I intended to publish a post today listing a series of problems with the Berkeley Earth temperature record. I had said I would, but a different matter is more pressing. You may have heard about a lawsuit where Andrew Weaver sued the National Post for libel and won. I discussed it a bit just a few posts back. In that post, I was highly critical of some of what has been said at Climate Audit about this lawsuit. That position caused one commenter, JD Ohio, to ask:
Could you now explain the most fundamental basic reasons that you feel that the National Post harmed Weaver in a meaningful way. I originally asked you for the three most inaccurate statements that defamed Weaver and led you to have a negative opinion of him, but you can use whatever method you wish to identify important, practical ways in which Weaver was harmed. (If you choose to answer my question.)
I don't think anyone was waiting for my post on the BEST issues so it seems like it might be better to respond to this direct question about my views. This is especially true since JD Ohio later said (amongst other things):
Personally, I think that Weaver is a hypocritical, reprehensible, vindictive putz who is a predatory litigator.
And then refused to provide any justification for his remarks on the grounds he felt the issue shouldn't be discussed in that location. I'm not sure why it would be okay to make his claims there but not okay to discuss the reasons for those claims there, but it seems worth trying to pursue the reasons in a location it would be acceptable to discuss these matters. As such, I'm writing this post to discuss some of the reasons I side with Andrew Weaver and his lawsuit.
A lot of issues were touched on in Weaver's lawsuit. The ruling is fairly lengthy. I'm not going to try to discuss all of it. Instead, I'm going to focus on one way the National Post misrepresented Andrew Weaver in libelous manner.
I may discuss other examples later, but I want to focus on this one because it is the one I find most troubling. Part of the judge's reasoning for awarding Weaver $50,000 in damages was Weaver:
did not say, in a television appearance linking current weather and temperature events with global warming, “when you see these [temperature] numbers, it’s screaming out at you: this is global warming!” Dr. Weaver does not link current temperature events with global warming. None of the words “temperature” or “global warming” can be found in the original quotation from a newspaper article. Dr. Weaver’s statement did not concern a weather event. Instead, he was speaking about “global annual mean temperature” in December 2007
This is a pretty simple matter. Global warming cannot be linked to specific temperature or weather events. People try to do so for propaganda purposes, but it is completely unscientific. Anyone discussing global warming who does so should immediately be viewed with suspicion as either they don't know what they're talking about, or they are being dishonest. This is a point which has been made by critics of global warming alarmists time and time again.
By claiming Weaver went on television and linked specific temperature and weather events, the National Post invited him to be ridiculed for unscientific and/or dishonest behavior. I think it is perfectly reasonable to believe doing so could harm his career. That means it would be libelous if false.
And it is false. It is obviously false. Not only does Weaver not do what the National Post claimed, he does the exact opposite on a regular basis. He's published books, given interviews and written articles which say we cannot link specific temperature and weather events to global warming. Anyone who has done any research on Weaver's position would know this. Instead, the National Post said:
He has also made numerous television appearances linking current weather and temperature events with global warming, painting sensational pictures and dramatic links.
“When you see these [temperature] numbers, it’s screaming out at you: ‘This is global warming!”
Not only is this wrong, the article Weaver was quoted in said:
"Including 2007, seven of the eight warmest years on record have occurred since 2001 and the 10 warmest years have all occurred since 1997," it added. "The global average surface temperature has risen between 0.6°C and 0.7°C since the start of the twentieth century, and the rate of increase since 1976 has been approximately three times faster than the century-scale trend."
"When you see these numbers, it’s screaming out at you, 'This is global warming,'" said climate scientist Andrew Weaver of the University of Victoria in Canada. "It’s the beginning and it’s unequivocal."
That is not linking specific temperature or weather events to global warming. It is linking global warming to temperature rises over 100+ years, temperature trends over 35+ years and temperature records over ~20 years. That is perfectly reasonable, and it is nothing like the National Post claims.
The National Post took this quote out of context, completely misrepresented what it was about and gave a false introduction to the quote, all to paint Andrew Weaver as someone who goes on television to promote unscientific/dishonest propaganda. That is inexcusable and libelous. There is no defense for it.
Or at least, no sensible one. As I pointed out in my previous post, a post at Climate Audit defends the National Post by saying:
In a debate over climate, the 2007 global annual temperature is a “temperature event”. It is deranged to say that Corcoran’s insertion of the explanatory “[temperature]” means that he “changed the quote for his own purposes”.
Which ignores almost the entirety of the misrepresentation. Even worse, it clearly misrepresents what Weaver said as his quote clearly discussed many different numbers, not just the annual temperature of 2007. I can only conclude these misrepresentations happened because the only way to defend the National Post's flagrant and libelous misrepresentation here is to flagrantly misrepresent what the issues at hand were.
I find this example the most troubling because it is so incredibly obvious what the National Post said was wrong, yet not only did they say it, nobody has criticized them for saying it. In fact, when I pointed out how what the National Post said was obviously false and fabricated, I was painted as the bad guy. That means people are defending the National Post's complete and total fabrication which claimed a climate scienist, Andrew Weaver, went on television and promoted unscientific and/or dishonest propaganda.
In my world, it is not okay to fabricate wildly untrue claims to make a person look bad. I'm starting to think that world exists only in my hopes and dreams. It seems anywhere else, it doesn't matter how wrong what you say is if people like it.