Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

Guardian explores sea level rise impact on cities, but fails to make timescale clear

in The Guardian, by Jonathan Watts, Dom Phillips, Helen Roxburgh, Josh Holder, Justin McCurry, Niko Kommenda, Richard Luscombe, & Ruth Michaelson

— 09 Nov 2017

"This article provides an excellent visual of an unfortunately very likely general future for humanity, in which sea level rise slowly inundates many coastal cities ... However, on..

The Independent makes a giant leap in stating that modern global warming could be “worse than thought” based on a single study

in The Independent, by Andrew Griffin

— 01 Nov 2017

"The article reports on a paper which suggests there may be complications with ONE method we use to determine past ocean temperature. Notwithstanding possible flaws in the methods ..

Commentary in The Australian ignores evidence and misrepresents research while falsely claiming humans are not responsible for climate change

in The Australian, by Ian Plimer

— 26 Oct 2017

"Yet another in the exhausting heap of opinions choosing not to engage with evidence, while still expecting readers to believe inaccurate and baseless claims. It is baffling why pu..

BBC article on ocean acidification report accurate but brief

in BBC, by Roger Harrabin

— 25 Oct 2017

"A good summary of BIOACID's key results. The information provided here is based on peer-reviewed scientific articles... I think these complex (and so far poorly understood) food w..

New York Times’ “straightforward answers” to common climate questions are accurate, too

in The New York Times, by Justin Gillis

— 28 Sep 2017

This article in The New York Times serves as a primer by briefly answering seventeen basic questions about the cause and consequences of—and possible solutions to—climate chang...

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: ..

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

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...

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..