D’oh! “Fake news” has apparently struck again at the New York Times this week – this time over a leaked climate science report that, well, wasn’t so leaked.
In fact, the report has been publicly available for many months.
The New York Times – which is featuring a marketing campaign called “The truth is more important now than ever” – claimed Monday that it was publishing a secret climate-change report because there’s concern President Trump will try to suppress it.
But scientists called out the “newspaper of record” when they noticed the report, known as the National Climate Assessment, was actually available for public comment for several months. The report was a project of the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
The Times’ story is headlined, “Scientists fear Trump will dismiss blunt climate report.” It claimed the report “has not yet been made public” but “a copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.”
The Times also said “those who challenge scientific data on human-caused climate change” are concerned that the report will be released to the public.
Robert Kopp, one of the lead authors of the climate report and a climate scientist at Rutgers University, was puzzled when he saw the Times’ story about his findings, which were made public last December.
Kopp tweeted: “It’s not clear what the news is in this story; posted draft is public review draft from Dec, and WH review hasn’t yet missed Aug 18 deadline.”
Kopp told Fox News the climate draft was published on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website in January 2017 but was later taken down. He said it was still online at the Internet Archive’s site.
Another scientist and author of the climate report cited by the Times, Katharine Hayhoe, tweeted that it was “already accessible to anyone who cared to read it during public review & comment.” She also added: “Side-by-side comparison shows that @nytimes has public review version of our new climate sci report – so, no leak. It was available to all.”
Hayhoe noted that anyone who wants to access the draft may request it from the National Academy of Sciences.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that the Times story is “disappointing, yet entirely predictable.”
“As others have pointed out – and the New York Times should have noticed – drafts of this report have been published and made widely available online months ago during the public comment period,” she said. “The White House will withhold comment on any draft report before its scheduled release date.”
In its report, the Times quoted an anonymous scientist who warned that President Trump could suppress the climate findings.
“It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his Cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited,” the New York Times reported.
The Times also claims the National Academy of Sciences approved the draft, but scientists are “awaiting permission from the Trump administration to release it.”
But, as Kopp tweeted, President Trump’s administration hasn’t missed the Aug. 18 review deadline, which is not for another nine days.
As of Wednesday, a version of the Times story had the following correction at the very end of its story: “An article on Tuesday about a sweeping federal climate change report referred incorrectly to the availability of the report. While it was not widely publicized, the report was uploaded by the nonprofit Internet Archive in January; it was not first made public by The New York Times.”
The climate report cited by the Times claims, “evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans.”
It also states, “many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change.”
Several experts at the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank that frequently addresses climate issues, blasted the Times for printing “fake news” and “fake science.”
“The New York Times’ front-page story on the national climate assessment represents fake news in collaboration with the deep state,” said Fred Palmer, energy policy senior fellow at the Heartland Institute. “The first paragraph of the story gives the game away, claiming there has been a massive warming in the United States since 1980. In fact, there has been little if any warming based on satellite readings, corroborated 100 percent by weather balloon readings. The satellite data readily available on Dr. Roy Spencer’s webpage show 0.28 degrees Celsius warming since 1979. That rate of warming would equal less than 0.75 degrees Celsius over 100 years.
“The New York Times/deep state global warming hysteria is 100 percent the result of predictions from flawed, flux-adjusted computer models. None of us would live our lives that way, yet the deep state would have us govern our lives that way – with them in charge of our daily lives based on their fake science and flawed computer models.”
Marc Morano, publisher of the Climate Depot said: “Here we go again. The New York Times hyping a rehash of frightening climate change claims by Obama administration holdover activist government scientists. The new report is once again pre-determined science. The Trump administration should reject this new climate report and consider a national commission on climate change with scientists not affiliated with environmental activist groups.”
Tom Tanton, director of science and technology assessment at the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute, said: “It appears the deep state in Washington is at it again. Unfounded scare tactics from a report not yet released? Early release is usually used to elicit comments and corrections from the scientific community and public. Never mind the underlying data have been compromised, cherry-picked to add to the distortions. Even just the start year for their ‘trend’ is questionable. I lived through the 1980s and they weren’t anything special; what’s wrong with the ’30s? Oh yea, it would not show any warming.
“Worse, there will be louder cries to ‘do something,’ likely meaning more mandates for consumers and more money for climate scientists. Yet nary a word about what’s actually reducing greenhouse gases better than heavy handed government: the free market. It’s outperforming government in all metrics. Maybe the alarmists and statists ought just leave well enough alone.”
Other responses to the Times article and the climate report itself included:
Isaac Orr, energy and environment policy research fellow at the Heartland Institute: “The recent story by The New York Times claiming a government scientist leaked a draft of a climate science special report for fear of the report being suppressed by the Trump administration demonstrates how politicized the debate over human influences on global temperatures has become. The claim is particularly noteworthy because it is simply not true: two of the authors of the report have noted on Twitter that a draft of the report has been readily available online since January.”
Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition and Heartland Institute energy and environment policy adviser: “It makes no sense to claim that temperatures in the United States have risen by 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 150 years when meteorologist Anthony Watts’ Surface Stations study showed only 7.9 percent of existing stations achieved accuracies better than +/-1.8°F. The U.S. Government Accountability Office confirmed Watts’s research and concluded the U.S. Historical Climate Network (USHCN) surface temperature record is unreliable.”
Joe D’Aleo, executive director of IceCap.us and environmental policy adviser at the Heartland Institute: “The great scientists I have been privileged to know over my long career including Namias, Willett, Landsberg, and Gray and the great men who championed the scientific method like Feynman, Popper, and Einstein would be appalled by this report and the overall decline in the sciences and the alarming peer-review failures that allow bad and dangerous science like we find in this report to propagate and be used to support harmful policies. I believe the only part of this work that is ‘extreme likely’ is that future scientists and historians will look on it as a low point in the history of climate.”
John Coleman, meteorologist and founder of the Weather Channel: “In all its detailed reports linking weather events to climate change and the linking of ‘record high temperatures’ with climate change, this report lacks the one key element that is essential to satisfy the scientific basis of the basic claim: linking increases in CO2 with significant climate change. In fact, this report provides absolutely no new science to support this key point. Therefore, on a scientific basis it is entirely without merit.”