Climate Depot Editorial – Serving as the Media’s Ombudsman
Washington Post staff writer Juliet Eilperin continues her downward slide as an objective and balanced reporter of climate issues. Eilperin’s September 25, 2009 article titled “New Analysis Brings Dire Forecast Of 6.3-Degree Temperature Increase,” is a journalistic embarrassment.
Earlier this month, Eilperin (publicly available email: [email protected]) did a similarly poor job of reporting on claims of an Arctic “Hockey Stick.” (See: Not Again! WaPo’s Eilperin and Media Promoting Arctic ‘Hockey Stick’ – Claim Temps Warmest in 2000 Years – September 3, 2009)
Eilperin’s latest article once again features discredited political climate activist Robert Corell, without noting Corell’s incorrect scientific claims or his affiliation with the activist Heinz Center, run by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Sen. John Kerry. (For more on Corell, see below. Eilperin also cannot decide on how to spell Corell’s name correctly. Earlier this month, she incorrectly spelled it “Correll” – see here. To contact Washington Post Ombudsman Andrew Alexander about the quality of Eilperin’s reporting, email [email protected])
In her September 25 article on the latest UN climate scare report, Eilperin wrote: “Climate researchers now predict the planet will warm by 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century even if the world’s leaders fulfill their most ambitious climate pledges, a much faster and broader scale of change than forecast just two years ago, according to a report released Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program.” (Note: Other media outlets are also serving as public relations arms of the UN. See: Laughable: UN Report: ‘Damage being caused by climate change…is no longer a matter of debate’ — ‘The science has become more irrevocable than ever’ – Sept. 24, 2009 — Also, AP’s Seth Borenstein delivered his usual pabulum on global warming, complete with extensive quotes from Corell. “Global warming is speeding up,” Borenstein wrote on Sept. 24, 2009. — For a reality check on the latest science, see: ‘Series of inconvenient developments for promoters of man-made global warming fears continue unabated’ – August 25, 2009)
[Update: September 27, 2009: UN Environment Programme uses unreviewed graph from an anonymous Wikipedia author for official report & also see: ‘Embarrassment’: Author of Wikipedia chart ‘politely distanced himself from the graph as the UN story unfolded’]
UN report ‘aimed at marshaling political support’
Eilperin does note the obvious — that this new piece of “global warming research” is “aimed at marshaling political support for a new international climate pact by the end of the year.”
At least she admitted the UN climate report was all about “politics” and not science. But Eilperin then gives what she freely acknowledged is “research” aimed at “marshalling political support” a free ride from any critical scientific counter view in her article.
Eilperin glosses over the fact that this latest UN climate “report” is a strategically timed political document peppered with unproven computer climate models that violate the basic principles of forecasting and that even the UN does not call “predictions.” Simply put, computer model “predictions” or “scenarios” are not “evidence” of a looming climate catastrophe. (See: Climate Depot’s Report Exposing Climate Models & also see: Obama’s ‘Climate Astrologer’: Energy Sec. Chu claims he knows ‘what the future will be 100 years from now’- June 28, 2009)
Eilperin has a history of poor reporting climate models. (See: ‘Juliet Eilperin, The Washington Post-er Child for Climate Bias’ – ‘Eilperin and many other members of the mainstream media so far have been in the tank for global warming – March 13, 2008)
UN presenting ‘best science politics can manufacture’
The fact that the UN is once again presenting the best science politics can manufacture, does not raise a single skeptical journalistic impulse in Eilperin’s reporting. In fact, Eilperin breathlessly reports the new report “highlights the extent to which recent scientific assessments have outstripped the predictions issued by the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2007.” Eilperin should take lessons from New York Times reporter Andrew Revkin’s recent article on the UN. (See: NYT’s Moment of Clarity: UN faces challenge achieving climate treaty ‘when global temps have been stable for a decade and may even drop in next few years’ – September 23, 2009)
The New York Times has also noted how the UN IPCC’s credibility is not what Eilperin seems to believe. (See: NYT’s Moment of Clarity: ‘Nobel Halo Fades Fast for UN IPCC Climate Change Panel’ — ‘It could quickly lose relevance’ – Climatologist: ‘It just feels like the IPCC has gone from being a broker of science to a gatekeeper’ – August 4, 2009)
Why does Eilperin fail to note that a top UN IPCC scientist, Mojib Latif of Kiel University in Germany told a UN conference earlier this month that he is now predicting global cooling for several decades and he admitted he was unsure how much the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) had impacted global temperatures in the past three decades. The New Scientist article reported: “Breaking with climate-change orthodoxy, he said NAO cycles were probably responsible for some of the strong global warming seen in the past three decades. ‘But how much? The jury is still out,’ Latif told the conference. (See: UN Fears (More) Global Cooling Commeth! IPCC Scientist Warns UN: We are about to enter ‘one or even 2 decades during which temps cool’ – Admits ‘Jury is still out’ on ocean cycle’s temp impact!)
