There have been new developments in Leakegate, the scandal swirling about reporter Jonathan Leake, who deliberately concealed facts that contradicted the story he wanted to spin. Deltoid can reveal that Leake was up to the same tricks in his story that claims that the IPCC “wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters”. Bryan Walker has the detailed dissection, but the short version is that Leake took one part of the discussion of one paper in the IPCC WG2 report and pretended that this was all it said, entirely ignoring the WG1 report and the discussion of other papers in the WG2 report. Leake writes:
Pielke has also told the IPCC that citing one section of Muir-Wood’s paper in preference to the rest of his work, and all the other peer-reviewed literature, was wrong.
Muir-Wood was, however, careful to point out that almost all this increase could be accounted for by the exceptionally strong hurricane seasons in 2004 and 2005. There were also other more technical factors that could cause bias, such as exchange rates which meant that disasters hitting the US would appear to cost proportionately more in insurance payouts.
Well, that sounds bad. Why did the IPCC report omit these caveats?
Except, umm, that they didn’t. Look at what they said about Muir-Wood’s paper:
However, for a number of regions, such as
Australia and India, normalised losses show a statistically
significant reduction since 1970. The significance of the upward
trend is influenced by the losses in the USA and the Caribbean
in 2004 and 2005 and is arguably biased by the relative wealth
of the USA, particularly relative to India.
This undercuts the story that Leake is spinning, so he simply conceals what the report actually said from his readers.
I agree with Walker’s conclusion about Leake’s work:
The Sunday Times article is simply untrue. It is lazy, sloppy journalism at best, deliberate misinformation at worst. It has been taken up triumphantly by the denialist world and reported widely and uncritically by other newspapers. I hope the paper is ashamed of what it has achieved, but I fear it will be rejoicing at the attention it has gained.