Yes, I’m inviting you to complain to the United Kingdom Press Complaints Commission regarding what appears to be a failure of accurate journalism in the Daily Express.
The question is, for you, have they “gone too far this time” ?
Here’s some e-mail traffic :-
from: Bob Ward
sent: 31 August 2010
subject: Express Denial
If you want to have a good chortle, have a look at this ‘Debate’ just launched on the website of the ‘The Daily Express’:
Apart from its one-sided title (‘Debate: Is ‘global warming’ just a con?’), I particularly enjoyed the illiterate reference to “LOSS OF CREDIBITY”. Well, after all, ‘The Daily Express’ should know about loss of credibility!
Policy and Communications Director
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
London School of Economics and Political Science
London WC2A 2AE
from: James Pavitt
date: 31 August 2010
Have you seen the headline and front page??? This is the worst case of climate misrepresentation I’ve ever seen. I have made a complaint to the Press Complaints Committee, and urge others to do so too.
Here is my submission:
Please explain how you believe the Code of Practice has been breached
I believe that the item has breached the code of practice in terms of accuracy.
The article concerns a report by the Inter-Academy Council (IAC) into the workings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report was critical of the IPCC, especially regarding a mistake in data about Himalayan glaciers. The Express has exaggerated the report’s findings in a way which misleads readers to assume that the IPCC has been generally untruthful. The IPCC admitted the Himalayan Glacier mistake in January this year [ source: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/himalaya-statement-20january2010.pdf ]
Here are some examples of how the Express has misled the reader:
The headline is misleading. “Climate Lies are Exposed”. My understanding of a “lie” is purposeful misrepresentation. There is no evidence provided in the article that the IPCC (the subject of the article) has purposefully misrepresented anything.
Express: “THE world’s leading climate change body has been accused of losing credibility after a damning report into its research practices.”
This is untrue. The IPCC do not carry out research, they collate and re-publish previous research. The report was critical but not “damning”.
Express: “A high-level inquiry into the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found there was “little evidence” for its claims about global warming.”
This is untrue and misleading. The Inter-Academy Council (IAC) report did not examine the science behind global warming. The report is complimentary about much of the IPCC’s work, praising it for creating a “remarkable international conversation on climate research both among scientists and policymakers”.
Express: “The review by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) was launched after the IPCC’s hugely embarrassing 2007 benchmark climate change report, which contained exaggerated and false claims that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. The panel was forced to admit its key claim in support of global warming was lifted from a 1999 magazine article. The report was based on an interview with a little-known Indian scientist who has since said his views were “speculation” and not backed by research.”
This is misleading. The “key claim” referred to is not a key claim at all. The Himalayan error was one paragraph in a 938-page Working Group contribution to the underlying assessment. [ source: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/presentations/himalaya-statement-20january2010.pdf ]
The article goes on to quote Peter Taylor, an “Independent climate scientist”. Peter Taylor is not a climate scientist; he is the author of a book called “Chill” refuting global warming.
Express: “Dr Pachauri has been accused of a conflict of interest, which he denies, after it emerged that he has business interests attracting millions of pounds in funding. One, the Energy Research Institute, is set to receive up to £10million in grants from taxpayers over the next five years. Speaking after the review was released yesterday, Dr Pachauri said: “We have the highest confidence in the science behind our assessments.”
This is misleading. The implication is that Dr Pachauri was accused of a conflict of interests in the IAC report. He was accused of a conflict of interests in an article published in the Express [ source: http://www.express.co.uk/posts/view/156456/UN-climate-change-chief-under-fire ], not in the IAC report.
I believe that the article has been purposefully constructed using untruths and misleading statements and as such it is highly inaccurate.
subject: re Express denial and IPCC?
from: George Marshall
date: 1 September 2010
For your interest, this is what Marc Morano makes of the IPCC reports. Morano, former Inhofe staffer and smug self promoter is astute generator of media angles and headlines…if you can stand it, it is worth being on his mailing list for a summary of current denial campaigns
You will also notice clearly here how many of Morano’s links are to UK media. Morano is one of the main gateways through which the US denial machine is fuelled by distortions in the UK media which unfortunately has a reputation in the US for authoritative journalism
“From: firstname.lastname@example.org : Sent: 31 August 2010 16:30 : To: ‘Marc Morano-ClimateDepot.com’ : Subject: UN IPCC IS ‘FOOL’S GOLD’ — ‘LIES EXPOSED’ – PACHAURI to STEP DOWN? — ‘DUMP IPCC PROCESS’ — ‘Rearrange the chairs’ : For latest go to www.ClimateDepot.com [Morano Statement: “This inquiry into the UN IPCC process by the InterAcademy Council (IAC) is everything the previous Climategate ‘whitewashes’ should have been. The IAC has once again revealed that the UN IPCC is merely a partisan error-riddled pressure group campaigning for their cause. Quite simply, the IPCC is the best science that politics and activists could manufacture. Skeptics worldwide should rally around the discredited UN IPCC chief Pachauri. The longer Pachauri stays, the more damage he does to the pitiful IPCC process. Viva Pachauri!”] : Paper: ‘CLIMATE CHANGE LIES ARE EXPOSED’: UN IPCC ‘accused of losing credibility after a damning report into its research practices’ : FOOLS GOLD: ‘IPCC reports are supposed to be the gold standard…This Discredited IPCC Process Must Be Purged’ — ‘We cannot make sane decisions on global warming if the ‘experts’ present us with evidence that is biased…I thought that IPCC reports were reliable, fair and transparent. No longer’ : Climatologist: ‘Dump the IPCC Process, It Cannot Be Fixed’: ‘UN IPCC was created to use the scientific community to build a case for regulating CO2 emissions. Period’ : UK Telegraph: IPCC report raises fresh questions over Dr Rajendra Pachauri’s leadership — ‘The criticism of the management process is quite severe. It is an indirect call for Dr Pachauri to step down.’ : UK Telegraph: ‘Flawed science’: ‘UN IPCC was rightly warned not to stray into what might be seen as scaremongering and policy advocacy’ — Report should ‘trigger the resignation of Pachauri but he insists he wants to stay on to implement any necessary changes in procedure. Yet his – and IPCC’s – credibility have been tarnished by this affair’ : UK Register: Report recommends UN climate panel shakeup — ‘Rearrange the chairs please’ — ‘IPCC’s work included headline-catching statements which couldn’t be justified’ : UK Daily Mail: UN climate experts ‘overstated dangers’: Keep your noses out of politics, scientists told…”
from: John Nissen
sent: 03 September 2010
I agree, James. We should all complain. The article is a slur on IPCC as well as blatantly misleading . The complaints procedure is here .
A rebuke of the Daily Express by the Press Complaints Committee would be welcome news, when we seem to be letting the deniers get the upper hand.
from: James Pavitt
Thank you for this John.
I should point out that the Press Complaints Commission has now written to me to confirm receipt of my complaint and to suggest that they may be inviting input by the IPCC in their investigations.
They have asked my not to forward their communications with me to others.
Their response confirms that any complaint is taken seriously, so I urge everyone who is able to examine the article, make up your own mind whether it is truthful and if you feel it is not, write your own complaint to the commission (details kindly provided by John in the email below).
I may not have covered the issues in my complaint either well or thoroughly – I am sure than many of you are far better qualified than I am to make a fair and thorough complaint. If you feel so moved – please do.
from: P Mac
date: 3 September 2010
Good work. Denialism and attacks on IPCC are financed by fossil-fuel industry.