Even the New York Times is now recognizing the global cooling possibility. (See: NYT: Missing Its Spots: ‘Sun may be on verge of falling into an extended slumber’ — could cause ‘extended chilly period’ – ‘Cosmic ray levels correlate well with climate extending back thousands of years’ – July 21, 2009 & Also see: ‘Sun Sleeps’: Danish Scientist declares ‘global warming has stopped and a cooling is beginning…enjoy global warming while it lasts’ – Sun is ‘heading towards ‘a grand minimum’ as we saw in Little Ice Age’ – Sept. 11, 2009)
Perhaps Eilperin could do some basic research like the Houston Chronicle’s Science reporter Eric Berger. (See: Media Tipping Point: Houston Chronicle Reporter Reconsiders Science is ‘Settled’ Claims! ‘I am confused. 4 years ago this all seemed like a fait accompli’ – September 6, 2009 – Berger Excerpt: ‘Earth seems to have, at least temporarily, stopped warming’ — ‘If we can’t have confidence in short-term prognosis for climate change, how can we have full confidence in long-term?’)
Eilperin could have followed the excellent reporting of her Washington Post colleague David A. Fahrenthold, who recently did a balanced and objective report on sea level for the paper. (See: Wash. Post reporting makes progress! Article concedes sea level computer model ‘predictions could be flawed or flat wrong’ – June 9, 2009)
If Eilperin was still confused, she could have consulted the Washington Post’s own resident skeptical meteorologist Matt Rogers to help set her reporting straight. (See: Wash. Post’s Own Meteorologist Counters Paper’s Claims! ‘I wince when hearing…science is ‘settled’ — Climate ‘hysteria’ may be ‘another bubble waiting to burst’ – September 10, 2009)
Eilperin could also learn from the BBC, which is also reporting on the new science refuting scary man-made climate claims. (See: BBC’s Richard Black is asking the right questions! ‘Has climate change hijacked the wider environmental agenda?’ – August 27, 2009 & see: BBC’s Moment of Clarity on Climate! ‘4000 years ago, Earth was significantly warmer than it is now’- ‘When excitable climate campaigners claim Greenland’s ice sheet is ‘melting’…it is advisable to take a deep breath and ponder the complexities of the ice’ – July 24, 2009)
‘UN In Desperation Tries To Frighten Political Elites’
The website Climate Cycles Change or “C3 Headlines” website railed on Eilperin’s increasingly embarrassing climate reporting. C3 Headlines September 25, 2009 article was entitled: “UN In Desperation Tries To Frighten Political Elites; Turns To WAPO Reporter To Spread The B.S. – Useful Idiot or Dumber Than A Rock?” C3 Headlines wrote: “While the scientific evidence (not simulated model results) continues to pile up that that the globe faces a global cooling period for next 10 to 30 years, here’s the star ‘science’ reporter of Washington Post repeating non-scientific speculation (‘estimates’) of the world’s leading scaremongers. Just two weeks ago, a top IPCC climate modeler dropped a bombshell and told the world that global warming is kaput. Is she unaware of this, or is she allowing herself to be used by über-alarmists, or is she really just this dumb? Your pick.”
