Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

Daily Wire article misunderstands study on carbon budget (along with Fox News, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, Breitbart…)

in The Daily Wire, by James Barrett

— 21 Sep 2017

"The article selectively quotes from interviews and scientific papers to create the false perception that climate models significantly overestimate the rate of warming. The article..

Global Warming and fire suppression practices boost wildfires in the US West, as correctly reported in The Atlantic

in The Atlantic, by Robinson Meyer

— 11 Sep 2017

"The article provides an excellent summary of how rising air temperatures are leading to drier conditions and more fire activity among forests in parts of the western United States..

The Atlantic accurately explores climate context for Tropical Storm Harvey

in The Atlantic, by Robinson Meyer

— 29 Aug 2017

"A well written article that captures the essence of our understanding that under climate change storms will likely bring more rainfall. In the case of Harvey, all we can say is th..

New York Times accurately assesses the state of Alaskan permafrost

in The New York Times, by Henry Fountain

— 24 Aug 2017

"The article is accurate in its descriptions of the physical and ecological processes that are behind permafrost changes. It also does a good job of getting across the nature of th..

Forbes article accurately describes research on Atlantic ocean circulation weakening, but headline goes farther

in Forbes, by Trevor Nace

— 09 Aug 2017

"This is an accurate, concise summary of the slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) and its possible future states. There are a couple of minor issues: ..

Wall Street Journal op-ed on economic consequences of climate change found naive by scientists

in The Wall Street Journal, by David Henderson, John Cochrane

— 02 Aug 2017

"This is a very simplistic, almost naive op-ed on climate change impacts. Some assertions such as the one about CO2 being good for plants demonstrates that the authors do not know ..

Breitbart article falsely claims that measured global warming has been “fabricated”

in Breitbart, by James Delingpole

— 11 Jul 2017

"In a cursory attempt at both reporting and climate science, the author glibly highlights a document heavy on accusation and light on reasoned engagement with fact. Implying nefari..

The Atlantic accurately reports on study of the economic impacts of continued climate change in the US

in The Atlantic, by Robinson Meyer

— 03 Jul 2017

This story in The Atlantic by Robinson Meyer describes a new study on the distribution of economic impacts that result from continued climate change in the United States. The study...

New York Times story highlights the growing number of extremely hot days in a warming world

in The New York Times, by Brad Plumer & Nadja Popovich

— 26 Jun 2017

"The study’s claims all appear to be based on sound, peer-reviewed research. The claims are in line with longstanding predictions and are not cherry-picked or unrepresentative, a..

Playing semantics, misleading Breitbart article downplays US contribution to climate change

in Breitbart, by Thomas D. Williams

— 06 Jun 2017

"This whole post is based on semantics and basically one big strawman fallacy. The author is deliberately confusing air pollution from suspended particulate matter (as discussed in..

CLAIM REVIEWS

Incorrect claim that global warming is mostly natural was based on a study that can’t support that conclusion

CLAIM
"Most of the recent warming could be natural"

SOURCE: Jennifer Marohasy, The Spectator, 21 Aug. 2017

VERDICT

Climate change likely helped increase Hurricane Harvey’s rainfall, but too early to say exactly by how much

CLAIM
"[climate scientists] say that aspects of the case of Hurricane Harvey suggest global warming is making a bad situation worse."

SOURCE: Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic, 27 Aug. 2017

VERDICT

Some extreme weather events are clearly becoming more common, in contrast to Lord Lawson’s claim

CLAIM
"The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is sort of the voice of the consensus, concedes that there has been no increase in extreme weather events."

SOURCE: Lord Nigel Lawson, BBC, 10 Aug. 2017

VERDICT

Lord Lawson falsely claims that global temperatures have declined over last decade

CLAIM
"according, again, to the official figures—during this past 10 years, if anything, mean global temperature, average world temperature, has slightly declined"

SOURCE: Lord Nigel Lawson, BBC, 10 Aug. 2017

VERDICT

Earth is not at risk of becoming a hothouse like Venus, as Stephen Hawking claimed

CLAIM
"Trump's action could push the Earth over the brink, to become like Venus, with a temperature of two hundred and fifty degrees, and raining sulphuric acid."

