“Cherry Picking at its finest!”

Christopher Booker, one of the founders of “Private Eye”, is a frequent contributor to the Telegraph, a UK newspaper.  He has written numerous controversial columns for the Telegraph since 1990, many of which dispute the conclusions of the IPCC on climate change.

This activity has gained him recognition as one of the leading Denialists in the world. He has been exposed  in the leading site Skeptical Science – something he would probably regard as an honour.

His most recent column in the Telegraph, entitled “The Climate Change Brigade are wrong again”, takes issue with a projection that devastating heat waves, such as experienced in Europe in 2003, will be the norm by 2040.

Booker is skilled in the Private Eye style of ridicule. In his column, he characterizes the Committee on Climate Change established under the UK Climate Change Act as a “curious body.”  After pointing out that none of the distinguished members of the Committee are climatologists, he comments that their conclusions were simply parroted from elsewhere.  In one case referred to by Booker, that “elsewhere” was the UK Met Office.

Booker is skilled at “cherry picking” data, the most effective and most erroneous weapon of denialism.  In his column he refers to numerous hot summers in the UK – “1976, followed by 1911, with 1933 and 1947 not far behind.” On these facts Booker concludes:

“To claim that temperatures like those of 2003 “are expected to become the norm” by the 2040s, is simply selling us snake oil.”

Any amateur climatologist could have set him straight on two points:  first, what counts is not four summers over one hundred years but the trend to hotter summers, and, secondly, the relevant trend is global and not the just the temperature experienced in the UK. ( N.B. There is no “brexit” from the global climate!)

George Monbiot created a satirical competition for inaccurate climate change journalism entitled  “The Christopher Booker Prize”. On the basis of his Telegraph column, Booker is a strong favourite to win the 2016 award established in his honour.

 

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