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A Small Victory

August 7, 2013

By Paul Homewood


Readers may recall that I complained to the UK Press Complaints Commission in June, following the Telegraph’s article “Ed Davey attacks papers who report ‘destructive’ climate sceptics”.

The article included the statement

One recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent of those stating a position on the cause of global warming agree human activities are causing the planet to warm.

I complained that, of the 11944 papers surveyed, only 32.6% endorsed AGW.


As a result of my complaint, the Telegraph have now issued a “clarification”, which states:-


Clarification: When this article was first posted it said that the survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change had found that 97 per cent agreed human activities were causing the planet to warm. In fact, the survey – into the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), ie warming caused by humans – found that 97.1 per cent of the abstracts of papers stating a position on global warming agreed human activities were causing it; 1.9 per cent that stated a position rejected human activity as the cause of warming and 1.0 per cent that stated a position were uncertain. The survey found that of all the abstracts analysed, 66.4 per cent did not actually state a position on AGW; citing two previous studies, the authors of the survey said that this was to be expected because the fundamental science of AGW was no longer controversial and the remaining debate had moved on to topics about which there were still unanswered questions. We are happy to make this clear.

It is, of course, too late to make any difference for anyone who read the article in the first place. Nevertheless, a marker has been laid down, and hopefully the Telegraph will make sure that the correct information will be published in future.

If anybody spots the original misleading statement being made again in future, please either complain to the PCC, or let me know.

Incidentally, a similar complaint against the Daily Mail, which used almost exact same wording, is still being pursued by the PCC.


The clarification can be seen here.

  1. Ray permalink
    August 7, 2013 12:39 pm

    Yes, those who read the original article are unlikely to go back and read the clarification.
    Was this article published in the actual Daily Telegraph, and if so, is the “clarification” going to be printed in it?
    Of course, if it is, it should be given equal prominence, but it probably won’t be.

    Anyway, well done for achieving this small victory and keep up the good work!

  2. roger permalink
    August 7, 2013 1:20 pm

    A clarification that from it’s tenor, could easily have been penned by Geoffrey Lean and certainly not by Christopher Booker.
    A middle of the road version would have been acceptable, but yet again the DT adds further justification to my cancellation after 56 years of a paper completely in the pocket of the Carbon Trust and it’s other big green advertisers.

  3. Coldish permalink
    August 7, 2013 4:12 pm

    Your efforts are much appreciated. A pity the newspaper could not also have pointed out that a large proportion of the papers included in the study were written by people with expertise in fields other than climate science.

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