Monday 6 April 2015

Wikipedia on Climate Change



How has the World's largest encyclopaedia been covering the Climate Change debate?


Above. A typical Wikipedia 'smorgasbord' of pseudo-facts. The alarming red hot globe, for example, is based not so much on temperature data but computer 'filling in' of data - notably in the Arctic and Antarctic regions. This technique is so obviously unsatisfactory that no reputable climate statisticians accept it. And the IPCC itself, although used as the source, correctly calls the various scenarios 'projections' not 'predictions'. Wikipedians, like politicians, don't know the difference! (See notes)

A Philosophical Investigation by Martin Cohen

February 23 2010

Being a Classic post 'reposted' from Pi-alpha

Put 'Global Warming' into Google, let alone Wikipedia, and you will be offered, as 'settled fact', the following: 

Global warming is the increase in the average temperature of Earth's near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation.... An increase in global temperature will cause sea levels to rise and will change the amount and pattern of precipitation, probably including expansion of subtropical deserts.[8]… Other likely effects include changes in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, species extinctions, and changes in agricultural yields. Warming and related changes will vary from region to region around the globe, though the nature of these regional variations are uncertain.

That is because you will be directed to 'Wikipedia'1. The Wikipedia page goes on to predict glacial retreat, Arctic shrinkage including long-term shrinkage of Greenland ice sheet. Ocean acidification will lead to the extinction of between 18% to 35% of animal and plant species by 2050. Horrifying predictions of temperature rises are given in graphics, with a note that not all effects of global warming are accurately predicted by the climate models used by the IPCC. Ah ha! a small concession to the sceptics? Not at all, the encyclopaedia merely wants us to worry more because, "For example, observed Arctic shrinkage has been faster than that predicted." 

This is, of course, the 'full throttle' version of the theory of man-made global warming, as advanced by certain scientists and green groups. (Apart from the highly politicised IPCC summaries written by activists including government representatives with the aim of directing political policies, the sources are variously,, James Hansen at the Goddard Institute, and so on. That is three names for essentially the same outfit.) 

In general, Wikipedia reprints the IPCC notes for policy makers, produced by it political steering committees, as a kind of holy writ. Actually, to say something is the 'view of the IPCC' is a shorthand, because many of the past and present authors of the IPCC reports do NOT agree with particular claims. Naturally, given their origins, the reports consist of endless weasel words and hair-splitting distinctions between degrees of plausibility. 'Very likely' to happen, 'quite likely', 'likely'. None of these complications bog down Wikipedia, where the science is all very straightforward and unremittingly alarmist. To confirm its accuracy, the Global Warming page boasts a gold star meaning it has been approved by the Wikipedia system as one of the best, the most objective and the most encyclopaedic. 

Well down the page, long after most people have stopped reading, below the scary graphs and charts, is the heading "Debate and skepticism". But this debate is confined to 'how to combat Global Warming' and calculating the benefits of limiting industrial emissions of greenhouse gases against costs. "Using economic incentives, alternative and renewable energy have been promoted to reduce emissions while building infrastructure", the encyclopaedia explains. 

But keep on reading, and there we are, at the very bottom of the page XXX words and 122 learned footnotes later, comes a dissenting note! "Some global warming skeptics in the science or political communities dispute all or some of the global warming scientific consensus, questioning whether global warming is actually occurring, whether human activity has contributed significantly to the warming, and the magnitude of the threat posed by global warming." 

That's all it says on the main page, but now - if we are curious, we might follow the link to see what these skeptics are saying. 

