Paper cites incorrect report data, climate scientist's out-of-context quote to support claim that upcoming UN climate report asserts 'global warming HALF' of what scientists previously predicted...
[UPDATED after paper 'clarifies' (still) wildly inaccurate story...]
By Brad Friedman on 9/16/2013, 4:45pm PT  

The thing about climate change deniers is that, not only will no amount of thoroughly peer-reviewed and independently verifiable science --- even mountains of it, corroborated over and again over decades --- convince them they are fools, they also seem to take delight in simply ignoring how their specious assertions continue to be debunked time and time again with that same science.

Case in point, last week we highlighted how the dupes, stooges, patsies, pawns, chumps, rubes and suckers of the Climate Change Denial Industry had fallen hard for David Rose's completely inaccurate, misleading and/or fabricated claims in the British tabloid Mail on Sunday, which falsely asserted that the predictable variability evidenced by an increase in Arctic ice surface extent this summer signified that "global COOLING!" (the Mail's ALL-CAPS) is now under way!

The chumps who fell for Rose's silly claims forgot, or were too incurious to learn, that the increase over last year was an increase over the Arctic's record low minimum ice extent last year, falling squarely into decades of predictable variability along a very clear decades-long trend line of an alarming decrease in Arctic ice. Like the article, the same patsies also failed to note the difference between this year's temporary extent (area) and the longer-term, harder to measure volume (thickness) of ice that also continues to decline along the same disturbing, demonstrable and predicted trend lines.

Unfazed by being roundly and verifiably debunked, disputed and scoffed at by virtually every scientific corner of the globe (if not by the Fossil Fuel-funded Denial Industry and its lazy dupes who trumpeted the false report), Rose and the Mail unleashed yet another pile of demonstrably false, easily debunked nonsense Climate Change Denier Link Bait on Sunday, featuring this wholly deceptive --- okay, just plain inaccurate --- headline...

Once again, Rose's latest article is a mix of demonstrably inaccurate and misleading claims, cherry-picked data, and out-and-out fabricated assertions supported by out-of-context quotes, including, in this case, from a climate scientist forced to leave a comment on the Mail webpage in hopes of re-establishing credibility after Rose used a quote from him that actually meant the complete opposite of how it was presented in the article.

We'll defer to Slate's Phil Plait here for the main debunkery of Rose's newest piece, described as "one misleading claim on top of the last." While Plait mercifully promises not to "try your patience" by responding to "every error in it", he explains "there are two that need pointing out, especially since one is the basis of his entire article"...

[Rose's] major claim is that a new report soon to be released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; leaked copies of these reports make it out fairly often) says that the world is warming much more slowly than previously measured:

Yet the leaked report makes the extraordinary concession that the world has been warming at only just over half the rate claimed by the IPCC in its last assessment, published in 2007.

Back then, it said that the planet was warming at a rate of 0.2C every decade – a figure it claimed was in line with the forecasts made by computer climate models.

But the new report says the true figure since 1951 has been only 0.12C per decade – a rate far below even the lowest computer prediction.

To be polite, I'll just say these statements are a huge misinterpretation of reality.

I went to the Assessment Report 4 (AR4), the document from 2007 he’s talking about. On page 12 of the Summary for Policymakers, it says this:

Since IPCC’s first report in 1990, assessed projections have suggested global average temperature increases between about 0.15°C and 0.3°C per decade for 1990 to 2005. This can now be compared with observed values of about 0.2°C per decade, strengthening confidence in near-term projections.

That’s where Rose gets that 0.2°C number. Ah, but note the time range: 1990-2005. That’s a sixteen year time span, and a recent one.

If you look at page 5 of that same report, you’ll also see this statement [emphasis mine]:

The linear warming trend over the last 50 years (0.13°C [0.10°C to 0.16°C] per decade) is nearly twice that for the last 100 years.

Note the time range here: It’s actually over 50 years, and starts far earlier than the time range quoted for the 0.2° rise per decade. We know the Earth is warming faster now than it was a century (or five decades ago), so comparing a recent 16-year span to one that’s 50 years long and much older is grossly inappropriate. It’s apples to oranges. And in the second statement it actually says flat out that the more recent 50 years have warmed far faster than the 50 before them.

If the new report Rose is talking about says the increase since 1951 is 0.12°C per decade, then it’s off by only 8 percent from the earlier measurement of 0.13°. That sounds pretty dang accurate to me.

So, after getting it completely wrong last week, Rose and the Mail are unembarrassed enough to completely blow the central thesis of their next article on the same topic the very next week.

The other assertion that Plait finds necessary to rebut in this latest piece, includes Rose's use of a quote from climate scientist Myles Allen, whom Rose completely misrepresents --- at least according to Allen to himself. We'll let you read Plait's full piece to learn how blatantly Rose appears to have simply bastardized wholly out-of-context remarks from Allen to support his own thesis in hopes of undermining the upcoming IPCC report.

