Friday, 19 June 2015

Climate Double Fail At The Daily Telegraph

I know I shouldn't but I can't help it.  I look at the website of the Daily Telegraph, once a paper of record, now one with a record they wouldn't really want to look back on.  I don't know what has happened to the science staff but there are some unscientific folk inhabiting the world of the opinion pages.

Yesterday, Julia Hartley-Brewer nailed some colours to the mast with her opinion of the Pope's opinion on climate change.  She doesn't want the Pope telling her what to do, oh, no.  Here is her tawdry effort.  I'm not a fan of the Pope and I agree with Lawrence Krauss, Steven Pinker and Jerry Coyne that he missed some tricks but, kudos to the man, he got it right on climate change.  Time to do something about it.

But Julia doesn't see it that way and although she skirts the issue of whether there is a scientific case for global warming, she doesn't seem to understand what her fingers are typing:
Whether you are a card-carrying eco-alarmist who worries daily about your carbon footprint or whether you are Jeremy Clarkson, what the Pope has to say about humans tackling climate change as a moral issue is about as relevant as Kim Kardashian’s views on the future of the eurozone.
The editor liked that paragraph so much, it got pulled to create the little teaser thing at the top of the article.  But the problem is, the Pope does the morals thing.  It's his job.  It's what those millions of Catholics look to him for and if he wasn't saying something about climate change morals he would be saying something else moralistic. 

And to dip a toe in the comments is to spot those that realised the article was poor - long on a personal opinion, short on real thought - and those that crawl like ants from under a log when the pheromone of climate change is on a comment thread just waiting for the hive mentality to strike.

Today, Fraser Nelson, once of the right wing Spectator magazine, has an op-ed opining on how the ruling Conservative party can out intellectualise the defeated and disarrayed opposition Labour party on the subject of climate policy.  You can read what he wrote here.  You know how poor the science in the article is when it links to one of Christopher Booker's pisspoor misrepresentations about homogenisation of the temperature data.  If Nelson thinks Booker is worthy of his attention then he scraped a mighty empty barrel to find him. But perhaps the potty peer Lord Monckton is just too toxic (or more likely too unknown) for a family newspaper to read over their boiled egg and toasty soldiers.

Nelson has form.  While editor of the Spectator he hosted an article puffing Ian Plimer, written by noted interpreter of interpretations, Little Jimmy Delingpole.  In 2012 Carbon Brief took him apart for some claims he made following the Olympics in London related to energy consumption and climate change.  But it's all right because, actually, Nelson does agree that humans are causing the climate to change, the planet to warm up and, you know, the rest.  Simon Singh spotted the smoking tweet.

Not that actually Nelson isn't mouldable.  I detect a whiff of hypocrisy, to claim you do believe in human caused climate change, then hang around with your mates from Nigel Lawson's phoney education charity, the GWPF.  They are hosting the tatty Telegraph article.

So bottom of the class this week is the Daily Telegraph.  They could have been so right on this and they let two of their writers get it so wrong.  The Pope was more right than the two of them.  Who would have thought that?  But then the Pope did actually do some work in a chemistry lab and perhaps knows a thing or two about physical science.  Ms Hartley-Brewer did PPE at Oxford and Mr Nelson did History and Politics at Glasgow.  I don't know if either of them encountered the history of science but had they done so, they might have heard some names, like Tyndall and Arrhenius, scientists of a different age who demonstrated what the deniers so often ignore.  This is a physics problem and it was solved before your mother was born, though she was born a long, long time ago.

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