The 'Climate Skeptics' page starts neutrally enough: 

"Climate Skeptics include many leading researchers and scientists, such as Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University and Dr David Bellamy and then, under the heading "View of prominent sceptics" offers short quotes to show the sort of things at issue: 

From Climate Skeptics page

"Former UN Scientist Dr. Paul Reiter of the Pasteur Institute in Paris (who resigned from UN IPCC in protest): “As far as the science being ‘settled,’ I think that is an obscenity. The fact is the science is being distorted by people who are not scientists.”
UN IPCC scientist Vincent Gray of New Zealand: “This conference demonstrates that the [scientific] debate is not over. The climate is not being influenced by carbon dioxide.
Climate researcher Dr. Craig Loehle, formerly of the Department of Energy Laboratories and currently with the National Council for Air and Stream Improvements, has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific papers: “The 2000-year temperature trend is not flat, so a warming period is not unprecedented. … a 1500-year temperature cycle as proposed by [Atmospheric physicist Fred] Singer and Dennis Avery is consistent with Loehle climate reconstruction… a 1500-year cycle implies that recent warming is part of natural trend.”
Hurricane expert and Meteorologist Dr. William Gray: “There are lot’s of skeptics out there, all over the U.S. and the rest of the world. Global warming has been over-hyped tremendously; most of the climate change we have seen is largely natural. I think we are brainwashing our children terribly.”
UK Astrophysicist Piers Corbyn: “There is no evidence that CO2 has ever driven or will ever drive world temperatures and climate change. The consequence of that is that worrying about CO2 is irrelevant. Our prediction is world temperatures will continue to decline until 2014 and probably continue to decline after that.”
Meteorologist Art Horn: “There are thousands of scientists around the world who believe that this issue is not settled. The climate is not being influenced by carbon dioxide.”
Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who serves on the American Meteorological Society's Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review: “It is my belief that the strident and frequent claims of catastrophes caused by man-made global warming are stated with a degree of confidence not warranted by the data."

This splendidly neutral page then concludes with some longer sceptical accounts including that of Professor John David Lewis of Duke University, USA, reporting that he has challenged many of the claims made by proponents of man-made climate change theory, in an article in the politically neutral journal Social Philosophy and Policy (Volume 26 No. 2 Summer 2009), saying: 'Those predicting environmental disasters today focus on particular issues in order to magnify the gravity of their general claims, and they push those issues until challenges make them untenable. Rhetorical skill and not logical argument has become the standard of success.' 

Then there is that review article, published in the Times Higher on the 03 December 2008, Professor Gwyn Prins, the director of the Mackinder Programme for the Study of Long Wave Events at the London School of Economics, which says that the 'principle product of recent science is to confirm that we know less, less conclusively - not more, more conclusively - about the greatest open systems on the planet'. 

And finally, Professor Mike Hulme's, a 'climate scientist' at the University of East Anglia's centre for such research, offered a comprehensive defence of scepticism in the December Wall Street Journal noting: "Science never writes closed textbooks. It does not offer us a holy scripture, infallible and complete." 

What a fine summary, if I might say so myself! So 'Wikipedia' gives us (as the old legal refrain goes) the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, no? 

No, no, and no! This 'sceptical page', was one I knocked up as little test to see if complaints about climate change bias on the the 'open-to-all encyclopaedia were justified. Once posted, it lasted exactly one minute. No you read that right - one minute! 

  I finished writing the page at 22:34, on the 6 February., At 22:35, 6 February 2010, an editor operating under the usual stupid (but effective in terms of the propaganda function of WIkipedia) pseudonym, MuffledThud, added the template 'Requesting speedy deletion (CSD A10). (TW))'. And that was that! No more nasty Skepticism on Wikipedia! 

Now I am more a little bit more cognoscenti of WP than perhaps most users, so I attempted to defend my page four minutes later - that is before the page could be 'formally' deleted. This required pasting the gnome-like WIkipedia formula : ({{hangon}}). Did that save my page? Well, yes and no. This time the page stayed there for half an hour. But then at 23:09, 6 February 2010 Tony Sidaway 'a system operator', that is to say a Wikipedia editor who has been given extra powers over most of the rest, removed the page and replaced it with an electronic alias pointing at the 'Global Warming page', which as we have seen, covers the sceptical angle very thoroughly with all of that final, er,… one sentence. As a system operator, Tony leaves a short note on the strategy. "Redirect as per Global warming skeptic, stable for over two years", in the so-called 'page history'. Later on, someone thought it safer to make the redirect 'permanent' and to to make challenging it a 'ban able offence'. 

