concerns about article "Momentum on Climate Pact...

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concerns about article "Momentum on Climate Pact...

Postby Kevin » Thu Sep 24, 2009 2:28 pm

Dear New York Times Public Editor,

I would like to raise concerns with regard to accuracy in scientific reporting, and opining in the guise of reporting, around this recent Andrew Revkin article in the New York Times:

Momentum on Climate Pact Is Elusive
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/23/scien ... 3cool.html

"The world leaders who met at the United Nations to discuss climate change on Tuesday are faced with an intricate challenge: building momentum for an international climate treaty at a time when global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years."

The entire article is based upon two unfounded presumptions:

One assumption is that there is a likelihood worthy of reporting that, "global temperatures have been relatively stable for a decade and may even drop in the next few years."

This appears to be factually incorrect as a matter of science. I would appreciate your concrete review.

The other assumption is that somehow real time global temperature effects - and even some hypothetical effects in the future - present some kind of direct challenge to current climate discussions.

This is a point of dubious opinion, broadly unsupportable by logic. Keep in mind that the "average global temperature" is not directly perceptible by any human senses, but exists only as a matter of scientific data collection and analysis. As an abstract value, it has no tangible existence, let alone any form of independent political influence.

I think you will find, despite the sometimes harsh tone of (understandable, I believe) frustration, that Revkin's "facts" in this article are substantively contradicted, in detail, in this Joe Romm blog posting:

http://climateprogress.org/2009/09/22/n ... oling-myt/

In fact, it appears one specific order of magnitude value correction may have already been incorporated in the article from that posting - without notation of change or attribution - while the fundamentally misleading thrust of the article remains quite intact.

The facts around climate change are a matter of first importance. I doubt sincerely that this Times article does them any fair kind of justice.

In light of these considerations, I would respectfully suggest that either a retraction or a comprehensive and accurate correction may well be in order.

With best wishes,

Kevin Matthews
Editor in Chief
ArchitectureWeek




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