Our point in highlighting all of this again today is to help point out that, as Plait explains, "The Fifth Assessment Report from the IPCC is scheduled to be released next year; various draft versions get leaked all the time ... But as we near the time of the final report’s public release, expect to see louder and more desperate claims from the deny-o-sphere."

So this will likely be getting far worse before it gets better. The Climate Change Denial Industry and its easily duped rubes, pawns, patsies, stooges and suckers will continue to be as incurious as ever and use easily debunked headlines (if not actual science) to support their Fossil Fuel-friendly beliefs no matter how many times they are rebuked by actual science and career professionals from across the globe who actually know better. The hope here, of course, by the Denial Industry is to seed confusion and doubt, not to prove actual science. And no amount of shame will keep discredited reporters and "newspapers" from pushing this garbage over and over again because, as noted proudly in this Sunday's Mail article...

The Mail on Sunday’s report last week ... recorded 174,200 Facebook ‘shares’, by some distance a record for an article on the MailOnline website.

Yes, our continuing global disaster is now little more than their web traffic prize.

"Follow the money" indeed, just as the Denial Industry patsies love to say, even as they don't bother to notice which side the most profitable industry in the history of civilization has taken in this war, and even as reporters like Rose and papers like the Mail cash in on the gullibility of easily duped rubes who, despite their incuriosity, take great pride in believing they are the complete opposite of what they actually are.

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UPDATE: A whole bunch of climate scientists confirm Plait's findings quoted above, highlighting that Rose, once again, simply has the "facts" in his latest article wrong. They describe Rose's piece as, among other things, "patently absurd".

By way of just two examples, the University of Reading's Richard Allan, is quoted this way, in describing the marginal difference between the rate of warming cited in the IPCC's 2007 report and their new report set for final release soon (versus the "just over half the rate claimed by the IPCC in its last assessment," falsely reported by Rose and the Mail):

"That's 0.01 degrees Celsius per decade difference, which makes the title [Top climate scientists admit global warming forecasts were wrong] seem completely ridiculous and is an embarrassment to the serious reporting of climate change elsewhere."

And climate scientist Dr. Ed Hawkins notes very politely in the same article:

"The trend over the past 50 years [the Mail on Sunday] says is in [the new IPCC report] is almost identical to the [last report in 2007] so the article's headline and premise that global warming is half of what was said ... is incorrect."

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UPDATE 9/17/2013: Wow. David Rose and the Mail on Sunday doubled down today by completely changing their article to --- sorta --- deal with all of the wildly egregious errors in the initial version of their article, as pointed out above. But, in the process, they changed their assertion and headline from the initial claim that "Global warming is just HALF what we said" to "Global warming is just QUARTER what we thought".

The changes are explained --- sorta --- in a "Clarification" at the end of the article. But what did they actually do here? It appears that instead of using two totally different apples and oranges periods of comparison as they had originally, when they compared the rate of warming starting in 1951 to the rate of warming only since 1990, they decided to only use the rate from 1990 to 2005 for their comparison. That's certainly more reasonable --- sorta --- since that is the period Rose had erroneously used for only one side of his claim.

But he then compares the average "per decade" temps since 1951 and applies them to 1990-2005 temps to conclude that the latter "per decade" average is just one quarter of the average seen since 1951. I'll wait for the real scientists to ring in on this, but it appears to me that a) Determining "per decade" average temps in a 15 year period --- a decade and a half --- is an absurdly small sample size with which to conclude much of anything, and b) Using temps only from 1990 to 2005 conveniently leaves record years like, for example, 2012 (the 9th warmest on record globally and the hottest ever on record in the continental U.S.) outside of his sample period.

Rather than retract the article, which is still wrong in many other places as well, this sleight-of-hand appears to be little more than an attempt at ass-covering from Rose and the Mail on Sunday, and includes "science" as bad as their original attempt to discredit actual science and actual scientists. But, that's what these guys do for a living.

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UPDATE 9/18/2013: Happily, Phil Plait at Slate has now jumped in with some actual science on David Rose's deceptive "clarification".

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UPDATE 9/18/2013: One more, and hopefully our last update on this story. The Guardian's Graham Readfern absolutely destroys the horrific "reporting" of late by the Mail and Rupert Murdoch's denalist "news" outlets in Australia and elsewhere which have picked up on the same nonsense. About Rose's "clarification", as described above, he explains simply:

The Daily Mail has issued a "clarification" and is now claiming that global warming is just a "quarter" of the IPCC projections. Yet to make this claim, The Daily Mail would need a time machine.

The Daily Mail now claims that in 2007 the IPCC had said that observed warming from 1990 to 2005 was at a rate of 0.2C per decade. This is correct. But The Daily Mail claims the IPCC had predicted this would continue for another 20 years based on climate models, which would get us to the year 2025. So we'll only really know how close those projections were in 15 years or so (surely The Daily Mail's possession of a time machine is a bigger story - but I digress).