So why is it impossible to place on Wikipedia, just for the record, some of the 'other views', 'dissenting voices' if you wish, including as they certainly do, many distinguished scientists, professors and IPCC authors? 

After all, Wikipedia has room for another 3 million articles including ones on 'Fart Lighting' and 'Nipple clamps' (the encyclopaedia's origins start with a rather sordid 'web-portal' called Bomis) and lengthy accounts of what its editors have done that day. But indeed, it is not possible. Not only Tony Siddaway but a whole group of editors patrol the encyclopaedia immediately removing any views not consonant with their uncompromising thesis. 

Instead of the full range of views, as even those IPCC reports give a nod to, there is only one only page describing other views is headed unprepossessingly: 


List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

Great title guys! Makes you want to read on! Mind you, there is a rather off-putting opening disclaimer: 

"This article lists living and deceased scientists who have made statements that conflict with the mainstream assessment of global warming as summarised by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other scientific bodies."

That's just for starters. Read the first half page of background briefing next! 

Climate scientists agree that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last century. The scientific consensus was summarised in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main conclusions relating directly to past and ongoing global warming were as follows:
1. The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.
2. "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities", in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.
3. If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100. Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise of 9 cm to 88 cm, excluding "uncertainty relating to ice dynamical changes in the West Antarctic ice sheet". On balance the impacts of global warming will be significantly negative, especially for larger values of warming.
Those listed here have, since the Third Assessment Report of the IPCC, made statements that conflict with at least one of these principal conclusions. Inclusion is based on specific, attributable statements in the individual's own words, and not on listings in petitions or surveys. In February 2007, the IPCC released a summary of a Fourth Assessment Report, which contains similar conclusions to the Third. For the purpose of this list, a scientist is defined as a person who published at least one peer-reviewed article during their lifetime in the broadly-construed area of natural sciences.

Are you still interested? Well, don't be. None of the views summarised here are presented in a way to make any useful point. Add to which, there are apparently just three people, who as the page puts it, think that "Global warming is not occurring or has ceased". 

All right, let's have 'em!
  • Timothy F. Ball, former Professor of Geography, University of Winnipeg: " who sceptically observes: "There's been warming, no question. I've never debated that; never disputed that. The dispute is, what is the cause." but then disputes himself by saying "The temperature hasn't gone up. ... But the mood of the world has changed: It has heated up to this belief in global warming." (August 2006)
  • Robert M. Carter, geologist, researcher at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia who is allowed, graciously, to say "the accepted global average temperature statistics used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change show that no ground-based warming has occurred since 1998 ... there is every doubt whether any global warming at all is occurring at the moment, let alone human-caused warming."
and finally
  • Vincent R. Gray, coal chemist, who thinks that:""The two main 'scientific' claims of the IPCC are the claim that 'the globe is warming' and 'Increases in carbon dioxide emissions are responsible'. Evidence for both of these claims is fatally flawed."[9]"
That's the main business over - very quickly. But space is tight on those Wikipedia servers - send more money please! Next are two slightly longer sections note those who think the "Accuracy of IPCC climate projections is questionable" or that "Global warming is primarily caused by natural processes" or (contrariwise, the duffers!) that "Cause of global warming is unknown", before the page finishes with a section called, hilariously and in full: "Now deceased", thus rounding up the other sceptics. 

And although the page offers at the top:"This is an incomplete list, which may never be able to satisfy certain standards for completion. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced additions."- it also has a silver padlock signifying that editing is not open to most users at all.
However, it is in the safe hands of a 'user-group' called the 'Climate Change Task-force', who have special powers to stop articles presenting views that they do not agree with. Or as a notice puts it on their 'home page': 

"A decision by the Wikipedia community has placed articles relating to climate change under article probation. Editors making disruptive edits may be blocked temporarily from editing the encyclopaedia, or subject to other administrative remedies, according to standards that may be higher than elsewhere on Wikipedia. Please see Wikipedia:General sanctions/Climate change probation for full information and to review the decision."

