Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

New York Times’ coverage of IPCC report clearly presents conclusions

in The New York Times, by Coral Davenport

— 24 Jan 2019

This story in The New York Times covered the October release of the IPCC's "Global Warming of 1.5 °C" report. Scientists who reviewed the story found that it provided an accurate...

Guardian story on climate impacts of diet gets mixed reviews from scientists

in The Guardian, by Damian Carrington

— 23 Jan 2019

"The word “Avoiding” in title and text is overly strong and should have been “Reducing”. Adopting a vegan diet is not necessary, but a reduction to having meat 1-2 times a ..

Story on congressman’s incorrect claims about sea level rise could have corrected them more explicitly

in Science Magazine, E&E News, by Scott Waldman

— 22 Jan 2019

"The comments from the members of the Committee suffer from severe inaccuracies and misconceptions, and citations of the invited climate scientist mostly address those issues. In ..

BBC article on IPCC report is mostly accurate, but could use some clarification

in BBC, by Matt McGrath

— 21 Jan 2019

"Scientifically, the article is overall correct, but it is in cases inaccurate in its description of certain aspects of the IPCC. For example, the IPCC does not conduct research, b..

CNN accurately covers latest IPCC report

in CNN, by Brandon Miller

— 19 Jan 2019

This CNN story covered the October release of the IPCC's "Global Warming of 1.5 °C" report. The report, which was requested by governments during the 2015 Paris Agreement negotiat...

USA Today story updates readers on trend in monthly global temperatures

in USA Today, by Doyle Rice

— 14 Jan 2019

"The piece accurately reports the surface temperature record warming of recent decades and joins the dots appropriately to the underlying cause of human emissions. It appropriately..

Washington Post article accurately discusses warm Arctic weather event

in The Washington Post, by Jason Samenow

— 14 Jan 2019

"This article accurately describes the Arctic warming event and associated surprise by scientists, includes multiple explanations for possible causes, and does not overstate any co..

Popular “Friends of Science” video promoted by Youtube presents long list of climate myths

in Friends of Science, YouTube, by Steve Goreham

— 21 Dec 2018

"The video presents a litany of the usual climate denier talking points, none of which hold any water. It is full of outright false claims and does not even shy away from presentin..

Popular story on Fox2Now accurately describes 2017 global temperature, sea ice extent

in Fox2News, CNN, by Brandon Miller, Fox2News Staff

— 04 Dec 2018

"The article is factually correct. The reality that Arctic sea ice is getting younger is not so well known from the public, so such an article is welcome. The article’s title an..

Washington Post accurately describes ocean warming study (which has since been corrected)

in The Washington Post, by Chris Mooney, Brady Dennis

— 03 Nov 2018

"The Washington Post article accurately reports the results and links to other topics using reliable sources. Quotations from Pieter Tans and Paul Durack add important caveats show..

CLAIM REVIEWS

Metro’s claims of coming “mini ice age” have no basis in reality

CLAIM
"[S]unspot activity on the surface of our star has dropped to a new low. It’s feared this could herald the arrival of a uniquely grim ‘mini Ice Age’."

SOURCE: Jasper Hamill, Metro, 16 Nov. 2018

VERDICT

On BBC Newsnight, Myron Ebell falsely claims climate models exaggerate warming

CLAIM
"The rate of warming according to the data is much slower than the models used by the IPCC"

SOURCE: Myron Ebell, BBC Newsnight, 8 Oct. 2018

VERDICT

Ian Plimer wrongly claims that carbon dioxide emissions do not cause climate change

CLAIM
"there is no relationship between temperature and carbon dioxide emissions by ­humans[...] carbon dioxide has had a minuscule effect on global climate"

SOURCE: Ian Plimer, The Australian, 7 Aug. 2018

VERDICT

Ian Plimer incorrectly claims human-caused emissions are short-lived

CLAIM
"The ­atmospheric residency time of carbon dioxide is five years and it is quickly sequestered into plants, marine life, oceans and sediments."

SOURCE: Ian Plimer, The Australian, 7 Aug. 2018

VERDICT

President Trump’s claim that water supply policy has worsened California wildfires is baseless

CLAIM
"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amounts of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean."

SOURCE: President Donald Trump, Twitter, 5 Aug. 2018

VERDICT

Fred Singer incorrectly claims sea level rise is not caused by climate change

CLAIM
"Sea-level rise does not seem to depend on ocean temperature, and certainly not on CO2"

SOURCE: Fred Singer, The Wall Street Journal, 15 May 2018

VERDICT

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 Feb. 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

Prof. John Christy incorrectly claims to show climate models are too sensitive to carbon dioxide

CLAIM
"the real atmosphere is less sensitive to CO2 than what has been forecast by climate models"

SOURCE: John Christy, The Daily Caller, 29 Nov. 2017

VERDICT

INSIGHTS

How is Arctic warming linked to the ‘polar vortex’ and other extreme weather?

— 01 Feb 2019

Over the past decade, a growing body of research has proposed ways in which rapid Arctic warming can lead to harsh winters, summer heatwaves and even floods and droughts across the...

How credible were 2018’s most popular climate articles?

— 24 Jan 2019

Compared to last year’s top 10, there is a notable lack of low credibility stories. Two stories garnered mixed reviews from scientists. In one case, this was an article detailing...

Climate misinformation video reaches broad audience with help from Youtube recommendation algorithm

— 21 Dec 2018

YouTube's recommendation algorithm recently began promoting a video about climate change on dozens of popular Youtube channels; the video has been promoted to between 300,000 and 2...

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 ...