Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Climate change: more misrepresentation from the deniers

Last year, the Heartland Institute (a US climate-change denial thinktank) published a list of 500 scientists they say disagree with the central theses of anthropogenic global warming (that the climate is changing and that it's our fault). Unfortunately, but perhaps as should be expected from an organisation which takes money from the oil and tobacco industries to muddy the waters around threats to their business plans, they were less than honest in their representations of people's views. The five New Zealand scientists listed today took the extraordinary step of issuing a joint press release demanding to be removed:

The five scientists concerned are Associate Professor Chris Hendy (University of Waikato), Dr Matt McGlone (Science Team Leader, Landcare Research), Dr Neville Moar (retired DSIR,), Dr Jim Salinger (Principal Scientist, NIWA) and Dr Peter Wardle (retired DSIR, FRSNZ). Other eminent scientists around the world, also included in the list of 500, have publically distanced themselves from the Heartland statement. While the Heartland Institute is entitled to make what it will of their research, these scientists strongly object to the implication that they support Heartland’s position.

The scientists fully endorse the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as to global warming and its causes. Much of their work has been concerned with climate change over many thousands of years, which, while supporting the idea that climates have fluctuated in the past and have at times been warmer than now, does not in any way weaken the conclusions reached by the IPCC about recent changes.

(Emphasis added)

Given the damage this deliberate misrepresentation could do to their scientific reputations, I'd say they have a pretty good case for defamation.

Greenpeace has reactions from other scientists here.