By 'higher standards' they mean 'lower standards', but then this is WIkipedia and people can barely write. The point though is clear, as Lawrence Solomon has described in his articles over at the Financial Post on Wikipedia, of which more in a moment. Wikipedia is open to everyone to edit, but only if they either write drivel (as most pages there are) or stick to the political line. In the case of 'Climate Change' the line is that there is not only no scientific debate left to be had, but no political debate either. 

The 'lower/ higher standards' mean that people who have been given extra administrative powers on the encyclopaedia, 'system operators', such as the ability to an other users or to 'protect pages' (which means prevent people editing them) - are formally granted dispensation to use these administrative powers on pages they also edit - and thus promote their own views. The 'Chinese Wall' that supposedly exists to stop administrators abusing their powers in content debates has been torn down for articles on 'climate change'. 

Take William Connolley, for example, a little known Greenie (one of the crowd 2,) whose views make up - literally!- the science for the Wikipedia pages) who has however some special role in the Wikipedia elite. He has banned more contributors than most websites have readers!
Here's what the climate sceptic commentator, Lawrence Solomon, says about him, in an article posted on the Financial Post website on Saturday, May 03, 2008 

"Connolley is a big shot on Wikipedia, which honours him with an extensive biography, an honour Wikipedia did not see fit to bestow on his boss at the British Antarctic Survey. Or on his boss's's boss, or on his boss's boss's boss, or on his boss's boss's boss's boss, none of whose opinions seemingly count for much, despite their impressive accomplishments. William Connolley's opinions, in contrast, count for a great deal at Wikipedia, even though some might not think them particularly worthy of note." 

[From the Financial Post article 3

Connolley is … an administrator with unusual editorial clout. Using that clout, this 40-something scientist of minor relevance gets to tear down scientists of great accomplishment. Because Wikipedia has become the single biggest reference source in the world, and global warming is one of the most sought-after subjects, the ability to control information on Wikipedia by taking down authoritative scientists is no trifling matter.
One such scientist is Fred Singer, the First Director of the U.S. National Weather Satellite Service, the recipient of a White House commendation for his early design of space satellites; the recipient of a NASA commendation for research on particle clouds — in short, a scientist with dazzling achievements who is everything Connolley is not. Under Connolley's supervision, Singer is relentlessly smeared, and has been for years, as a kook who believes in Martians and a hack in the pay of the oil industry. When a smear is inadequate, or when a fair-minded Wikipedian tries to correct a smear, Connolley and his cohorts are there to widen the smear or remove the correction, often rebuking the Wikipedian in the process.

Lawrence Solomon adds, "Wikipedia is full of rules that editors are supposed to follow, as well as a code of civility. Those rules and codes don't apply to Connolley, or to those he favours."
Indeed they don't. Here are some of the occasions that William Connolley has used his administrative powers to block other users he disagreed with just on the Climate Change topic. (A page called BLOCK#Disputes records such minutiae for each administrator.) 

It's long, but sums up exactly the travesty of editing on the 'Encyclopaedia anyone can edit'. Remember too that, supposedly, 'blocks' are a tool there only for neutral 'uninvolved' administrators to stop 'vandals'. 


