We have agreed with The Guardian lawyers a preliminary apology which is posted on the Monbiot blog (pictured above). And, pending further developments, a version of the letter below has been sent to the WWF.
Benjamin WardMonbiot, on the other hand, is now acknowledging that, "There is no doubt that the IPCC made a mistake."
Head of Press & Media Relations
Dear Mr Ward,
On 31 January 2010, your office issued a press release on "WWF, the Amazon and climate change".
In this release, it was noted that the WWF/IUCN publication Global Review of Forest Fires (2000) had been the subject of comment in media regarding its use as a source for the IPCC, and that the credibility of some of its claims had been questioned.
In the Global Review of Forest Fires it was claimed that "up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall." In your press release, it is claimed that WWF's source for this statement was "Fire in the Amazon, a 1999 overview of Amazon fire issues from the respected Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazônia (IPAM – Amazon Environmental Research Institute)."
The release further asserts that the source quotation from Fire in the Amazon reads: "Probably 30 to 40% of the forests of the Brazilian Amazon are sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall."
In pursuing this issue, I am having some difficulty in tracking down the precise publication to which you refer, and would be very much obliged if you could advise me of which specific edition of "Fire in the Amazon" that you used, the language of that edition, the full title and the publisher.
Also, I would be grateful if you could identify the page number and line(s) on which is printed the quotation: "Probably 30 to 40% of the forests of the Brazilian Amazon are sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall". It would be extremely helpful also if you could send me a facsimile of that page (and the cover page of the document), in jpeg or .pdf fomat.
Sourcing its information on the Amazon to a report by the green group WWF rather than the substantial peer-reviewed literature on the subject, was a bizarre and silly thing to do, he says, adding: "It is also an issue of such mind-numbing triviality ... ".
This is quite an interesting "take" on the issue. When he perceives me to have made a "mistake", I am "exposed for peddling inaccuracy, misrepresentation and falsehood." When the IPCC is thus exposed, it is of "mind-numbing triviality". I will review his article shortly.