Staring down denial: The Australian forced to correct story, admits sea rise linked to global warming

Today a good news story.

Readers may recall The Australian published a misleading story on sea level rise (see WtD here) earlier this week. Many people in the science community expressed their frustration: not only with The Australian’s blatant misrepresentation of the paper referenced in the story, but with their continuing “war on science”.

I’m pleased to say there has been an encouraging development – The Australian has been forced to print a correction in page 2 of today’s printed edition (hat tip JonDee):


Perhaps it was the general outcry from scientists or the widespread and rapid response from the blogging and science community (see Graham Readfearn’s superb article) – whatever prompted this correction it is encouraging news.

It also offers a salient lesson: it is possible to stare down the denial machine.


Crikey reports: “Crikey understands the scientist relied on in Lloyd’s story to back up the claim of sea level rise not being linked to warming, the CSIRO’s Dr John Church, has expressed disappointment with that story. At least one environment group has complained to The Oz about the story. The Australian has been criticised in the past for running stories which some perceive as misrepresenting the science on anthropogenic climate change, but it has rarely issued corrections on its climate change stories.”

Graham Readfern writes: “Lloyd’s story ran on January 15, the day after he had decided to criticise the national broadcaster for the way it was covering climate change in a week-long series of stories from the ABC’s environment correspondent Sarah Clarke. Essentially, Lloyd’s rather churlish argument seemed to be that Clarke hadn’t interviewed the people he would have interviewed and cited facts in the way that he would have cited them. Discussing an ABC report on sea level rise, Lloyd wrote: “But the ABC did not mention recent scientific findings that there was no firm link to sea-level rises and climate change in the 20th century.” Oh the irony, it burns. To me, it seems a little rich for a journalist who is able to invert the findings of a science paper to feel confident enough to publicly lecture other journalists…”

18 thoughts on “Staring down denial: The Australian forced to correct story, admits sea rise linked to global warming

  1. john byatt says:

    ABC Unleashed allowed this through

    john byatt :
    17 Jan 2013 9:43:34am
    I see that the religious fundamentalists have given up pushing creation science and now concentrate on propaganda trying to discredit climate science,

    because they believe that revelations with it’s nonsense about OWG is coming true.

    Yep, we are all in cohorts with the anti-christ,
    otherwise we are saying that the right wing politicians do not understand science

    check QLD MP Andrew Powell out for confirmation of his fundamentalist ideology


    Reply Alert moderator

    replies , if any could be interesting?

    • john byatt says:

      That is about the fifth time that I have had the final comment at ABC

      pure coincidence

      • Watching the Deniers says:

        Ha! Last words for John!

      • john byatt says:

        about the second or third time it happened, the justgrounds retards decided that I must be one of the moderators there, rejecting their crap and putting up mine, I had had about ten rejected myself that same story thread.


  2. Jon Dee says:

    The story has actually been totally pulled from the Australian’s web site. More detail on that here in my Twitter feed:

  3. Specifying volcanic activity as the excuse is suspicious, it is well known that the effects from these events are short lived, dust and aerosols disperse and disappear after a year or two and conditions return to normal. Of course these singular events have always occurred at fairly regular intervals from time immemorial so even if they do have a long term effect they are no more than natural background noise that happen century after century. And as such would have always been factored into computer models for their predictions and scenarios.

    It is pure politics to uncritically crow over a printed correction but in reality the science behind the correction sucks and while it was considered that the original article was misleading the correction is even more misleading.

    Unless it is all about point scoring, in which case congratulations!

    • Sammy Jankis says:

      Thanks, Frank! I look forward to the publication of your analysis in Nature, and the subsequent retraction of the all the papers published on sea level rise and climate change that didn’t take into account your insights above. Keep us updated won’t you?

    • crank says:

      Expecting a job offer from Chris Mitchell- ‘Groom of the Stool’ in His Madship’s ‘Necessary Office’, perhaps?

  4. john byatt says:

    email reply from Craig Kelly.

    Hi John,

    Thanks for the link.

    It amazing how a few historical facts have upset a small handful of people.

    Perhaps we are best to round up all Watkin Tench’s record’s and burn them, so they are never repeated again.


    Craig Kelly
    Federal Member for Hughes

    explained his confusion again between syndey temp and an average temp for the whole continent , and replied , may not hear again

    So he did not even get it when he read tamino’s post, this person is in denial

  5. john byatt says:

    Perfect NONSENSO
    – by Horatio Algeranon

    Tisdale claims “it’s ENSO”
    Rawls is claiming “It’s the sun”
    Tis the SUNSO
    Makes perfect SENSO
    Welcome to the Wattsup fun

    • Nick says:

      Tisdale: arrogant idiot. Rawls: ditto with bells on,and a complete political nutjob.

      Such fools abuse the freedom of the internet.

  6. crank says:

    Isn’t it about time to start putting the heat on the most villainous denialists. Why not get some lawyers to draw up draft legislation for prosecuting crimes against humanity by destroying the habitability of the planet for our species. Public input could then be invited to help refine the laws, and when we finally, if ever, get a non criminally and morally insane Government (if ever) they could be ready to go. Naturally there would be no Statute of Limitations for these, in my opinion, plainly the greatest crimes in history. And, of course, as at Nuremberg where Streicher got his just desserts, the propagandists for ecological destruction must get their day in court, too.

  7. […] The Deniers casts his eye over The Australian’s humiliating sea-level retraction and the bizarre fictions of Liberal Party backbencher Craig […]

  8. […] 2013/01/16: WtD: Staring down denial: The Australian forced to correct story, admits sea rise linked… […]

  9. […] in this case The Australian was forced acknowledge the article was factually incorrect, even going so far to issue a rare […]

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