1. In an edit war with User:Chris_Chittleborough on Hockey stick controversy William blocks Chris. Another 'administrator', nicknamed Chaser later says:" can't block users you're in disputes with. The policy is unambiguous and ArbCom [the Wikipedian cabal of the most powerful administrators] has indicated the same thing. This is the kind of thing that people get de-sysopped for." [Hop off, Chaser!]
2. In an edit war with User:Lapsed Pacifist on the page Shell to Sea, William blocks Lapsed for the reason "repeated re-insertion of unsourced material"
3. In an edit war with User:Jaymes2 on Global warming William blocks Jaymes2 for the reason, "repeated insertion of tripe"
4. In an edit war on Global Warming with User:Sterculius William blocks Sterculius for "Tendentious edits at GW"
5. In an edit war with User:Wedjj on Global Warming William blocks Wedjj for 8 hours, reason: "disruptive editing"
6. In an edit war with User:Supergreenred over Global Warming, William blocks User:Supergreenred
7. In an edit war with User:Britcom on List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming and Global Warming William temporarily blocks Britcom, reason for 'incivility'. Brit says: "Don't be a hypocrite WC"
8. In the same edit war with User:Britcom on List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming and Global Warming William blocks Britcom for 24 hours reason: Incivility
9. In an edit war with User:Wikzilla at Global warming William personally blocks Wikzilla twice for Three-revert rule violations.
10. In an edit war with User:ConfuciusOrnis at Climate change denial William blocks User:ConfuciusOrnis twice. William is chastised by admin User:FeloniousMonk for William abusing his administrative powers.
11. In an edit war with user: on Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change William blocks 'anon' for three hours.
12. With User:DHeyward on Global Warming William blocks DHeyward, length: 8 hours, reason: "violation of 1RR on GW; in civil edit summaries"
13. In an edit war with User:Lapsed Pacifist on the page Shell to Sea William blocks Lapsed for 3 hours giving the reason as "incivility" for this edit.
14. For comments on List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming which William actively edits, William blocks for incivility for this comment "A great read for all you cool aid drinkers."
15. William blocks User:HalfDome for incivility because of comments on the page Image talk:2000 Year Temperature Comparison.png, a page which he actively edits.
16. William again blocks User:HalfDome for incivility because of comments on the page Image talk:2000 Year Temperature Comparison.png.
17. William blocks User:Jepp for comments on List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming, an article William actively edits. Reason: "Inserting false information: incivility"
18. William blocks User: for comments on Global warming controversy.
19. William blocks User:Juanfermin for edits on the page List of scientists opposing global warming consensus, an article William edits regularly.
20. William blocks User:UBeR for comments on The Great Global Warming Swindle.
21. William blocks User:Peterlewis for comments on Historical climatology, an article William edits regularly.
22. William blocks User: for incivility on Global warming, an article William edits regularly.
23. William blocks User:Likwidshoe for incivility on IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, an article William edits regularly.
24. William blocks User:Kismatraval for "spam" on Global warming, an article William edits regularly.
25. William blocks User: for this comment "One thing is clear: this Wikipedia article and its fanatical guardians are a perfect example of how and why Wikipedia cannot be considered as a reliable source of knowledge."
26. William blocks User:Grimerking for 3rr on Global warming, an article William edits regularly.
27. William blocks User:Dick Wayne for posting youtube link on The Great Global Warming Swindle, an article William edits regularly.
28. William blocks User:DonaldDuck07 for "incivility" for comments on List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming, an article William actively edits.
29. William blocks User:Rotten for "incivility" for comments on The Great Global Warming Swindle, an article William actively edits.
30. William blocks User: for comments on Scientific opinion on climate change.

There's more, but that's enough to be going on with. The point is this: 

At Wikipedia, according to the bland and hypocritical publicity for the site, "anyone can edit a page" - jump right in, and edit my page, says Jimmy Wales, founder, et cetera et cetera, used to claim . And its central to the methodology of the integrity of the content that all editors are equal. Over time, the good edits are supposed to cancel out the bad edits. Is that true? Will they? No one will ever know, because in fact hardly anyone is even able to edit the 'Climate Change' or other controversial pages, and those who manage to, are immediately banned if they disagree with the 'super-editors' managing the content there.

Executive summary:

Wikipedia is not neutral, it is dangerous propaganda delivered by anonymous non-entities.
Does it matter though, what Wikipedia days? After all, we have the BBC and The Guardian newspaper all saying exactly the same thing in a more authoritative way. But indeed it does matter. The Guardian's environment writers use Wikipedia as a source for their stories, as its website editor, James Randerson, confirmed to me by telephone, volunteering (with endearing frankness) its use there as a supply of facts and sources, along with other details. I asked him, as the environment section's web specialist, if he was aware of the controversies surrounding the online encyclopaedia's coverage of Climate Change, specifically, that it was heavily skewed to one side of the debate? No, he said, he was not aware of that. And nor was The Guardian concerned either. As for the BBC, I have had dealings in the past with TV researchers, and rarely is there a group less inclined to look further than a convenient, ten minute source like Wikipedia. Certainly, later on, they will talk properly to experts, but the initial research will come straight off the net, and so will skew that selection of who they speak to. 

