Credit where credit is due, and I admit I never thought I would say this about local climate pseudosceptic Richard Treadgold – but “good on you mate.”
I have often got into heated debate with this guy – my main concern being his willingness to effectively accuse honest climate scientists, include New Zealand scientists, of scientific fraud. He also has a bad habit of misrepresenting climate science and climate scientists on his blog Climate Conversation Group. I have often raised with him his moral obligation to apologise for such misrepresentation and accusations (see Apologies would be nice).
Without result. But now he has apologised for recently misrepresenting local climate scientist Dr James Renwick (see Hide sticks it to Renwick, Renowden a scaring warmist, and Renwick blames drought on man-made global warming, which has been now changed to Renwick doesn’t blame AGW for drought).
In his post today, Climate porkies from TV One, Richard actually says (and we have to get this on record):
“I apologise to Dr Renwick for misquoting him so badly — that is, over a statement so disastrously incorrect.”
So, good on you, Richard.
This whole incident started with Richards thoughtless endorsement (Hide sticks it to Renwick) of a snakey NBR article by failed NZ ultra-conservative politician Rodney Hide (see Faith, not facts, drives global warming) and I won’t rehash the time line here (read my posts “Incontrovertible” is it, Rodney?, Confusion and distortion – has global warming stopped? and Pseudosceptics are at it again – misrepresenting and attacking climate scientists for details).
Richard admits he wrote his misleading posts “after reading the transcript and studying the video,” but the final blow for him seems to be Renwick’s email which “politely confirmed that he never blamed the drought on global warming: “This is just not so.””
I believe the transcript and video were extremely clear and am surprised Richard’s apology only came after personal confirmation from Renwick (see transcript at Lack of govt leadership on climate change – Renwick, and video of interview at Q+A: Corin Dann interviews Dr James Renwick).
Mind you, some other climate pseudosceptics are more resistant than Richard. On of the commenters on Richards blog responded to Renwick’s confirmation by accusing him of “splitting hairs.” And one faithful climate change denier on twitter I debated refused to take the video and transcript as evidence – instead claiming that the offending claim had been made while the camera wasn’t running, or had been edited out. Poor soul.
I am also aware that local climate change pseudosceptics will have not qualms twisting Renwick’s confirmation into another misrepresentation. Some of the commenters on Richard’s blog already seem to be doing so. Renwick’s confirmation – that he never declared global warming had directly caused our recent extreme drought and that there was no other explanation - to mean he claims that global warming will play no role in future extreme weather events. Richard himslef comments:
“. . it’s useful to have his firm statement on record that weather events are not caused by global warming. Everyone and his dog has been looking around at this warm record or that storm and saying that’s global warming, we’re all doomed. It will be handy to slap them with Renwick’s authoritative statement.”
Let’s be clear, the current scientific thought is that while one can never prove a direct link to specific events, global warming will probably increase the frequency of such extreme weather events in the future. Renwick made this clear in the interview – read the transcript Richard.
Meanwhile, I hope Treagold’s ethical chickens really have come home to roost for good – there are still a few apologies outstanding. For example his egregious claim that NIWA scientists had manipulated New Zealand temperature data to create evidence for warming (see his infamous article “Are we getting warmer yet?” and my posts New Zealand’s denier-gate and Painted into a corner?).
However, let’s celebrate this rather rare event – a scientists getting an apology foir their misrepresentation.
There’s a few other New Zealand bloggers who should take note and start thinking about their own ethical obligations.