Newsletter for Gore?
Sadly, Eilperin is descending into the level of climate reporting one would expect from a newsletter by former Vice President Al Gore. Eilperin is approaching the consistently shoddy reporting of the likes of Newsweek’s Sharon Begley, Scott Pelley of CBS News, Bill Blakemore of ABC News and AP’s Seth Borenstein. (See: Media Factsheet: Climate Depot Serving as the Media’s Ombudsman – August 21, 2009)
Eilperin clearly needs to broaden her climate research and retool her journalism skills. (Hopefully, any influence of Eilperin’s husband Andrew Light — who bills himself as a climate “specialist” at the man-made global warming fear promoting Center for American Progress — will wane as she realizes that the quality of her reporting is slipping way behind her colleagues. The Center for American Progress is also home to the comical figure Joe Romm) [Update: October 16, 2009: Quin Hillyer, Senior editorial writer at The Washington Times, questions Eilperin’s potential conflict of interest. “I also seriously question the Post leaving her on a beat on which her own husband has such a direct professional interest,” Hillyer wrote. “Eilperin has an obvious APPARENT conflict of interest on it even if she is scrupulously objective. If I were a Post editor, I would move her somewhere else — with a promotion,” Hillyer explained.]
Eilperin’s reporting woes also include
September 2009 has not been a good month for Eilperin’s journalistic credentials. (See: Woeful Wash. Post Reporter Juliet Eilperin claims: ‘As the real-world impacts of climate change begin to materialize…regulation of greenhouse gases appears more likely’ – September 23, 2009)
On September 3, 2009, she wrote a very tepid article the claims of a new Arctic temperature analysis. (See: Not Again! WaPo’s Eilperin and Media Promoting Arctic ‘Hockey Stick’ – Claim Temps Warmest in 2000 Years – September 3, 2009)
Medieval Warm Period Woes
In the September 3, 2009 article on the Arctic, Eilperin claimed — without offering any evidence — that that the “documentation of the Medieval Warm Period is primarily about Europe, and natural records indicate average Arctic temperatures during that time were not as high. There was a brief period in the early fifth century that came close to, but was not quite as warm, as the Arctic’s most recent summer temperatures.”
Eilperin failed to do any basic research before making such a whopper of a claim. The latest research clearly reveals that the Medieval Warm Period (used to be referred to as the Medieval Climate Optimum) has been verified and was in fact global, not just confined to the Northern Hemisphere. The Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change reported in 2009 that the “Medieval Warm Period was: (1) global in extent, (2) at least as warm as, but likely even warmer than, the Current Warm Period, and (3) of a duration significantly longer than that of the Current Warm Period to date.”
In addition, The Science and Public Policy Institute reported in May 2009: “More than 700 scientists from 400 institutions in 40 countries have contributed peer-reviewed papers providing evidence that the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) was real, global, and warmer than the present. And the numbers grow larger daily.”
Discredited Activist Robert Corell Frequently Cited By Eilperin
After promoting the eco-group World Wildlife Fund’s new climate study, the Washington Post’s Eilperin also dug up a scientist with a woeful reputation, Robert Corell, and chooses not to identify his employment with the partisan Heinz Foundation, vice-chaired by Teresa Heinz Kerry, wife of Senator John Kerry (who recently claimed: Global Warming Is The Next 9/11) Eilperin felt compelled to state that Fred Singer was a “skeptic” but the reporter felt no obligation to label any other scientists she cited in the article.
Reporter Eilperin wrote: “Robert Correll, who chairs the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, said the paper in Science will likely ‘in the long haul become a seminal piece in the scientific literature” because it allows other climate researchers “to set their work in a long time scale.’”
