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Bob Ward Complains To IPSO–And Loses!

August 15, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

Readers will probably recall the following Booker piece from last January:

 

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One of Shakespeare’s persistent themes in Hamlet is that when people set out to fool others, it will eventually catch up with them. Repeatedly he emphasises that “purposes mistook fall on their inventors’ heads”, that such people end up “hoist with their own petard”, or get caught like a “woodcock” in their own trap.

There was a delightful example of this on our letters page last week, when that well-known propagandist for global warming, Bob Ward, tried to challenge what I had written about the recent series of unusually cold winters in North America.

The winters of 2007-08 and 2013-14, which Mr Booker highlights as particularly cold, were respectively only the 68th and 33rd coldest since records began in 1901. The mean temperature for the US in December 2017 was above average.Bob Ward, letters

Mr Ward is employed by the Grantham Institute at the London School of Economics, sponsored by a climate change-obsessed billionaire, and challenges anyone who publicly questions global warming orthodoxy. His point last week was to claim that, contrary to what I had written, recent US winters have not been unusually cold at all.

But the only evidence he could cite to support his point was the latest figures from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), suggesting that seven out of the past 10 US winters have in fact been “warmer than average”.

What Mr Ward has not said here is that, in a way which has aroused widespread suspicion, NOAA’s figures have lately been significantly “adjusted”, to suggest that several famously severe recent winters, such as those in 2008 and 2014, were not unusually cold by the standards of the 20th century.

Several expert bloggers have been analysing the surprising picture given by NOAA’s new figures, as in a post by Paul Homewood on his blog Notalotofpeopleknowthat headed “US cold winters mysteriously disappear”. Indeed, this is only the latest in a whole series of similarly suspect adjustments made to official US temperature figures in recent years, which I have described as one of the greatest scientific scandals of all time.

Even odder in this instance, however, was the way Mr Ward failed to mention the continuing stream of academic papers and other interventions by scientists on his own side of the argument trying to explain how these freezing US winters are in fact further proof of global warming.

Their theory, as I mentioned in the item Mr Ward objected to, is that a warming Arctic is pushing the jet stream further south, to grip North America in a swirling “polar vortex” of sub-zero air, snow and ice. All of these papers are predicated on the claim that recent US winters have indeed been exceptionally cold.

Mr Ward may happily ignore all this, preferring to rest his case only on those questionable NOAA figures. But what makes it indeed delightful is that the warmists themselves have now come up with two wholly contradictory ways to explain why the runaway global warming in which they all believe should repeatedly be giving the people of North America such a horribly cold time. Only one of them pretends that this isn’t really happening at all.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2018/01/20/global-warming-theorists-tripping-explain-americas-cold-winters/

 

Bob Ward took umbrage to this and decided to complain to IPSO, the Press Regulator, firing off a typically long winded, rambling and inchoate multipage letter.

Ward was particularly vexed that Booker should listen to a “mere blogger”, rather than NOAA or the Met Office! But his ramble boiled down to just two simple points, which he claimed had been inaccurately reported:

1) Some recent US winters had been exceptionally cold.

2) NOAA’s official temperature record had been adjusted with the effect of making recent years appear milder than the actual record suggested.

 

After being requested to help, I strongly advised the Telegraph to ignore most of Ward’s rant, which simply muddied the waters, and instead focus on those two issues.

It was easy to show that both of Booker’s claims were accurate, as I myself had shown in a series of posts around the time. I submitted a suggested a draft response to the Telegraph, based on these posts.

 

IPSO have subsequently considered Ward’s complaint and firmly rejected it. Below are their findings:

 

Findings of the Committee

17. Clause 1 does not prevent a newspaper from publishing controversial opinions on topics which continue to be divisive, such as the existence or impact of climate change. Newspapers are entitled to publish opinions on such topics, and communicate this information in an accessible way, provided that it takes care not to do so in an inaccurate or misleading way.

18. The newspaper provided a number of examples of coverage, from both within and outside of the scientific community, which commented on the cold weather which had affected areas of North America over recent winters, including the winters of 2008 and 2014. The columnist was entitled to rely on this coverage to form the basis for their claim that recent winters in North America had been unusually cold and there was no failure to take care over the accuracy by doing so. The complainant had argued that winter temperatures should be determined by considering seasonal mean temperatures over a three month period using data from a specific landmass. However, in the context of an opinion piece within a publication for general public consumption, the Committee did not establish that readers would have been misled in a significant way, where it was a matter of public record that areas of North America had experienced periods of extreme cold weather over recent winter months. There was no breach of Clause 1 on this point.

