tip off

Poor Piers Perplexed by Paraphrase.

Piers has a stinging response to the Independent’s claim, highlighted here by us and here by Mediawatch, that he was the original source of a quote attributed to the first chair of the IPCC Sir John Houghton.

How that remark came to be slightly paraphrased in the quotation sent to me we shall probably never know. It’s possible that someone, somewhere in cyberspace tidied up Houghton’s original remark before including it in the material which was sent to me. That sort of thing occurs in the blogosphere.

So the quote is wrong then? It didn’t come from his 1994 book?

… published in The Sunday Telegraph (UK) on September 10, 1995, in which Houghton told writer Frances Welch: “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”

So that’d be a no to that too then? And when did you find the reference to the 1995 quote?

Yesterday

Did if take much research to find that article, considering it had a completely different quote to the one you were looking for?

I was forwarded an article

Oh, so someone found it for you. So that means that it wasn’t amongst the information from “numerous scientists who have provided me with information which undermines the IPCC’s reports over the past decade” then?

So you can’t find the original quote, you don’t know who paraphrased the quote, and you only found what you are now claiming to be the original quote when someone sent it to you yesterday? Is that right? OK, glad we’ve got that cleared up.

Let’s take a look at the ‘real’ quote then, the one that’s not from Sir John’s 1994 book.

“If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster.”

Is that all he said, or was there more to the quote which might add some context? There was more? Well let’s look at the whole thing then, shall we?

“If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.”

Hmm, that doesn’t sound like a blueprint for climate change alarmism to me, it sounds more like a reflection on the inertia of humankind, but to each his own.

I’m glad that this has all been cleared up, it’s nice to know that the root of the problem was nothing more than some sloppy paperwork.

61
  • 1
    twobob
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    LOL @ Piers

  • 2
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    So you can’t find the original quote, you don’t know who paraphrased the quote, and you only found what you are now claiming to be the original quote when someone sent it to you yesterday? Is that right? OK, glad we’ve got that cleared up.

    It makes you wonder what other assertions he’s made that are based on such…er….flimsy evidence and sloppy research.

  • 3
    monkeywrench
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    …“numerous scientists who have provided me with information which undermines the IPCC’s reports over the past decade”
    Name ten. Just ten.

  • 4
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    You know for a “little website” (© Piers), Crikey packs a big mafa punch.

  • 5
    gregc09
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    to be fair…. it’s not hard to see how someone coming at the world from a particular mindset might read into the actual quote a potential inclination on the part of the author to exaggerate to help encourage action re warming. But yes, it doesn’t actually say that… you need to ‘read it’ that way. Certainly plenty of comments on Mr Akerman’s blog appear to want to read it that way.

    I have just braved a first foray into making a comment on Mr Akerman’s blog. Simply mentioning that when Jone’s says that the data cannot reject (at a statistically reliable level) that no warming has occurred since 1995 is not the same as saying no warming has occurred. Unfortunately, the response was to suggest I stop trying to be a lawyer because I’m not smart enough. (Which is probably true!) But which seems to be a case of ignoring the point entirely…. perhaps to be expected. I live and learn…..

  • 6
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    That was patently false but then The Independent was not interested in accuracy. It was interested in discrediting me, as was Crikey, as was the ABC, …

    No, Piers. We’re interested in documenting the ways you discredit yourself.

  • 7
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    gregc09: Yes, I see where your coming from, but frankly I have no sympathy at all. These people are paid vast sums of money to pass commentary on matters they are unqualified to judge. Given that, at the very least one would expect they would fact check and research properly instead of just latching onto what appear to them to be convenient quotes or facts or straight out inventing stuff.

    On the earlier thread someone mentioned that legal action from misrepresented researchers might be the only way for our columnists to be accountable for what they claim. Half-arsed pathetic apologies are simply not good enough as a deterrent or preventative measure.

  • 8
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I’d just like to correct you confessions, I don’t believe that there was any kind of apology in Piers’ article today.

  • 9
    gregc09
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    confessions: I agree. My so far brief experience at the Akerman blog is quickly persuading me that he is not all that interested in a reasonable exchange of views… (I have become “poor gregc09″ over there for not getting it). Which is hardly surprising… I guess he is not in the business of a “market place of ideas” where in the end the better arguments tend to survive.

    One that I’ve often thought would be interesting to watch is if one of the commentators such as Akerman or Bolt who are not persuaded by the science underlying AGW were to actually try to attend a normal academic research workshop where one of the supposedly pro-AGW papers was being presented. Perhaps they’d at least see then that research is a bloody competitive environment!…not the sort of place where everyone just toes the party line…

  • 10
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    Your right, sorry DAve!

  • 11
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    Gods, and they complain about the IPCC’s citations.

    After all, Sir John had not contacted me to complain and he had four years in which to do so.

    It is just possible, Piers, that Sir John is not in the habit of picking up a copy of the Sydney version of the Daily Tele on his way to work at the Hadley Centre in Exeter.

    It will take a day or two at least to reach the numerous scientists who have provided me with information which undermines the IPCC’s reports over the past decade.