Sooo... does it matter? After all facts are facts, aren't they. But facts are not facts. Facts are versions of reality put forward by people with agendas. For example, the frightening temperature increases the page records, uses as its source the Goddard Institute of Space Studies, which is run by James Hansen, the 'big spider' at the centre of the Global Warming web who has such an 'extreme' position the matter that he has fallen out with most of the others in the pro-camp. Quoting them is like quoting Liverpool Supporters Club on 'who are the greatest' football team. Or maybe like using George Monbiot's vegetable patch as a marker for global climate change. 

Look at the details too- (in the small print) the 'record temperatures' result from spikes in measurements in the Arctic and 'parts' of the Antarctic - data sources that are considered so poor that the Met Office and other climate centres do not incorporate at all into their models. But the Goddard not only uses theses dubious statistics, as they say themselves, they then mathematically extrapolate them 'over the entire land mass' - obtaining many more record high temperatures! 

Well, what about using it to check sources, though? A quote is a quote isn't it? Not at WP. Nothing you read there is suitable for reproducing in a 'serious' newspaper - if you might lazily get away with it in a student essay or a top secret dossier for the British government on Iraqi nuclear weapons! Take the view attributed to Benny Peisner, about how he had been wrong to deny that there was a consensus amongst scientists on Global Warming as a settled fact. That's what it says he said on WP! But when Lawrence Solomon checked directly with Peisner, he found that he had said no such thing. The Wikipedia page had misunderstood or distorted his comments. Lawrence Solomon tried to correct the point, but a moment later, it was 'reverted' by 'Tabletop', who offered the explanation: "Note that Peiser has retracted this critique and admits that he was wrong". 

Despite this, it's not just The Guardian (a paper I used to occasionally write articles on Computers and Education for) uncritically regurgitating Wikipedia. All over the word, journalists are writing stories about global warming using the same strategy. 

A Day in the Life of an Environment Editor
10.00 Arrive at desk, switch computer on and have coffee
11.00 am Editorial meeting. Boss says write something (groans all round) about Global Warming.
12.00 Lunch
2.30 pm Look at Wikipedia
3.00 pm Ring or email someone mentioned there for comments
4.00 Tea and organic chocky biscuits
5.00 File 1000 words using WP and my vegetable patch as sources.

That's why Wikipedia's influence is greater than you might think, if you imagine it is just net-nerds who read Wikipedia you may be deluding yourself. Quite possibly you get a compulsory dose of it every morning in regurgitated form in your newspaper and watch it every evening on TV. 

Only a few media organisations have the 'resources' to do any 'research' into these matters - one's like the New York Times, which is a fervent backer of the cause, could it be in the interests of both the Democratic party and the Carbon Traders of Wall Street? - and the BBC. But the BBC held a meeting at which several climate experts were invited to see if there were any doubts or controversies about the climate change science, and these experts said certainly not! So the BBC has no worries. However, just to be on the safe side, it has officially designated the names of the experts it consulted a 'secret'. Like the temperature readings used by the University of East Anglia to arrive at the conclusion that the world is overheating, these sources can never be revealed. 

Now the 'science of global warming', which is to say, the notion that man-made CO2 has caused, and is set increasingly to do so, the planet to warm slightly, is certainly not all the 'sceptical way' either. But let's not get hung up on that. For any number of reasons, the world 'could be' warming up, just as the theory insists. If it is, we need a rational discussion of both the effects, the implications and possible mitigation strategies. 

None of these can start without a full and open exchange of views and evidence. Wikipedia has systematically distorted both - and it continues to do so. 

Here there are no controversies about inaccurate temperature records, manipulated temperature graphs, melting glaciers, african famines, dehydrating rain-forests, or 'complete lists of greenhouse gases' that miss out the one that causes 90 % of the greenhouse effect - water vapour*. 

