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McKie makes fool of himself

With George Monbiot backing out of Climategate reporting in disgust, the reins at the Guardian seem to have been handed over to Robin McKie, the science editor, who weighs in today with an amusing piece entitled "Doubt climate change - just don't deny it".

Reading his article, I'm reminded of Matt Ridley's memorable description of people being in "shut-eyed denial" about the problems with climatology and more particularly the IPCC. For example, McKie seems to think that "denialists" have been "largely silent" since Lord Oxburgh's report. Well, I can only assume that he needs to get his hearing checked because McIntyre for one and yours truly for another have barely stopped laughing since Lord Oxburgh's insta-inquiry was released. McIntyre has written four articles and I've done loads. GWPF and SPCC have been pretty vocal too. 

Where has McKie been?

Then he goes on to repeat the absurd canard that CRU was overwhelmed by FoI requests. Can this really be an honest statement of his beliefs? We know that the FoI legislation allows for a charge to be imposed for burdensome requests and, quite properly, UEA did not try to do so because they would have been laughed out of court for trying to charge for pointing 50 requesters to the same webpage. The Information Commissioner has said the level of requests was perfectly reasonable. Even McKie's own colleage, the Monbiot himself, has seen the wider story of the FoI requests.

How can one get to be science editor when apparently incapable of picking up a few simple facts like this?

Having made a fool of himself over simple adminstrative matters, McKie goes on to demonstrate his grasp of the scientific issues:

Jones had been working for decades on the collection of data – from instrument measurements, tree rings (which reveal ancient weather variations) and other sources – that have provided clear evidence that global temperatures are higher now than they have been for several thousand years.

Good grief, even Jones himself doesn't say this. He now appears to be right in with us lukewarmers in saying essentially that we don't know. Here is the man himself in his coming out interview with Roger Harrabin:

There is much debate over whether the Medieval Warm Period was global in extent or not. The MWP is most clearly expressed in parts of North America, the North Atlantic and Europe and parts of Asia. For it to be global in extent the MWP would need to be seen clearly in more records from the tropical regions and the Southern Hemisphere. There are very few palaeoclimatic records for these latter two regions.

Of course, if the MWP was shown to be global in extent and as warm or warmer than today (based on an equivalent coverage over the NH and SH) then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented. On the other hand, if the MWP was global, but was less warm that today, then current warmth would be unprecedented.

We know from the instrumental temperature record that the two hemispheres do not always follow one another. We cannot, therefore, make the assumption that temperatures in the global average will be similar to those in the northern hemisphere.

McKie cannot, or will not, deal with the truth, so let's leave you with his own description people like this:

Hence the term denier, which neatly encapsulates their flat refusal to face facts.


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Reader Comments (17)

Many thanks for pointing out this article. Like the latest Monbiot article, it doesn’t come up on the normal Guardian / Environment / Climate Change link. Looks like the Guardian has been redefining climate change to keep us deniers off the scent, enabling McKie to claim we’ve been extraordinarily quiet, etc.
McKie also has a long review of three books about the Arctic in today’s Observer, which manages the remarkable feat of not mentioning the Viking settlements in the Middle Ages.
Get over to the Guardian /Observer site everyone and let McKie know we’re still around. And wear your Denier label with pride, like the Old Contemptibles.

Apr 18, 2010 at 8:45 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

"Hence the term denier, which neatly encapsulates their flat refusal to face facts." It might do that, but it was always intended, and still is, to paint those who questioned CAGW, with the same brush as those who denied the holocaust, and he knows it. The problem is that the so called deniers have continued to question the so called science, and have opened a Pandora's Box of dissimulation and deceit.

Apr 18, 2010 at 8:59 AM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

Could it be McKie is using the declining number of comments on his pages to assess the so called silence? He needs to get out more!

Apr 18, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Unregistered Commentermartyn

The comments section from that article is interesting.

What was the point of this enquiry, or indeed the parliamentary one ? Nobody who was wavering is any more convinced of the science, no sceptics have changed their minds, and I doubt anyone here has suddenly become a believer and wants Copenhagen restarted.

Apr 18, 2010 at 10:28 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

ps (hit the wrong button ;-)

And of course whenever any of the people involved here - Jones, Briffa or Mann - publish anything new it will be put into the 'suspicious' corner from the moment it is released, they hardly have completely intact reputations now even in the eyes of the believers surely.

Apr 18, 2010 at 10:30 AM | Unregistered CommenterChris

From McKie's article "Questions must also be asked if freedom of information legislation should cover access to raw scientific data."