19. It was a matter of public record that “adjustments” had been made by NOAA on raw climate data to take into account differences in how, when and where these measurements had been taken; it was not in dispute that some of these adjustments had resulted in the temperature measurements from weather stations to increase. The columnist had questioned whether it was appropriate for the adjustments to have been made on the raw data; they did not comment further on why these adjustments had been made, nor did they interrogate the validity of the corrective action which had been taken by NOAA. The columnist had commented that the adjustments were “suspect” and “questionable”. The complainant strongly disagreed. However, this was an opinion which the columnist was entitled to express and he did not state that raw climate data had been tampered with by NOAA, as suggested by the complainant.

20. The columnist was entitled to reflect critically on the corrective adjustments which NOAA had made to raw data records, in circumstances where it was a matter of public record that some of these adjustments had resulted in temperature measurements from some weather stations being increased. The Committee did not establish that the columnist’s discussion of these adjustments represented a failure to take over the accuracy of the article, nor did it establish that the columnist’s discussion of this issue was significantly misleading or inaccurate, such as to require correction. There was no breach of the Code.

Conclusions

21. The complaint was not upheld.

https://www.ipso.co.uk/rulings-and-resolution-statements/ruling/?id=01570-18

 

[IPSO’s verdict was published in May, but could not be reported on while there was a chance of an appeal from Ward]

 

In simple terms, IPSO found that both of Booker’s claims were essentially correct, that there had been some exceptionally cold winters in the US, and that NOAA’s temperature record had been adjusted.

Ward is, of course, paid to clamp down on any dissent from the global warming party line; that is his job. I have now been involved in rebutting at least four of these sort of spurious complaints from Ward, Richard Black and others. On each occasion, they have gone away with their tail between their legs.

However, their objective is to discourage in the first place articles which question global warming dogma. While they are paid to write long rambling complaints, journalists and editors have better things to do.

You may also have noticed how often the likes of Bob Ward get to have letters printed in the press. Editors find it easier to do this than spend time fighting a complaint.

It is worth comparing this situation with the BBC, who regularly and blatantly publish fake climate claims, without fear of any comeback.

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38 Comments
  1. Dave Ward permalink
    August 15, 2018 10:20 am

    Well done, Paul. Keep blinding them with facts.

    • Joe Public permalink
      August 15, 2018 6:56 pm

      Bob Ward’s formal response:

  2. BLACK PEARL permalink
    August 15, 2018 10:23 am

    Wow … nice job But when will all this time & money wasting crap come to and end ?

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 15, 2018 1:43 pm

      When people stop making money out of it – the majority of which comes from governments wasting taxpayer cash or imposing legislation that costs business and ordinary people money.

    • Up2snuff permalink
      August 15, 2018 2:30 pm

      BP, “But when will all this time & money wasting crap come to an end ?”

      Almost certainly never. If governments, say in the UK & US, brought it to an end they would be open to all sorts of law suits and social problems, including job losses in the many ‘Green’ charities and consultancies that have sprung up in the last twenty-five years or so or have massively grown their operations on the back of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and Climate Change (CC) predictions and policy.

      It was notable that the latest ‘research’ revealed in our media last week, pushed the ‘Hothouse Earth’ idea back out of this century and into two, three or four centuries hence. I expect future ‘research’ to back up that while keeping the threat of so-called CC hovering over us in the meantime.

      Is it not correct that to have a legal claim against anyone, let alone a government, you have to be alive to do it or have authorised your Executor(s) to pursue the claim on your behalf when dead? There is a natural time limitation, there, to claims and liability on AGW & CC.

  3. Ian Magness permalink
    August 15, 2018 10:26 am

    Two issues raised here – ie climate statistics being doctored and the shameless way in which AGW proponents have flipped the memes from “global warming” to “climate change” involving “unprecedented”, “extreme” weather of all types including cold – in my opinion are crucial to any discussion about why deniers deny and are justified in doing so. Yet, whilst we are seeing constant, biased MSM discussion of “hothouse earth” after the first really decent summer in many years, we see no coverage whatsoever of these strong, opposing arguments. Further, issues such as the Booker complaint and its dismissal are just effectively buried for all but the confirmed sceptics who read sites such as this. Given that the average person in the street has no capability of doing his/her own scientific and statistical research, nor will ever read sites like this or WUWT, we must rely on the MSM and indeed our politicians to present the arguments in a fair way to the public at large and develop policy accordingly. I am convinced that, in the final analysis, all the facts will out and we deniers will win. Just how long, however, will this take? At the present rate of progress, the answer may well be “generations”. I just hope we can speed things up!

    • dennisambler permalink
      August 15, 2018 12:20 pm

      why deniers deny and are justified in doing so

      I consider myself a rejecter…

      • Sheri permalink
        August 15, 2018 2:30 pm

        I like that term. May I use it?

