We’ve been subjected to another fatuous ‘fact check’ attack from Reuters, this time stating that the Daily Sceptic was responsible for “misleading” claims circulating on social media that the average U.K. temperature had not increased over the last two decades. Just one small problem. The fact check actually concedes the point we are making, then sets up a strawman by making a different point – that temperatures in the last 20 years are a high in the last 150 years, something we never disputed. And it calls us misleading.
Reuters you should be better than this.
On June 20th, we reported that there had been no change in average U.K. temperatures for more than two decades. The story was based on Paul Homewood’s annual U.K. weather report and was published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Homewood noted that, based on the Met Office’s own statistics, the average temperature for the decade 1998-2007 was the same as the current 10-year running average – both coming in at 9.4°C. At this point, we added to the story by suggesting that that Homewood could also have observed that with an average temperature of 9.17°C, the 2010s were cooler than the 2000s, with an average temperature of 9.31°C. From these figures and trends it is fair to argue the point, as we have done on numerous occasions, that atmospheric warming has run out of steam over the last 25 years. The largest global heat boost occurred in 2016 at a time of a very powerful natural El Niño oscillation, and there has not been much extra warming either before or since. In fact, on a global level, according to accurate satellite data, the temperature has paused for the last nine years.
Reuters has asked the Met Office’s Chief Press Officer Grahame Madge to provide the obligatory gotcha quote: “The Met Office’s preferred smoothing pattern for the U.K. temperature series clearly shows warming over the last two decades.”
However, the gotcha backfires when Madge then admits that it’s all about the chosen ‘smoothing pattern’: “The alternative smoothing method for the data, used for a graph published in the blog, doesn’t replicate precisely the same trend,” Madge added.
So, having conceded the main point, Madge (and Reuters) deftly switch to a completely different point: “Regardless of the method, however, both show ‘considerable warming’ since 1884 and that ‘the most recent two decades are clearly much warmer than the rest of the series’, [Madge] says.”
Right, the last two decades are the warmest since the end of the Little Ice Age in the 19th Century. We’ve never disputed that. Quite what it has to do with the claim at issue – that temperatures haven’t risen over the last 20 years – is anyone’s guess.
The Reuters attack is muddled across all fronts. At one point we are accused of inferring that the latest annual 10-year average is still no higher than between 1998 and 2007. Note the use of the weasel word “infer” to describe actual figures taken from data published by the Met Office.
Meanwhile, Madge goes on to note that “the U.K. record 40.3°C temperature of last year (Lincolnshire) would not have been feasible in the atmosphere prior to the industrial revolution”. It is interesting to learn that the specific location half way down the runway at RAF Coningsby has now been widened to embrace the entire county of Lincolnshire. The Met Office gets it half right. Pre-industrial humans didn’t have three Typhoon jets at their disposal able to land next to a measuring device recording a 60-second heat spike. On the wider point about past temperatures he is wrong, or at least his claim is not backed by any scientific data or proof.
On a broader front, why is Reuters along with numerous other mainstream media publications targeting online news publishers with these often inaccurate fact checks? A recent anti-trust action launched in the U.S. suggests a number of explanations. Reuters, the BBC and many other big media companies around the world have been accused of suppressing “wholly accurate and legitimate reporting” to further their economic interests via the Trusted News Initiative (TNI), a joint project designed to suppress supposedly harmful misinformation and disinformation.
As Robert Kennedy Jr. said in a law suit brought against the TNI: “Every news company has the right to decide for itself what to publish, but they have no right to combine together to restrict what their rivals can publish.”
Last February, the Daily Sceptic published an article by Neil Winton in which he noted the debate about climate change was far from over. If we are going to give up our civilisation, at the very least we ought to have an open debate. “Journalists need to stand up and be counted,” he said. “The trouble is that requires bravery and energy, and an urge to question conventional wisdom.” Neil Winton worked for 32 years at Reuters, at times covering climate science as global science and technology correspondent.
Winton was particular aggrieved at the agency’s partnership with Covering Climate Now (CC Now), a green, billionaire-funded activist group feeding Net Zero-inspired climate narratives to over 500 media outlets. The CC Now founders seek a “reframing” of the way journalists cover climate change. There is advice for journalists starting out on their climate catastrophe career – “you can’t do better than the Guardian”. In other words, the Guardian is the perfect outlet for the amplification of the invented climate emergency, and the denial and cancellation of any inconvenient science.
In Winton’s view, arising from a lifetime of professional service at Reuters, the involvement of his old company in CC Now “seems to me to be in direct contradiction of three of its 10 Hallmarks of Reuters Journalism – Hold Accuracy Sacrosanct, Seek Fair Comment, Strive for Balance and Freedom From Bias”.
Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.
Stop Press: Paul Homewood has written a piece for TCW Defending Freedom in which he takes aim at the climate scaremongering surrounding the recent heatwave in continental Europe. As he says, temperatures in Europe this month won’t reach anywhere near record levels.