I've seen this idea crop up a lot recently, including obliquely in the Oxburgh report, and find it very worrying indeed.

Apr 18, 2010 at 11:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterDR

Perhaps responses to him have 'gone quiet' because the writers are tired of repeating themselves. I took the Observer for years, and McKie always struck me as particularly bone-headed...

Apr 18, 2010 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Are McKie and/or the Guardian trying to tell us something, or gain sympathy, by using a stock picture of Meerkats to illustrate the article?

Apr 18, 2010 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAJC


Are McKie and/or the Guardian trying to tell us something, or gain sympathy, by using a stock picture of Meerkats to illustrate the article?

Not sure what they are trying to say, but my picture on CiF was Alexandr Meerkat until I was permanently banished into the outer darkness a few weeks back. No charges were ever brought or explained...I just must have upset the mods by questionning their creed once too often. And so Latimer Alder on CiF is no more ... RIP Latimer :-(

But, fear not, the miracle of technology means that I am still posting there...but under another name! So far they haven't spotted this cunning wheeze .............

Apr 18, 2010 at 12:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Latimer Alder.
Careful about changing your name on CiF in order to avoid censorship. It can lead to a lifetime ban. Write to the moderators about your ban. They’re a fairminded bunch, in my experience. I was banned for life because of a false accusation of blogging under an assumed name, and only got my civil rights restored when I pointed out I’d been invited to post an article about Guardian censorship on a sceptic blog - and that I am the great great grandnephew of CP Scott (true).
Your presence is missed. Though someone else’s is a most welcome addition.

Apr 18, 2010 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

What a strange, ill-informed article by Robin McKie. The thing reads like a parody of a typical Guardian article about Climate Change.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, the Guardian was my first (on-line) newspaper of choice. But these days I never really bother with it, mainly because of its stance on AGW.

I prefer The Times now. Gawd knows (sorry for the profane language, Bish) what I'll do in June when they start charging for it.

My parents used to read the Telegraph, so that's out. The Independent has got one of the ugliest, most unreadable newspaper sites I've ever come across. And besides, they're not exactly, you know, very SOUND when it comes to Climate Change, now are they, what with that Hari whats-'is-name (Hari Seldon?) writing for them.

Apr 18, 2010 at 1:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul Boyce

After months of controversy, the University of East Anglia climate unit was exonerated last week over the leaked emails affair.

Isn't there a problem with this first sentence? How could CRU be exonerated by a political investigation? Unfortunately, the media will report exonerated when no such thing has happened. Case closed.

Apr 18, 2010 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterKevin

Would this be the same Guardian which recently promised Anthony Watts, in the interests of having the debate well mannered, to stop using the terms "denier" or even more offensive "denialist"?

Once again the Guardian displays the very highest standard of honesty to which these murdering holocaust denying (ok it is the Kosovo & Krajina holocausts not the jewish one) pro-Nazi, government funded propagandists aspire.

Apr 18, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeil Craig

And in other news, lets hand out the awards -

A 'carbon free' economy. There's an oxymoron to be gored.

Apr 18, 2010 at 2:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterChuckles

McKie cannot, or will not, deal with the truth, so let's leave you with his own description people like this:

Hence the term denier, which neatly encapsulates their flat refusal to face facts.

That says it all, Bishop. He is in the second (denial) stage, moving to the third (anger) stage of Kübler-Ross. Pretty soon he will join his buddy Monbiot.

Apr 18, 2010 at 3:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Pablo de la Sierra

At least he admits they were leaked and not hacked - assuming he wrote that bit...

Apr 18, 2010 at 5:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Yesterday I posted a comment on the McKie article in which I referred to Oxburgh’s business interests and called him a “joke”. This morning the post, with its 40+ readers’ recommendations, had been removed by a moderator, so I reposted, removing the offensive terms thus:
“Silent? We’re seething with rage, and hooting with laughter. We know about Oxburgh, his ******** interests, and his two day, three page report. He’s a **** - a trillion pound ****, but still a ****”.
This post has disappeared without trace, leaving no sign that it ever existed. It must have been there, though, because another reader quotes it in full, allowing me to enlarge on it in my reply. With any luck I’ll be able to keep up a conversation on the thread around a non-existent post. A bit like those group photos of Soviet leaders from the Stalin era, with Trotsky’s trousers hanging in space.

Apr 19, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered Commentergeoffchambers

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