SOURCE: Stephen Hawking, BBC, 2 July 2017

VERDICT

Energy Secretary Rick Perry incorrectly claims CO2 is not primary cause of climate change

CLAIM
"Most likely the primary control knob [on climate change] is the ocean waters and this environment that we live in."

SOURCE: Rick Perry, CNBC, 19 June 2017

VERDICT

Breitbart falsely claims 58 studies refute human-caused global warming

CLAIM
"'Global warming' is a myth — so say 80 graphs from 58 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in 2017."

SOURCE: James Delingpole, Breitbart, 6 June 2017

VERDICT

Natural variability can not explain modern global warming, as Heartland Institute report claims

CLAIM
"Neither the rate nor the magnitude of the reported late twentieth century surface warming (1979–2000) lay outside normal natural variability."

SOURCE: Craig Idso, Robert Carter, S. Fred Singer, Heartland Institute, 2016

VERDICT

A lull in solar activity would have little effect on global temperatures; claims of “global cooling” are not based on science

CLAIM
"Forward projections of solar cyclicity imply the next few decades may be marked by global cooling rather than warming, despite continuing CO2 emissions."

SOURCE: Craig Idso, Robert Carter, S. Fred Singer, Heartland Institute, 2016

VERDICT

Global warming has not “ceased”, as Heartland Institute report falsely claims

CLAIM
"global warming ceased around the end of the twentieth century and was followed (since 1997) by 19 years of stable temperature"

SOURCE: Craig Idso, Robert Carter, S. Fred Singer, Heartland Institute, 2016

VERDICT

INSIGHTS

How sea ice can still be thick in places in a warming Arctic

— 15 Jun 2017

The simple fact that baffles Breitbart author: global warming doesn’t mean that every square inch of ice has already melted.

CNN airs misleading climate claims in interview

— 25 Apr 2017

"Dr. Happer's assertion that models show 2x to 3x greater warming than observations is incorrect. At the surface (where we all live) models predict a rate of warming of 0.2 °C per..

Scientists reactions to the US House Science Committee hearing on climate science

— 10 Apr 2017

Only four witnesses were invited to testify before the committee, which cannot be representative of all the expertise required to understand a field as vast as climate science. So ...

The Daily Wire corrects story analyzed by scientists, but it’s still misleading

— 07 Mar 2017

While the most inaccurate statements have been edited, the scientists who reviewed the post indicate that the implication that the study undercuts confidence in the human cause of ...

Sensational claims of manipulated data in the Mail on Sunday are overblown

— 06 Feb 2017

"The “astonishing evidence” that David Rose purports to reveal in no way changes our understanding of modern warming or our best estimates of recent rates of warming. It does n..

IPSO decision ignores inaccuracies in The Spectator’s article on ocean acidification

— 02 Feb 2017

The article contains objectively inaccurate assertions on matters of fact—not opinion—and therefore does not meet the accuracy standards of IPSO’s Editors’ Code. By excusin...

Wall Street Journal articles on 2016 heat record send contradicting messages

— 27 Jan 2017

On January 18, NASA and NOAA released the data showing that 2016 was the warmest year on record in both datasets. All other major global surface temperature datasets, including the...

How to make sure a Q&A with a scientist doesn’t misrepresent science

— 04 Jan 2017

“When interviewing scientists, journalists need to make it clear to readers whether the resulting article is based on opinion or science. It is not sufficient to assume that an i...

When a sensational headline contradicts an article’s message

— 18 Oct 2016

"Sarah Knapton has written a reasonably well-balanced article, however, this article was placed under a misleading headline. The headline could just as easily have been: "Experts s..