11, 2007:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/04/08/nrclimate08.xml&page=2

“Once the effects of non-greenhouse warming (the El Niño phenomenon in the Pacific, for instance) and cooling (volcanic eruptions) events are discounted, these measurements indicate an absence of significant global warming since 1979 - that is, over the very period that human carbon dioxide emissions have been increasing rapidly. The satellite data signal not only the absence of substantial human-induced warming, by recording similar temperatures in 1980 and 2006, but also provide an empirical test of the greenhouse hypothesis as understood by the public - a test that the hypothesis fails.”

but if you missed the tiny note on his graph, then read Lambert’s notice of it:
Well, if you look at the fine print on Carter’s graph you find the data set he plotted was “uahncdc.mt”, and “mt” stands for mid troposphere. His “Global Average Temperature” is the temperature 6 kms up in the sky, where nobody lives. And what does that silly greenhouse hypothesis predict for the mid troposphere? Well, it says that the lower troposphere will warm (see second graph above), the stratosphere will cool (Look!) and in between them, temperatures in the mid troposphere will not change.”
 
In other words, to believe that Carter is not denying current warming, you would have to stand on your head and even then it would be difficult. But Carter’s interpretation is obviously wrong, as a reading of a basic weather text or handbook will make clear. In fact, as Lambert points out, Carter seems to accidentally support the AGW predictions.
Sorry, I lost a letter on the link to Lambert’s comment on the second article. It is:  here.

It is not a smear to call these “skeptics” “deniers” as it is they who deny the science. It is simply telling it how it is.

Climate change “deniers” may not have the same malice in their hearts as Holocaust “deniers”. However, AGW “deniers’ ” arguments are chock full of the same irregularities, flaws, lack of evidence, and poor judgment as those of Holocaust “deniers”.

It is very interesting, I have introduced a lot of friends look at this article, the content of the articles.