Eilperin misspelled Corell’s name as “Correll.” Second, Eilperin could not find the space in her article to note Corell’s affiliation with former Vice President Al Gore or his role in the partisan Heinz Center or the fact that Corell, has been under fire for dubious climate claims. In addition, Corell has been linked to an “affiliate” of a Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm that provides “expert testimony” in trials and he was reportedly sponsored by the activist Packard Foundation.
Robert Corell Publicly Rebuked For Incorrect Climate Claims
Corell was publicly rebuked for incorrect climate claims by a prominent scientist who studies Greenland in 2007. Corell made the assertion that he knew Greenland was being impacted by man-made global warming, stating: “I spent four months on the [Greenland] ice cap in 1968 and there was no melting at all.” Corell did not even attempt to give a balanced historical view of Greenland’s ice and temperature history. (for inconvenient report see: 2007 analysis of peer-reviewed literature debunks fears of Greenland melting)
But Corell’s assertion in a September 8, 2007 UK Guardian article that earthquakes triggered by melting ice are increasing in Greenland was rebuffed by University of North Carolina’s Jose Rial. Rial is a prominent climatologist/seismologist working on glacial seismic activity in Greenland. Corell’s erroneous claim prompted Rial to take the unusual step of writing a letter to the UK Guardian.
“I also know that there is no evidence to suggest that these quakes ‘are happening far faster than ever anticipated’ [as Corell claimed,”] wrote Rial in a September 13, 2007 letter.
Rial criticized the newspaper for presenting a “falling-sky” alarmist perspective and added that “it will take years of continued surveying to know whether anything here [in Greenland] is ‘accelerating’ towards catastrophe, as the article [featuring Corell] claims.” Rial rebuked climate claims like Corell’s by stating “scare stories don’t help.”
Corell has also been under fire for his work as the chair of the Arctic Impact Assessment report from 2004. This report was challenged immediately for its computer model generated scary scenarios of an alleged global warming ravaged future Arctic. (See: Study Claiming Rapid Arctic Ice Melt Refuted at U.N.’s Climate Conference – Dec. 15, 2004)
Corell currently serves as the Vice President of Programs at The Heinz Center, which gave a $250,000 award to NASA scientist James Hansen in 2001. Corell’s personal relationship with former Vice President Al Gore, allowed him to enjoy a private screening of “An Inconvenient Truth” in 2006. Corell is also on record for giving former Gore’s film two thumbs up for accuracy.
‘One-sided computer model silliness’
In a December 25, 2008 article titled Faster Climate Change Feared, Eilperin also made many of the same journalistic mistakes. Below is a reproduction of an email Climate Depot’s Executive Editor Marc Morano (then Communication Director for U.S. Senate Environment & Public Works Committee) sent to Eilperin on December 25, 2008 about her reporting. (Yes, holiday cheer and serving as the ombudsman of the media’s climate reporting know no calendar limitations)
“Come on! Your latest article was one-sided computer model silliness,” Morano wrote to Eilperin on December 25, 2008.
“Your article is all one sided. How about two sentences from a scientist mocking speculative predictions of 2100 based on speculative computer models? It is not that hard to achieve a 98 to 2% balance ratio. But 100% one-sided silliness should violate your own internal ethics. Would you report on stock market predictions in the year 2100 without including a skeptical voice? Perhaps two years ago you could have gotten away with such one-sided global warming reporting, but there are so many scientists to critique these kinds of ‘studies’ that you have no excuse to do these types of articles anymore,” Morano wrote. “Please improve the level of reporting on these types of stories. Thanks and Merry Christmas!” Morano added.
Update: Wash. Post Reporter’s woes continue: Juliet Eilperin and the ‘Saudia Arabia of bias’ – Oct. 25, 2009 – ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if every activist group owned its own Washington Post reporter?’