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Blimey! This whole climate change issue is so political – you have to be very careful what you say.

Climate scientists, especially, are being quoted out of context, or even misquoted. Remember the distortion of Phil Jones’ comment on the increase in global temperature in the last decade not being statistically significant?

I guess that’s the nature of a political mind set which wishes to find evidence (or distort evidence) to support a preconceived position. Rather than derive a conclusions from the facts. (I might start calling that the “theological” method).

Mike Hulme

The Deep Climate blog discussed a recent distortion of a quote from Mike Hulme, professor of Climate Change in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA). This was just a warning that it was counterproductive to make excessive claims of consensus. The IPCC reviews of the literature on climate change draws conclusions about the overall picture but this does not mean that every single statement in these reports is signed off by every single author of the papers reviewed, or every single reviewer. (The quote is in his review paper Climate Change: what do we know about the IPCC?)

Seems a quite reasonable comment to me.

But climate deniers have latched on to his comments, taken out of context, to produce headlines like The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider. This from Lawrence Solomon - executive director of a right-wing, anti-science group Energy probe. He uses the out of context quote to argue that scientific claims of human caused global warming are supported by only a few dozen experts.

And the denier echo chamber took over. Twitter deniers rapidly reproduced ther claim with tweets like “The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider’ Mike Hulme; U of East Anglia”; “That’s big! A prominent IPCC member says there is no general agreement on whether global warming exists”; and “The IPCC consensus on climate change was phoney, says IPCC insider.” The bloggers got onto it. For example Gateway Pundits, another Conservative US blog, declared: Top UN Scientist: There Never Was Consensus on Global Warming — Only a Few Dozen Believed It.

It even got to New Zealand. The local blog Not PC trumpeted Only a few dozen’ IPCC ’experts’ support their so-called consensus! And Richard Treadgold at the Climate Conversation Group breathlessly exclaimed:

“This is as stunning as the release of the CRU emails and I think it will prove just as disastrous to the case for dangerous AGW. We want this news spread quickly around the country, and I don’t think we can count on the MSM helping us!”

Of course, none of these twitterers or bloggers bothered to check out the article from which the quotes were taken. Bugger the context – they had their story.

Unfortunately for them Mike Hulme responded with a statement “correcting misleading newspaper and internet blog reports of the Hulme and Mahoney paper on the IPPC.” (see ). He says in this:

“I did not say the ‘IPCC misleads’ anyone — it is claims that are made by other commentators, such as the caricatured claim I offer in the paper, that have the potential to mislead.”

He also makes clear that his comments on consensus claims are relevant to situations like sea level rise where many think the IPCC reports are too conservative.

Mike has further clarified his comments with another statement. he makes clear his crticisms were not of the IPCC and states:

“for the record … I believe that the warming of the climate system is unequivocal and that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid 20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”

And that is the IPCC position.

I guess it’s too much to ask that Richard Treadgold and Not PC apologise for their inaccurate reporting? Yeah, right.

See also:

The Much Maligned Mike Hulme
Mike Hulme says Lawrence Solomon story was phoney

Thanks to Deep Climate: Mike Hulme sets Solomon and Morano straight

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