Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

The Australian’s coverage of Great Barrier Reef study creates perception that scientists are divided

in The Australian, by Graham Lloyd

— 22 Apr 2018

"The Australian chooses to present a mixed message on this story when the science is extremely clear. The title and quote from Prof. Kaempf do not represent the views of the broade..

Investor’s Business Daily editorial misrepresents study to claim plants will prevent dangerous climate change

in Investors' Business Daily, by Investors' Business Daily editors

— 12 Apr 2018

"Our nitrogen study does not detract from the urgency of the climate problem, nor the unequivocal evidence of the role of carbon pollution in causing global climate change. The cli..

Washington Post accurately covers permafrost study, albeit under a somewhat sensational headline

in The Washington Post, by Chris Mooney

— 22 Mar 2018

The article accurately described a study indicating that more of the carbon released from thawing permafrost will be released as methane and provided context on its overall implica...

Financial Post publishes misleading opinion that misrepresents science of polar bears’ plight

in Financial Post, by Susan Crockford

— 02 Mar 2018

"The article is composed of misstatements. These are either based upon the author’s apparent lack of understanding of the ecological and geophysical situations, or intent to misl..

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 ..

CLAIM REVIEWS

Rush Limbaugh falsely claims there is no evidence of human-caused global warming

CLAIM
"There isn’t yet any empirical evidence for their claim that greenhouse gases even cause temperatures to increase."

SOURCE: Rush Limbaugh, The Rush Limbaugh Show, 2 April 2018

VERDICT

Breitbart repeats blogger’s unsupported claim that NOAA manipulates data to exaggerate warming

CLAIM
"NOAA has adjusted past temperatures to look colder than they were and recent temperatures to look warmer than they were."

SOURCE: James Delingpole, Breitbart, 20 February 2018

VERDICT

EPA’s Scott Pruitt incorrectly suggests climate change might not be “a bad thing”

CLAIM
"We know that humans have most flourished during times of, what, warming trends. I think there are assumptions made that because the climate is warming, that that is necessarily a bad thing."

SOURCE: Scott Pruitt, KSNV NBC Las Vegas, 6 Feb. 2018

VERDICT

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: 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: 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

INSIGHTS

A discussion with experts on California wildfire links to climate change

— 16 Mar 2018

In many of these conversations, the question is framed in a fairly reductionist way: “Did global warming cause the California fires?” A more nuanced and scientifically-answerab...

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...