Academic takedown
Mar 19, 2014
Bishop Hill in Climate: WG2, Energy: gas, Greens

One of the perennial gripes of the sceptic community is the failure of academics to rebut the wilder eructations of environmentalists. That being the case, it's welcome to see two residents of the ivory tower giving voice to their disdain for recent distortions by our green friends.

First up is Richard Betts, responding in the comments thread to a preposterous article in the Independent, entitled "Official prophecy of doom: Global warming will cause widespread conflict, displace millions of people and devastate the global economy":

I'm one of the authors of the IPCC WG2 report, and I think this article by the Independent is highly irresponsible, especially the headline.

The author of this article has chosen some juicy bits which back up the "climate doom" meme, but ignored other information. The headline writer has then done the same with the original article to come up with the headline of catastrophe.

They've also completely ignored all the important discussion in the report on adaptating to climate change and increasing resilience.

The upshot is a very biased, alarmist headline.

The problem is this then risks damaging the credibility of the report. There's much more to it than the impression given by this article, especially concerning other (non-climate) influences on human health, economies, etc.

Yes, anthropogenic climate change is real and poses major risks, but manufacturing scaremongering headlines by cherry-picking leaked reports is not at all helpful in informing a response to this complex situation.

I strongly encourage readers to read the actual report for themselves, and not rely on journalists who just want to get a scary headline.


And then there's James Verdon, who has been writing about the RSPB report on unconventional oil and gas, and finds all manner of misconduct by the authors:

In addition to the cherry-picking, there is also much in the report that is simply irrelevant to the UK setting, or taken wildly out of context. The induced seismicity section is almost wholly irrelevant, because this is predominantly an issue associated with subsurface re-injection of waste fluids, a practice that will not be conducted in the UK.

There is so much wrong with the report that it's hard to know where to begin.

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