Tony at Harmless Sky has noticed that the BBC has published a correction to Professor Steve Jones' report on scientific impartiality at the BBC. It seems that remarks apparently attributed by Professor Jones to Lords Lawson and Monckton never passed the two peers' lips.
With the false attribution removed, Professor Jones is in the awkward position of not actually attributing the remarks at all.
He wouldn't survive for ten minutes in the blogosphere with citation standards like that.
However, I did some digging. The disputed remarks relate to a claim that "95% of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from natural sources". The original report says that they were made, apparently by Lawson, in an edition of the Daily Politics in February 2011. However, I was unable to find anyone making those particular comments during February.
Fortunately, Tony noticed that in the revised version of the report the date had been changed to March 2011, and we were subsequently able to identify the source of a piece by Johnny Ball that many readers will remember. In it Ball says
Only 4% of what goes into the atmosphere is put there by man, and the rest is completely natural. (Yes, but the problem may be the cumulative effect, not the annual fraction).
I think we can agree that this is true, but not all of the story; some correction and criticism is therefore justified and we can see how Jones does this in his report:
Jones: "... in fact human activity has been responsible for a 40% rise in concentration"
This is possible, but not proven. As Prof Salby pointed out the other day, there is a case to be made that the temperature rises are causing the carbon dioxide increases and not the other way round.
But even if we accept that the rise is all caused by man, it is instructive to observe the outrage with which Prof Jones greets a true (but incomplete) statement from Johnny Ball and then note his silence on say the Horizon programme in which incorrect statements were made about the relative contributions of mankind and volcanos to the atmosphere.
Ah, but Paul Nurse and Bob Bindschadler represent the majority view, don't they?