Scott Johnson

Science Editor

ARTICLE REVIEWS

Telegraph article on climate change mixes accurate and unsupported, inaccurate claims, misleads with false balance

in The Telegraph, by Sarah Knapton

— 18 Oct 2019

"This article is a prime example of false equivalence, putting fringe figures side by side with mainstream scientific findings while failing to distinguish between their respective..

Letter signed by “500 scientists” relies on inaccurate claims about climate science

in clintel.nl, by Guus Berkhou, Reynald du Berger, Terry Dunleavy, Viv Forbes, Jeffrey Fos, Morten Jodal, Rob Lemeire, Richard Lindzen, Ingemar Nordin, Jim O'Brien, Alberto Prestininzi, Benoit Rittaud, Fritz Vahrenholt, Christopher Monckton

— 04 Oct 2019

SUMMARY This letter presenting a short list of claims about climate change boasts a list of “500 scientists and professionals” who have co-signed it. The claims contrad...

Washington Examiner op-ed cherry-picks data and misleads readers about climate models

in The Washington Examiner, by Patrick Michaels, Caleb Stewart Rossiter

— 31 Aug 2019

"This article focuses only on specific lines of evidence that climate models disagree with observations. In doing so, the authors ignore research that helps to reconcile difference..

NBC News story accurately covers research on two millennia of climate history

in NBC News, by https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/climate-scientists-drive-stake-through-heart-skeptics-argument-ncna1033646

— 30 Jul 2019

"This accurately describes new peer-reviewed research and asks independent scientists with relevant expertise to provide important context, such as how these results rely on limite..

Popular article in The Independent accurately summarizes June heat in Europe

in The Independent, by Conrad Duncan

— 05 Jul 2019

"The article accurately and clearly states the facts regarding the recent extreme heat in June 2019 and its link to anthropogenic warming. This includes acknowledging that, at this..

Financial Post commentary jumps to unsupported conclusions in claiming “climate change isn’t causing extreme weather”

in Financial Post, by Ross McKitrick

— 13 Jun 2019

"This article is misleading since it confuses changes in climate change impacts with changes in climate and weather extremes and it subjectively selects examples that support its m..

Claim that human civilization could end in 30 years is speculative, not supported with evidence

in IFLScience, by James Felton

— 09 Jun 2019

"The report this article is based on describes a scenario which is unlikely, but several aspects of what is included in the report are likely to worsen in coming decades, such as t..

Commentary in The Australian by Ian Plimer relies on false claims to make its case

in The Australian, by Ian Plimer

— 20 May 2019

"If you think that potentially causing hundreds of millions of refugees and trillions of dollars in damages is fine because some plants did well in the same conditions millions of ..

Breitbart article baselessly claims a study of past climate invalidates human-caused climate change

in Breitbart, by John Nolte

— 11 Apr 2019

"By the reasoning of this article, if a rock rolled down a hill three million years ago, no human can be responsible for rolling a rock down a hill today. The fallaciousness of thi..

Western Journal op-ed deceives readers with completely unsupported claims

in The Western Journal, by Jay Lehr, Tom Harris

— 26 Feb 2019

"What would make their case stronger would be if they actually analysed all the data, engaged with the existing scientific literature and made their own contribution to our scienti..

CLAIM REVIEWS

2°C is not known to be a “point of no return”, as Jonathan Franzen claims

CLAIM
"The consensus among scientists and policy-makers is that we’ll pass this point of no return if the global mean temperature rises by more than two degrees Celsius"

SOURCE: Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker

Published: 17 Sep 2019

VERDICT

There is overwhelming evidence that current climate change is significantly caused by human carbon emissions contrary to claim in Townhall

CLAIM
"Human-produced carbon might be one of the factors [of climate change], but there’s simply no evidence that it is a significant one."

SOURCE: Kurt Schlichter, Townhall

Published: 11 Sep 2019

VERDICT

Claim that the Earth has cooled since Medieval or Roman times is contradicted by available data

CLAIM
"Peer-reviewed studies, geologic records, and all the studies have shown that we have actually cooled since the Roman Warming Period, and likely since the Medieval Warming Period."

SOURCE: Marc Morano, TFP Student Action

Published: 09 Sep 2019

VERDICT

Claim of no US warming since 2005 is directly contradicted by the data it is based on

CLAIM
"the U.S. Climate Reference Network[...] finds there has been no warming for the past 14 years at least"

SOURCE: James Taylor, John Hinderaker, WND, Powerlineblog, Real Clear Energy

Published: 06 Sep 2019

VERDICT

Earth’s orbit cannot explain modern climate change

CLAIM
"changes in the solar orbit of the earth, along with alterations to the earth’s axial tilt, are both responsible for what climate scientists today have dubbed as “warming”[...]. In no way, shape, or form are humans warming or cooling the planet"

SOURCE: Ethan Huff, Natural News

Published: 03 Sep 2019

VERDICT

Prediction by Extinction Rebellion’s Roger Hallam that climate change will kill 6 billion people by 2100 is unsupported

CLAIM
"I am talking about the slaughter, death, and starvation of 6 billion people this century—that's what the science predicts."

SOURCE: Roger Hallam, BBC News

Published: 22 Aug 2019

VERDICT

Rick Perry’s claim that US is “leading the world” in emission cuts is misleading

CLAIM
"I think about all the 194 [countries] that signed onto the Paris accord, the U.S. is the one that's leading the world in reducing emissions"

SOURCE: Rick Perry, Fox News

Published: 20 Aug 2019

VERDICT

CO2 caused warming during past climate changes, notably as a feedback amplifying other factors

CLAIM
"CO2 does not cause climate change, it RESPONDS to it [...] temperature always changes first, and CO2 follows"

SOURCE: Robert W. Felix, William Happer, Ice Age Now

Published: 14 Aug 2019

VERDICT

Claim that cosmic rays are a crucial player for current climate change is unsupported

CLAIM
"Based on the increase of solar activity during the twentieth century, it should account for between half to two-thirds of all climate change"

SOURCE: Cap Allon, Nir Shaviv, Electroverse

Published: 13 Aug 2019

VERDICT

Express article falsely warns of a solar-induced “ice age”

CLAIM
"The current solar minimum could last for more than three decades which could lead to temperatures plummeting across the globe, scientists have warned."

SOURCE: Sean Martin, Express

Published: 06 Aug 2019

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 ...