On Sunday, I wrote a blog about an IPCC insider who stated that the IPCC had been disingenuous in claiming that 2500 scientists had endorsed the view that humans are responsible for global warming. By Monday, my blog had gone viral, appearing in thousands of locations in the blogosphere and garnering perhaps hundreds of thousands of hits. Earlier today, Hulme provided a convoluted response on his own blog site, in an attempt to counter my blog.
He should instead take his own advice, which he had given to the IPCC in his paper: Don’t be disingenuous, because it makes you vulnerable to criticism.
Let me dissect Hulme’s rebuttal (which you can see in full, here).
Hulme says: Various newspaper and internet blogs are reporting me as saying that the IPCC has ‘misled the press and public into believing that thousands of scientists backed its claims on manmade global warming’ whereas in fact only ‘a few dozen experts’ did so. … I did not say the ‘IPCC misleads’ anyone.
Solomon responds: Hulme stated in his paper that the IPCC had been “disingenuous” in making claims “such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’” when the correct number was “only a few dozen experts.” Seems clear to me that misleading has been going on. You can read Hulme’s paper here (pages 10 and 11 have the quotes in question) and decide for yourself.
Hulme says: it is claims that are made by other commentators, such as the caricatured claim I offer in the paper, that have the potential to mislead.
Solomon responds: Hulme is correct in noting that the caricatured claims that “2500 scientists” endorsed the man-made global warming potential have the potential to mislead. Indeed, that caricature has arguably misled more people than any other claim in human history. However, the source of that caricature, which for so long so thoroughly fooled the majority of the press and public, was the IPCC itself – in the IPCC`s own public relations documents. Hulme’s paper correctly identifies the IPCC as the source of this misinformation at the top of page 11, when he identifies it and other misleading claims as coming from “IPCC reports.” To see the IPCC touting its 2500 scientists, look here.
Judging from the reactions on the blogosphere, Hulme has embarrassed himself and his climate change colleagues, leaving him with two broad choices.
To minimize further embarrassment for his colleagues, he can simply do what other scientists have done when they’ve felt the pressure of the climate change establishment: Recant.
Alternatively, to minimize further embarrassment for himself, he can stop digging himself deeper into the hole in which he finds himself.
Lawrence Solomon, Financial Post, June 17, 2010