    Yes, because if I was a scientist with information undermining the IPCC’s reports, Piers Akerman is certainly the first person I’d turn to.

    Unfortunately for The Independent, Crikey and the ABC, my call to international scientists has borne fruit.

    I do not think “scientists” means what you think it means, Piers.

    Ah Piers, you’re adorable.

  • 12
    podrick
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Confessions @2 “It makes you wonder what other assertions he’s made that are based on such…er….flimsy evidence and sloppy research.”

    Heiner springs to mind.

  • 13
    ShaunHC
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I guess there’s no point writing the full quote in at Piers’ blog is there?

  • 14
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    It is just possible, Piers, that Sir John is not in the habit of picking up a copy of the Sydney version of the Daily Tele on his way to work at the Hadley Centre in Exeter.

    Actually, that might be Wales, not Exeter. Wales… New South Wales – it’s practically the same thing, right?

  • 15
    monkeywrench
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps all readers are not as erudite as AndrewS and need reminding that Jones East Anglia Climate Research Unit corrupted science to provide phoney evidence of global warming. Thus it is worth demonstrating that this fraud now admits there has been no global warming since the mid-90s and that he was wrong about almost everything else.

    Piers Akerman
    Thu 18 Feb 10 (01:01pm)

    I would have thought this was worth a writ, apart from being scientifically the biggest load of balls since the last soccer World Cup.

  • 16
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    There’s also this bit of woe-is-meism:

    Connor was playing ambush journalism and Houghton had never and still has not contacted me. That did not alter anything as his agenda was clearly to discredit the messenger (me)

    That a man is trying to clear his name from accusations of words he never uttered obviously hasn’t entered his head. The apparent victimhood mentality with these people is indeed telling.

  • 17
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    Monkeywrench: holy shit! That is appalling. If someone can take a screenshot of his comment and post it here I’ll email it to the university’s legal section.

  • 18
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    There’s also this reply to a commenter:

    Stephen, you really should read an article before commenting on it. Unless you have an intellectual disability, and are incapable of understanding plain English.
    Piers Akerman
    Thu 18 Feb 10 (01:03pm)

    Why would having an intellectual disability necessarily preclude someone from either being able to read an article or understanding what they’ve read? That’s quite offensive, isn’t it? In fact most of his replies to commenters who disagree with him are straight out personal attacks with no attempt to refute people’s comments. And he has the temerity to be uppity with Media watch and this site for doing what he perceived was precisely the same thing.

    How surprisement.

  • 19
    monkeywrench
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Confessions: Akerman screenshot

  • 20
    DeanL
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t if funny that those that scream the loudest about apparent inaccuracies or errors in the science seem to be the worst at reaching the required standards in their own researching and recounting? There’s a word for that isn’t there…hyp-something-or-other.

  • 21
    twobob
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

    Confessions I have a screenshot of it but how can I post it here?
    Here is the url its about 1/3 way down the page.

  • 22
    monkeywrench
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Confessions, Akerman has been getting more abusive toward his commenters of late. Some of his contrary posters actually put sensible points, to which he replies with some of the most insulting and ignorant language in the blogosphere. He really is a great big bag of rage, this guy.

  • 23
    twobob
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    He really is a great big {C’mon twobob, you know that we’re not allowed to say that about people – Dave} monkeywrench.
    His line Thus it is worth demonstrating that this fraud now admits there has been no global warming since the mid-90s and that he was wrong about almost everything else.
    Is demonstrably and factually false. Isn’t that a lie?

  • 24
    Chuggle
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Geez – I know we shouldn’t stoop to Piers’ level, but it’s extremely difficult not to use expletives or creative nouns when referring to him. We’ll just have to use our imaginations to work out what twobob was trying to say… shouldn’t be too hard :)

  • 25
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks everyone, I just sent this email to the VC of the University of East Anglia and the CRU.

    Dear Profs Acton and Liss

    I am an Australian based researcher at XXXX University in Australia. I have recently come across this statement about the CRU and Prof Phil Jones by Australian tabloid columnist Piers Akerman which I believe warrants your attention. Mr Akerman has made this remark on his blog which is owned by News Ltd tabloid The Daily Telegraph.

    http://i864.photobucket.com/albums/ab210/wiremu_photos/Akerman.jpg

    Mr Akerman is currently embroiled in a controversy after falsely attributed statements to the first Chair of the IPCC, Sir John Houghton. I understand it has been reported in the UK media that Sir Houghton is considering legal action to rectify the public record. A report on the matter by Australia's public broadcaster the ABC is attached.

    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s2820429.htm

    Best wishes,

  • 26
    returnedman
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Click on the Independent link … there’s a nastily serendipitous juxtaposition of a photo of Lord Monckton and … well, a link to another story with a picture of a lemur with … uh … rather distinctive eyes.

    I hate to admit I had to stifle a rather girlish titter.

  • 27
    beej
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Connor was playing ambush journalism and Houghton had never and still has not contacted me. That did not alter anything as his agenda was clearly to discredit the messenger (me) and, through that, strike a blow for the warmists, those who have been distorting and withholding data, manipulating scientific evidence and falsifying reports.

