Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

National Geographic video of starving polar bear should have clarified uncertain link to climate change

in National Geographic, by Sarah Gibbens

— 17 Jan 2018

"The article contains valid information on the devastating consequences of climate change on polar bears. The only problem as I see it is that the article presents (implicitly) tha..

Atlantic story on the climate implications of reduced beef consumption could provide clearer context

in The Atlantic, by James Hamblin

— 17 Jan 2018

"The article explains the issue (meat production diverts crops from humans to cattle) on a simple level. More explanation and more context could have been provided, I think, regard..

New York Times effectively informs readers about large Larsen C iceberg calving event

in The New York Times, by Jugal K. Patel and Justin Gillis

— 17 Jan 2018

"The article handles a complex topic well. It would be easy to be alarmist with this subject matter, and while its lede edges that way, the main content of the article is very bala..

New York Times accurately covers 2017 record low Arctic winter sea ice extent

in The New York Times, by Henry Fountain

— 16 Jan 2018

"The article accurately reports on the state of Arctic sea ice at the annual maximum (in March) and its causes, and gives an insightful discussion as to the implications. There is ..

Conservative Tribune post falsely claims cancelled Arctic research cruise is evidence against climate change

in Conservative Tribune, by Benjamin Arie

— 16 Jan 2018

"Repeating a version of a debunked argument against climate change science, this biased and misleading political article states that the cancellation of an Arctic research cruise d..

IFLScience story on Florida sea level rise somewhat unclear but generally correct

in IFLScience, by Robin Andrews

— 16 Jan 2018

"While the information in this article is essentially correct, the links lead to loosely related articles published on the same website, rather than articles that directly support ..

New York Times’ news coverage of 2016 global temperature data was an accurate summary

in The New York Times, by Justin Gillis

— 16 Jan 2018

"A clear and accurate article on the temperature record in 2016, looking back at the records in 2015 and 2014. The article places them in the proper context of long-term warming, w..

Futurism story on Great Barrier Reef compromised by sensational headline

in Futurism, by June Javelosa and Jolene Creighton

— 16 Jan 2018

"The content is almost all correct, but the attention-grabbing headline is wrong and isn't supported by the quotes from two scientists or by the rest of the content.

Breitbart article on California fires misleads by omitting explanation of climate’s influence

in Breitbart, by Joel Pollak

— 19 Dec 2017

"The Breitbart article provides a poorly reasoned and misleading view of how climate change has contributed to recent fires in California and the rest of the western USA. The most ..

Daily Caller uncritically reports poorly supported conclusion of satellite temperature study

in The Daily Caller, by Michael Bastasch

— 04 Dec 2017

"The absence of accelerating warming trends is meant to go against prevailing climate science, but I find that to be a strawman argument. In that sense the article is misleading—..

CLAIM REVIEWS

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott wrongly claims Australia has warmed far less than data show

CLAIM
"unadjusted data suggests that temperatures in Australia have only increased by 0.3 degrees over the past century, not the 1 degree usually claimed"

SOURCE: Tony Abbott, Global Warming Policy Foundation, 9 Oct 2017

VERDICT

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

INSIGHTS

US Congressman Lamar Smith rushes to dismiss study of Texas hurricanes like Harvey in a warming climate

— 24 Nov 2017

"Congressman Smith is an expert at using seemingly true statements to convey falsehoods." - Prof. Kerry Emanuel

Tony Abbott speech on climate change rehashes misleading, inaccurate talking points

— 12 Oct 2017

“the usual mix of misdirection, falsehoods and tirades against ‘brigades’ who supposedly say this and that but are never clearly identified”. In his speech, Abbott repeate...

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...