Richard Littlemore has posted Ball’s Statement of Claim. Here is the heart of it with my commments:
8 The letter to the editor contains the follow statements which contain inaccuracies and are defamatory of Ball:
“…newspapers ought to report factual summaries of authors’ credentials. You note that he ‘was the first Climatology PhD in Canada and worked as a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years.’
Ball received a PhD in Geography in the UK in 1982, on a topic in historical climatology. Canada already had PhDs in climatology, and it is important to recognize them in [sic] their research. …
According to Ball’s website, he was not a climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg for 28 years. And how could he have? He did not even have an entry-level PhD until 1983, that would allow even Assistant Professor status.
During much of the 28 years cited, he was a junior Lecturer who rarely published, and then spent 8 years as a geography professor.
His work does not show any evidence of research regarding climate and atmosphere and the few papers he has published concern other matters. There are great gains to be made in science from conjectures and refutations, but sometimes denial is nothing more than denial.”
9 Some of the aforementioned statements are inaccurate. Ball was awarded a Degree of
Doctor of Philosophy in the Faculty of Science at the University of London in Climatology in October of 1983. Ball has never had a website, but in any event, he was a professor at the University of Winnipeg from 1988 to the date of his retirement.
The only inaccuracies identified here is that Ball’s PhD was 1983 instead of 1982, and that the information about Ball came from a site owned by Envirotruth rather than a website owned by Ball. I do not think that these have damaged Ball to the tune of $325,000.
And since Ball retired in 1996, it follows that he was a professor for 8 years, not 28 years as originally claimed in the newspaper.
10 During his employment as a professor at the University of Winnipeg. Ball has produced
many articles, columns, research and commentary on climate in Canada and elsewhere and has given many lectures to government, industry, and public forums and interest groups on climatology and the issue of global warming.
This does not identify any inaccuracies in Johnson’s letter. Johnson referred to published research papers. I could only find four such papers by Ball in the Web of Science. Articles, columns and lectures are not research papers.
11 In addition to the factual inaccuracies aforesaid, the words referred to in paragraph 8 of the Statement of Claim, are defamatory in their plain and ordinary meting and in their innuendo which suggests that:
(a) Ball has falsified his professional and academic credentials;
Johnson did not say that Ball falsified his credentials, but that the newspaper had published incorrect information about his credentials. Which point was conceded by Ball in para 9 — he was not a professor for 28 years.
(b) that his “entry level PhD” is something less than a full PhD and is not a PhD in climatology;
The plain and ordinary meaning of Johnson’s statement is that a PhD is an entry-level qualification for being an assistant professor. Johnson stated that Balls PhD was “in historical climatology”. I believe that the plain and ordinary meaning of “in historical climatology” is “in historical climatology”.
(c) he does not have the academic background and qualifications to make serious comments on global warming;
(d) he has not done sufficient research, study or publication of articles in the area of climate and atmosphere to give serious opinions with respect to global warming; and
Johnson did not make these claims. On the other hand, Ball did make such claims about Tim Flannery:
Aussie zoologist Tim Flannery has no professional credentials in the field and so blunders regularly while pushing governments to save the world from global warming.
Now that one really is defamatory.
(e) he is denying that global warming is occurring on the basis of denial alone and not on the basis of evidence of any scientific research.
Jeepers, this is desperate.
12 Johnson’s letter to the editor did not speak at all to the issues raised in Ball’s op-ed piece but amounted to a false and malicious attack on Ball’s reputation as a noted climatologist and authority on global wanning.
Ball’s op-ed piece did not speak at all to the issues raised in Flannery’s book but amounted to a false and malicious attack on Flannery’s reputation as an authority on global warming.
13 Ball says that the Defendants Calgary Herald, Motley, Anderson, Zurowski and/or Firby were negligent in publishing this letter to the editor, without first checking with Ball or other sources to determine if the allegations in the letter to the editor denigrating Ball’s professional and academic qualifications were accurate.
But the allegations were accurate: Ball was not a professor for 28 years and he wasn’t the first Canadian climatology PhD.