Journalism at its most irresponsible. There really ought to be a law. At least there ought to be consequences.
The BBC interviews Phil Jones:
B – Do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming
Yes, but only just. I also calculated the trend for the period 1995 to 2009. This trend (0.12C per decade) is positive, but not significant at the 95% significance level. The positive trend is quite close to the significance level. Achieving statistical significance in scientific terms is much more likely for longer periods, and much less likely for shorter periods.
The Daily Mail headline:
Climategate U-turn as scientist at centre of row admits: There has been no global warming since 1995
but the text is more reasonable, if also, well, wrong:
He also agreed that there had been two periods which experienced similar warming, from 1910 to 1940 and from 1975 to 1998, but said these could be explained by natural phenomena whereas more recent warming could not.
He further admitted that in the last 15 years there had been no ‘statistically significant’ warming, although he argued this was a blip rather than the long-term trend.
As is common, the most egregious behavior is by the anonymous headline writer. The journalist, Jonathan Petre, can claim innocence, except for the peculiar use of the word “blip” showing a mind boggling lack of understanding of statistics for someone reporting on science, but at least an attempt at fairness.
Defenders of the press, explain this one. And explain where the world gets redress from this.
With a hat tip to a hostile correspondent.
Update: Excellent discussion and useful links on this subject at the Bad Science Forum
Update: Tamino has an excellent analogy.
Update: RealClimate gets into some detail
Update: Nice piece on the subject by James Hrynyshyn
Update: Excellent, related item at Climate Safety, herewith added to the blogroll. Highly recommended.