Those who persist in denying the reality of human-caused climate change have resorted to scraping the very bottom of the barrel. Last week, climate deniers at several blogs and news outlets jumped on a new “paper” that supposedly “proves” the vast majority of climate scientists are wrong.
Except, according to a scientific review from the independent fact-checking organisation Climate Feedback, the document does no such thing. The widely shared paper, which claims to overturn decades of scientific findings, is not published in a peer-reviewed journal, but can be found on the pre-print website arXiv.
As Climate Feedback’s expert summary reveals, the scant PDF is riddled with problems, and doesn’t provide any sources to the data it claims to examine.
After being covered by Russia Today and Sputnik News, the false claim received uncritical airtime at @FoxNews Tucker Carlson and @SkyNewsAust Rowan Dean.
In light of journalistic commitment to accuracy, a correction is warranted: https://t.co/cC0HskuwQF pic.twitter.com/Gphp1OJYCB
— Climate Feedback (@ClimateFdbk) July 15, 2019
The manuscript makes the extraordinary claim that human-made climate change does not exist in practice. But scientists who contributed to the scathing Climate Feedback analysis point out that the document cherry picks information and relies on circular reasoning.
“This text may look like a scientific article to a lay-person, but I would not accept it as a bachelor thesis,” comments Victor Venema, a climate scientist at the University of Bonn, Germany, as part of Climate Feedback’s review.
“It does not cite its data sources, it does not discuss the uncertainties in the data, nor does it discuss that other cloud data sets find the opposite trend.”
Dismissing an entire body of climate science, the six-page document cites a mere six references: four of which are the authors’ own and two of which are unpublished.
Mark Richardson, a physicist and research assistant at NASA and the University of California, further pointed out that the authors of this new study – one of whom is a self-professed clexit-er, or climate exit-er – rely on “a bunch of nonsense calculations” to show that only 0.1 °C of warming is from CO2, while 90 percent is caused by the oceans.
“This violates conservation of mass from basic chemistry,” he writes for Climate Feedback, “the oceans are actually absorbing CO2, which, again, is the complete opposite of what Kaupinen and Malmi claim. Without claiming the opposite of reality, their conclusions cannot be supported.”
Despite the myriad flaws in the manuscript, many media personalities with a climate change denying agenda simply ran with it, not bothering to independently verify the science or fact-check the claims.
For example, Rowan Dean, a climate-denying commentator at Sky News Australia – which is, it must be noted, owned by Rupert Murdoch – used the unsubstantiated document as fuel for his own verbal rampage.
“Climate change is a fraudulent and dangerous cult, which has paralysed and bewitched the ruling elites, and is driven by unscrupulous and sinister interests including the power-hungry socialist mob at the UN,” said Dean.
@rowandean some fact-checking could have helped you assess the solidity of this unpublished 6-page pdf before jumping to conclusions https://t.co/QkZ8zg1B0M
— Climate Feedback (@ClimateFdbk) July 14, 2019
“The websites that have promoted this paper provide no counterpoint or basic fact-checking on the bold claims made by the authors,” Stephen Po-Chedley, an atmospheric scientist at the University of California, commented for Climate Feedback.
Thankfully, there’s no shortage of actual climate scientists who can set the record straight.
You can read the entire summary and all expert comments over at Climate Feedback.