Yet even giving the lobby its man-made global warming:
• if temperature records are inaccurate, then remedial activities will be directed to the wrong regions
• if glaciers are not really melting then emergency action to provide replacement fresh water supplies to a billion people in Asia is, to say the least, not necessary
• if the rain-forests are not really dehydrating then it is still worth preserving the rain-forests, rather than converting them to 'biofuels', as is the current policy
• if water vapour accounts for virtually all the greenhouse effect, then the economic value and utility of capturing other gases is functionally nil...

One could go on - but why bother? There is no debate, only propaganda. Whether Wikipedia is as we are asked to believe, just a rudderless ship being tossed here and there on the tides of prevailing opinion, I personally doubt. The bias is careful, subtle and very, very thorough. It involves wholesale abuse of the supposed principles of the site - the right of 'everyone' to edit pages and the expulsion of those who make changes that are 'off message' (like my new page on sceptical views). 

Let's leave the last word to Jimmy Wales, nominally at least, the benign dictator controlling the world's most consulted encyclopaedia. I asked him (by email) if anything about the coverage of Climate Change there had worried him, given that it was not neutral at all, and was generated in ways contrary to his claimed principle that 'all editors are equal'. In a characteristically unreflective reply, he wrote: 

"There exists a long line of people who, when their extremist agenda is not accepted into Wikipedia, accuse the community of bias."
Jimmy Wales, 15 Febuary 2010
Jimmy may or may not be worried about the goings on at Wikipedia. But the rest of us should be. 


About those frightening images... The 'source' is the Goddard Institute, and Gavin Schmidt, editor of (set up by the PR company that Al Gore's environmental advisor was a staffer for), and former home of Wikipedia editing supremo, William Connoley. Does Wikipedia note that Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann - of the now discredited 'hockey stick' graph are both colleagues and chums? Or that the Goddard is run by James Hansen, one of Global Warming Theories' founding fathers, so to speak, who has such an 'extreme' position the matter that he has fallen out with most of the others in the pro-camp. Quoting them is like quoting Liverpool Supporters Club on 'who are the greatest' football team. Or maybe like using George Monbiot's vegetable patch as a marker for global climate change. Look at the small print too- Gavin and co admit that their 'record temperatures' result from spikes in measurements in the Arctic and 'parts' of the Antarctic - data sources that are considered so poor that the Met Office and other climate centrers do not incorporate at all into their models. But the Goddard not only uses these dubious statistics, as they say themselves, they then mathematically extrapolate them 'over the entire land mass' - obtaining many more record high temperatures!)]] 

1. Quotes from Wikipedia pages are from versions downloaded on 16 February 2010. The numbers in square brackets are left in to indicate the WIkipedia footnote gobbledegook. 

2. Lawrence Solomon,evidently confused by WIkipedia's jargon, makes some large over-estimates of the influence of Connolley. I'm grateful to the Wikipedia Review for additional details on William Connolley's activities. 

2. For those who are interested, the temperature records for the Siberia and China have been shown to have been deliberately falsified, while a much-quoted temperature-survey supposedly demonstrating only as small 'urban heat' effect contained key assertions that were impossible -that is, were flat lies. The key temperature graph of the IPCC report the so-called Hockey Stick graph, was inserted 3 times prominently by its inventor in one IPCC report, but then having been extensively discredited - notably for having 'ironed out' all evidence of past changes in temperature, not included at all in the next.The IPCC claim that all the ice in the Himalayas would have melted by 2035 was discredited when it was pointed out that it came from just one scientist, linked to the IPCC's chief, who had no evidence to back it up, and instead a personal interest in the advancing of the claim. The IPCC predictions of massive crop failure in Sub-Saharan Africa and the disappearance of the rainforests due to lack of rain followed the same pattern - one 'partisan' source, not peer-reviewed. Indeed, when spotted, they were flatly rejected by relevant specialists. But that debate has been suppressed - up to now!

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Very interesting article Why am I not at all surprised

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