      • Ian Magness permalink
        August 15, 2018 2:35 pm

        I quite like being labelled a denier. Let the AGW fanatics use grossly offensive terms whilst we stay polite. It’s the Rees-Mogg approach and it has much to commend it.
        Actually, “literally”, I’m an acceptor. I accept the null hypothesis that there is bugger all relationship between CO2 concentration and lower troposphere temperatures. Until the null hypothesis is disproven by rock-solid raw data, I shall continue to accept it.

      • Ian Magness permalink
        August 15, 2018 2:35 pm

        I quite like being labelled a denier. Let the AGW fanatics use grossly offensive terms whilst we stay polite. It’s the Rees-Mogg approach and it has much to commend it.
        Actually, “literally”, I’m an acceptor. I accept the null hypothesis that there is bugger all relationship between CO2 concentration and lower troposphere temperatures. Until the null hypothesis is disproven by rock-solid raw data, I shall continue to accept it.

      • Up2snuff permalink
        August 15, 2018 2:38 pm

        Any relation to Maurice & Eric?

        I like that, too. May I also use it, please? Perhaps we should start a dictionary for NaLoPkT?

      • Nordisch geo-climber permalink
        August 16, 2018 10:28 am

        We are not denying anything real, therefore are not “deniers”.
        We are sceptics and climate realists.
        In the history of science, contrarians have usually been proved right.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 15, 2018 1:45 pm

      Mother Nature has it is hand as the solar minimum approaches and the Little ice Age progresses.

  4. August 15, 2018 10:32 am

    Excellent, but beware of revenge!

  5. August 15, 2018 10:50 am

    Again? Is anyone keeping a count?

    https://cliscep.com/2017/07/28/bob-ward-loses-again/

    • August 15, 2018 12:14 pm

      You would think “quit while you’re ahead” (or in his case “before you fall any further behind”) would come to mind, wouldn’t you?

      Though perhaps Upton Sinclair’s adage is more relevant: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” I wonder if there ever comes a point when IPSO is entitled to brand him a “vexatious litigant” or some equivalent and just ignore him.

      • Gerry, England permalink
        August 15, 2018 1:48 pm

        Why quit when you are being paid to do it? As a geologist – see below – he should know better as they are usually at the far edges of the global warming scam. And weather is outside the scope of geology too but he has ‘prestige’ so gets listened to.

  6. It doesn't add up... permalink
    August 15, 2018 11:19 am

    He has also worked as a freelance science writer and journalist.

    Bob has a first degree in geology and an unfinished PhD thesis on palaeopiezometry.

    So he’s just a mere Press Office hack?

    • dennisambler permalink
      August 15, 2018 12:21 pm

      Yes, but one who should know better.

    • dave permalink
      August 15, 2018 4:01 pm

      “…palaeopizometry…”

      Literally, “the measurement of ancient piss?” This must complement ‘microhistology,’ the study of ancient crap…

      I think I have twenty-eight unfinished PhD theses. Each one took about twenty minutes.

      • Joe Public permalink
        August 15, 2018 6:59 pm

        +1

  7. Bloke down the pub permalink
    August 15, 2018 12:38 pm

    By referring to the three month averages, Ward is presumably claiming that a winter where a month was frozen solid but the rest was quite mild would count as average. He may be right but people will remember the cold bit, not the mild.

    • Gerry, England permalink
      August 15, 2018 1:49 pm

      Remember – a couple of warm days is a heatwave and proof of global warming. Cold weather – even weeks of it – are just a ‘cold snap’ and mean nothing unless it can be used as proof of global warming.

  8. August 15, 2018 12:50 pm

    Once more, I will state that in the late 1960’s, I used data from NOAA in the temperature data in my MA thesis, “The Flora of Alder Run Bog, Tucker County, West Virginia.” The station was near this high elevation (ca. 3800′) bog on the Eastern Divide on the Allegheny Mountains at Stony River.

    At this point in time, I would not recommend that anyone doing scientific research requiring climate data, use anything from NOAA. They have made themselves reliably unreliable. These are serious problems with which the scientific community has burdened itself. In the past, the personal integrity of scientists striving to be as accurate as possible left a clear trail of their methods for scrutiny by others of the scientific community and the public.

    I live in northern West Virginia (Morgantown) just 8 miles south of the Mason-Dixon line.
    During the past decade we have had several winters when temperatures remained in the single digits or even dropped below zero for days at at time. This is unusual, but certainly not unheard of for this area. I am aware of it as I have a specimen of “Franklinia alatama” the Franklin tree in the Theaceae (tea family). Originally, it was found along the Altamaha River in Georgia in the 1760’s-1770’s by the Bartrams (father and son) from Philadelphia who named it for their friend, Benjamin Franklin. Never found again after 1803, we have it as clones from the Bartram’s garden. During these cold winter spells, I would check the buds on my Franklinia to see if they were still supple and thus alive. They were in spite of more than a week at a time of single digit or zero temperatures.

