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A Moonbat too far

Posted by Richard Friday, June 25, 2010


In rather typical style, it would seem, Moonbat has half-read and then misunderstood the recent statement by The Sunday Times on "Amazongate" (see also my comments), prompted by a Press Complaints Commission judgement which has yet to be published on the official web site.

This controversial issue, of course, is about the provenance of the IPCC claim in the 4th Assessment Report that "up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation", a claim which relies on a non-peer-reviewed paper published by the WWF.

Wrapped up in his own "cleverness" (a kind and overly polite way of putting it), the great warmist has visited this blog to look at this post, on the basis of which he seeks to deride my original claim that there was no reference to 40 percent of the Amazon being affected by even slight reductions in precipitation in the WWF paper.

This is the Rowell & Moore paper, and for want of what I originally thought to be a specific claim in that paper, I asserted that the IPCC claim: "seems to be a complete fabrication".

Employing deep-fried sarcasm to what he fancies is devastating effect, Moonbat triumphantly tells us that he decided to check my claim using "a cunning and recondite technique known only to experienced sleuths": typing "40%" in the search bar at the top of the page.

"This stroke of genius," proclaims Moonbat, "took all of 10 seconds to reveal the following passage: 'Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall.'" Preening himself, he then asks (rhetorically, of course): "Who says investigative journalism is dead?", before going on to assert, that "None of North's suckers had bothered to carry out this complex procedure. They hadn't bothered because they didn't want to spoil a good story."

What makes this triumphalism bizarre and totally misplaced is that my original claim was reproduced in Watts Up With That and picked up by one of his commenters (Icarus), who did exactly what Moonbat asserts none had bothered to do.

From this emerged a correction. In that, posted the next day, I record having completely missed the passage which refers to 40%, thus charging wrongly that the IPCC assertion was "a fabrication, unsupported even by the reference it gives."

"With that, though," I then write, "the story gets even more interesting, as the assertion made by Rowell and his co-author Peter Moore is referenced to an article in Nature magazine," which does not support either their or the IPCC claims.

It is this which becomes the substance of "Amazongate" – the undisputed fact that the IPCC makes an assertion about the Amazon rainforest relying on "grey" (WWF) literature. This in turn references a paper which does not support the assertions made. (It is later claimed (by the WWF) that the actual reference on which the WWF authors rely had been accidentally omitted; this turns out to be non-peer-referenced as well).

As I a matter of policy, I do not remove erroneous posts (or very rarely). If I make a mistake, I correct it in a subsequent piece (if it is important enough – and this was) and then link on the original piece, notifying readers of the update. But, it would seem, so full of himself and his clever little discovery, that Moonbat has completely missed (or ignored) the link and the correction – of which he seems to be unaware despite it being at the top of the piece.

Thus fortified by his own ignorance as to the actual case which I make, Moonbat then fast-forwards to the Sunday Times retraction. He claims that the paper "has been obliged to admit that the paper's account – and by inference North's almost identical treatment – was rubbish from top to toe."

Yet, whatever the PCC may or may not think of the Sunday Times article, it has neither examined nor adjudicated on my blog. The case made there is wholly unaffected by the PCC ruling, and indeed the core is not disputed, even in the ST statement. Despite this, Moonbat stridently declares:

Now that the IPCC has been vindicated, its accusers, North first among them, are exposed for peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood. Ashes to ashes, toast to toast.
And while I am very much in favour of open debate, even I tend to draw a line at being accused on the website of a national paper of "peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood."

This is not debate. It is libel. Booker's advice on these things tends to be to avoid getting into a fight with a chimney sweep – for obvious reasons – but this is also a case of Moonbat going too far. And, since he is so keen on the PCC, I thought that this would be a good place to start.

Comment: Moonbat/Corporate cowardice thread