Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

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..

Guardian story accurately describes study on environmental impacts of our food system

in The Guardian, by Damian Carrington

— 17 Oct 2018

"Although the presented facts are clear, the scientists give a personal interpretation of the priorities and needed policies, which are not covered in the source. The data give add..

Guardian story conveys statement by scientists stressing role of deforestation in climate change

in The Guardian, by Oliver Milman

— 09 Oct 2018

"The article correctly links estimates of current carbon dioxide emissions from land use and land cover change with fairly conservative estimates for potential carbon sequestration..

USA Today op-ed ignores evidence to claim climate change had no role in Hurricane Florence

in USA Today, by Roy Spencer

— 17 Sep 2018

This op-ed in USA Today makes the claim that Hurricane Florence has no appreciable contribution from human-caused climate change. Scientists who reviewed the article found that it...

Guardian story accurately covers sea ice event but makes unsupported connection to weather patterns and the Gulf Stream

in The Guardian, by Jonathan Watts

— 28 Aug 2018

"The article is clear and accurate. The authors have consulted several experts in the field to develop this story. They provide a scientifically sound overview of the current sea i..

Guardian coverage of essay on potential of future “hothouse” climate is generally accurate, but misstates some details

in The Guardian, by Jonathan Watts

— 09 Aug 2018

"The article reasonably summarizes a new study published in PNAS, which describes the potential of tipping elements to enhance climate warming and the potential for the Earth to tr..

Washington Post story puts recent weather extremes in accurate climate change context

in The Washington Post, by Joel Achenbach, Angela Fritz

— 31 Jul 2018

"This article accurately describes the broader climate context of recent heat extremes throughout the Northern Hemisphere. There are a couple spots where specific claims are somewh..

NPR story accurately describes ecological consequences of altered spring timings in a warming climate

in NPR, by Nathan Rott

— 27 Jul 2018

"This article at NPR discusses what happens when warm spring weather arrives earlier because of climate change. Animals must adjust to changes in the timing of plant flowering, for..

USA Today story accurate but lacks clarity regarding timescales over which warming could be underestimated

in USA Today, by Doyle Rice

— 10 Jul 2018

"An accurate and balanced article that gives readers a good flavour of the research but the reference to “Earth’s history” might confuse some when it otherwise refers to the ..

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

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...