    Pot…kettle….drink….

    Piers’ panicked, preposterous, postulations providing people pleasure.

  • 28
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    I reckon we need a t-shirt to match the “University of East Bumcrack – cooler since 2000″.

    How about “Akerman University – Paraphrasing since 2006″?

  • 29
    mondo rock
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Gawd – it’s appalling to read all his sychophants trying to spin Piers’ smearing of Houghton into a charge that it is Piers who is being smeared.

    These people are lunatics, and Piers’ comments point to a mind that has become thoroughly unhinged.

  • 30
    ShaunHC
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I find it rather interesting that the headline of Piers post is:

    “Malicious bullets fired by the global warmists’ guns”

    I guess malicious bullets are only allowed from his side.

    It would appear that if he writes inaccurate rubbish and someone correct him that is malicious. How does that work?

  • 31
    ShaunHC
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    These people are lunatics, and Piers’ comments point to a mind that has become thoroughly unhinged.

    I concur with that. Absolute lunatic scribblings. Can’t even make it to the end of one.

  • 32
    monkeywrench
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Why not let Piers himself fill in Twobob’s blanks:
    you are a halfwit, Get off the gear or see a shrink,, The only thing that smells, Fink, is your lack of intellect.

  • 33
    podrick
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    Mondo @29 Add in John Jay’s ramblings and it get’s really sad, then to top it off someone always replies with well said JJ. Piers said in a reply that he is on Insiders this Sunday, I wonder if he will use it as forum to defend himself or if one of the Couch Collective will bait him with it.

  • 34
    Sancho
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I love that the Tele’s comment system invites you to add emoticons. It’s like saying, “please take part in this mature debate regarding important issues of the day. And here’s a link to some Hannah Montana videos! Yay! We’re grown-ups!”

  • 35
    mondo rock
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Podrick – we can only hope that someone on Insiders grants us the entertainment manna that would be a confrontation of Piers on this issue. Oh how I want to watch that!

  • 36
    Gibbot
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Pure Poison pwns Petulant Piers’ Propagating Preposterous Porky Pies.

    Couldn’t help myself. I blame Dave.

  • 37
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

    “please take part in this mature debate regarding important issues of the day. And here’s a link to some Hannah Montana videos! Yay! We’re grown-ups!”

    I hear that line spoken by Ralph Wiggum…

  • 38
    BoldenwAter
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    When I grow up I want to go to bovine university, just like Piers.

    Piers perpetually priceless propaganda per

  • 39
    Cuppa
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    He sure is a glutton … for punishment.

  • 40
    heavylambs
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

    I hope Andrew Bolt is keeping an eye on Piers progress…’cos the sad old bugger’s living out the young fogey’s destiny.

  • 41
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    Piers’ priceless platitudes purport to portray propriety pursuant to his profession, protecting his perfunctory proclamations pertaining to perpetrators of public panic. Such perilous proclivities are a pungent pretense; a ploy perpetuated by Piers’ peers in pursuit of patent, paranoid propaganda. Pillorying is Piers’ parry, but profound peridiscombobulations protrude.

    (And yes, I am quite sure they’ll say I’m, like, a crazy person.)

  • 42
    confessions
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    Well I’ve had a reply to my email from the East Anglia University Vice Chancellor’s office:

    Dear XXXX
    The Vice-Chancellor has asked me to thank you for your email and for drawing these matters to our attention. This is now being looked into and we are grateful for you taking the time to contact us.

    Best wishes
    Lisa

    ‘Lisa’ signs as the Senior Assistant Registrar. Let’s hope this results in something that forces these columnists to be accountable for the bile they spew.

  • 43
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Just was reading the judgement in the Talbot v Nationwide News case. Interesting observations by the judge.

  • 44
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Funniest part of this episode, for mine, was Blair’s declaration that Piers’ piece “deals with this”. Well that’s that then.

  • 45
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I suspect News Ltd have reminded Piers that his column is getting..ah..expensive.

  • 46
    Gibbot
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Great work, Confessions. Can’t wait to see how this unfolds.

  • 47
    ShaunHC
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I suspect News Ltd have reminded Piers that his column is getting..ah..expensive.

    Costs/Benefits – as long as he brings in more than he costs, he’s ok.

  • 48
    confessions
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    This morning I’ve had a further email from the university:

    [Dear XXXX

    Thanks for kindly bringing this to our attention. We’ll look into it and take action as appropriate.

    Kind regards,

    Simon

    Simon Dunford, Press Officer,
    University of East Anglia,
    Norwich, NR4 7TJ.
    Tel:+44 (0)1603 592203
    http://www.uea.ac.uk/comm

    It would seem this matter is indeed being taken seriously.

  • 49
    confessions
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I don’t know if that reply is still on his blog but I’ve replied to the Simon Dunford email with a direct link to the blog post itself which I’d forgotten in my initial correspondence.

  • 50
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    Well done confessions. Hope they do something about it considering it has been so misrepresented over a long time.

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