On the front page of The Australian today we find the headline Summer of disaster ‘not climate change’: Rajendra Pachauri. If you read the actual quotes from Pachauri in the article and not the fabricated one in the headline, you’ll find that Pachauri said something rather different:
“What we can say very clearly is the aggregate impact of climate change on all these events, which are taking place at much higher frequency and intensity all over the world.
“On that there is very little doubt; the scientific evidence is very, very strong. But what happens in Queensland or what happens in Russia or for that matter the floods in the Mississippi River right now, whether there is a link between those and climate change is very difficult to establish. So I don’t think anyone can make a categorical statement on that.”
Saying that climate change is making events like the floods more likely but you can’t be certain that the floods were caused by climate change is not the same as saying that they have nothing to do with climate change no matter what The Australian prints.
The Australian, of course, has form when it comes to verballing Pachauri.
Now, you can blame the headline on an editor, but that doesn’t let the article’s author, Graham Lloyd, off the hook. Watch him verbal the Greens:
Dr Pachauri’s comments contradict assertions by Greens leader Bob Brown in the wake of the floods that the coal industry was to blame because the sector’s contribution to global warming was responsible for the extreme weather conditions.
What Brown actually said:
The full tax on excess profits by the coal mining industry, as recommended by Treasury, should be imposed with half set aside for future natural catastrophes in Australia, Greens Leader Bob Brown said in Hobart today.
“It is unfair that the cost is put on all taxpayers, not the culprits,” Senator Brown said.
“Burning coal is a major cause of global warming. This industry, which is 75% owned outside Australia, should help pay the cost of the predicted more severe and more frequent floods, droughts and bushfires in coming decades. As well, 700,000 seaside properties in Australia face rising sea levels.”
It seems that Pachauri is in agreement with Brown on the science, not contradicting him. It is almost as if The Australian has some kind of anti-Greens agenda.
Lloyd also got in a “have you stopped beating your wife” type question.
Asked whether the IPCC had suffered as a result of overstating the climate change case, Dr Pachauri said: “There are people who say the opposite, as well.
Don’t you wish he had answered with “Has The Australian‘s reputation suffered as a result of overstating the case against the IPCC?
See also: Michael Tobis.
Update: Today, in their letters in response to their story gives greater prominence to Des Moore attacking Pachauri and the IPCC than to a letter correcting their misleading story. I know (because I was CC’d on a couple of them) that there were several more letters sent from scientists that they didn’t print. No surprise there — the previous time they verballed Pachauri they refused to print a letter from Pachauri correcting the record.