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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about Express

This complaint relates to the front-page report of the Daily Express that headlined “CLIMATE NUT BROWN WILL RUIN BRITAIN.”

The complaint is being made under Article 1 of the editors code of the practise – “The press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information.”

The article claims that the Gordon Brown’s proposed cut of CO2 emissions “was made despite a continuing debate about whether mankind is to blame for climate change.”

This is incorrect. There is no debate about whether mankind is to blame for climate change. It is a fact that since the industrial revolution, CO2 emissions have increased by 40% from 280 parts per million to 390 parts per millions and given the current trajectory they will soon rise to well beyond 450 parts per millions. It is a fact that basic science shows a CO2 rich atmosphere warms more quickly. It is a fact that all temperature trends over any statistically significant period show warming has happened and is continuing to happen.

No scientist has yet been able to provide any suitable alternative hypothesis to explain the observed warming trends. No peer-reviewed work has been produced to disprove mankind’s influence in climate change.

The only debate about whether mankind is to blame is fuelled on by those with either no scientific understanding or with vested interests in maintaining the status quo.

The article goes on to quote the taxpayers alliance claiming that the cuts would “require the economy to be slashed by 30 per cent from expected levels.” However there is no counter balancing view to argue that if we do not make deep and urgent cuts in our CO2 emissions the consequences of climate change will result in a far more serious societal collapse.

The article closes with the statistic that, “Daily Express readers showed their distrust of Mr Brown’s sweeping plans this week, with an overwhelming 98 per cent of those taking part in a phone vote agreeing that the nation was being conned over global warming.”

This quote is aimed at demonstrating that the public does not believe in climate change, and therefore by implication that climate change either does not exist or is not a serious issue. Without knowing exactly what questions were asked or who the questions were asked to, this is a misleading and inaccurate reflection of public opinion. As a group, Express readers are more likely than most others to be dismissive of climate change. Finally, there is no reference to the size of the sample taken.

It is clear that this article does not provide any accurate and factual report of the debate on the climate change. It merely perpetuates the arguments of the climate change deniers using half-truths and biased arguments.

As such the article is inaccurate, misleading and presents distorted information.
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