    As a note to those with botanical interests, when you “misspell” part of a scientific name during publication……tough rocks. It stays as published. That is why Franklinia is alatamaha and not Altamaha for the river along which it was found. Also, I have recently read that some taxonomists now believe that Franklinia was actually a northern species which went back and forth during the glacial-interglacial episodes and ended up in Georgia as its last stand. It may have succumbed to a fungus brought in on cotton when the plantations were created in that area of Georgia. Thanks to John and William Bartram, we have this beautiful plant which still grows in their Philadelphia garden. A graduate student colleague from the 1960’s at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dr. John Bozeman, was from Georgia. A number of years ago, I was on a field trip to Georgia following meetings, with John and his historian friend George Rogers. They told of their attempt over decades to find Franklinia by looking at maps of Georgia for locations with the right climate and soils. They then visited each place searching for the illusive Franklin tree but never found it.

    • August 15, 2018 12:55 pm

      Well, durn. I misspelled it myself. That would be “Franklinia alatamaha” instead of “alatama” in the first reference.

      As a note to “Bloke down the pub”, plants DO NOT care about the “average” temperatures. It is the high and low which are the determining factors for them.

      • Sheri permalink
        August 15, 2018 2:34 pm

        To be completely honest, the only people that seem to care about average temperatures are the climate people and people who have no idea what an average is.

  9. August 15, 2018 1:32 pm

    IPSO found that both of Booker’s claims were essentially correct

    Hence the term ‘ipso facto’ 😉

    • dave permalink
      August 15, 2018 4:08 pm

      “…people who have no idea what an average is…”

      Most people do have an idea what an average is: their idea happens – quite often – to be plain wrong.

  10. August 15, 2018 1:53 pm

    Well done Paul. Keep up the good work – persistence is required.

    People like “fast fingers” Bob Ward need putting down at every opportunity as they do their best to try and silence people like Christopher Booker and James Delingpole by saying they are not scientists. But they do listen to real scientists and can tell the difference between good science and “official climate science”.

  11. MrGrimNasty permalink
    August 15, 2018 1:55 pm

    Keep up the good fight.

    Meanwhile there were 3 articles from the climate propaganda machine in the D.Mail today.

    Russia militarizing Arctic – because it’s all melting.
    Yet another twist on the fake air pollution scare – babies lower so ‘suffer’ more.
    It’s odds on that the global heatwave will continue until 2022 model says.

    Yawn.

  12. roger permalink
    August 15, 2018 1:58 pm

    It is the high and low which are the determining factors for them.
    Logical and therefore beyond the comprehension of watermelons.

  13. Athelstan permalink
    August 15, 2018 4:27 pm

    What happy and joyous occasion, at the climate advocacy its cirque de macabre.

    Come cheer it, someone cut the strings off the dancing green clown and marionette!

    Exclaim it his dreadful prattle and cavorting is stilled, even more puce faced is it possible for him to be – what is his boss, mr punch going to do?

  14. Bitter@twisted permalink
    August 15, 2018 5:16 pm

    What exactly are Ward’s qualifications?
    A failed PhD?

    • ThinkingScientist permalink
      August 16, 2018 1:34 pm

      Bob Ward saying he has an “unfinished PhD” is intended to make it look like he “almost” got a PhD. It inflates his qualifications to PhD without actually going to the trouble of submitting a thesis and the whole inconvenient process of defending it etc. I could write up some notes and then make the same claim. It really should be challenged – it implies he would have a PhD if only he had submitted it. He should be addressed as Bob Ward, BSc. That’s it.

      By the way, I have an unfinished career as both a film star and as a professional footballer. I also have an unfinished PhD in Climate Science, when I get around to writing up all the data analysis I have been on for the last 15 years.

  15. Joe Public permalink
    August 15, 2018 6:50 pm

  16. manicbeancounter permalink
    August 15, 2018 9:09 pm

    Bob Ward will keep coming back. The strategy appears to be to make it hugely costly for any newspaper to challenge climate ideology.
    The only comfort is that it demonstrates alarmists cannot win on a level playing field, so they the use effort to nobble valid criticism, including creating prejudice against opponents.

  17. August 16, 2018 2:32 pm

    Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:
    And the debate continues….

  18. August 19, 2018 12:16 pm

    12pm LBC News report : Bob Ward just popped up to say
    ..’ooh drought scary, scary, be smart about water use’

    … It is of course raining outside and the cut wheat field field outside is already about 7+ inches of lush green growth, as the past few weeks haven’t been particularly dry.

    Nothing on Twitter about him and water
    The last Guardian article was
    \\ Houses are being built today that will become ovens in future. @ret_ward on how the global housing affordability crisis and inadequate regulation may have deadly results //

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