The Australian has earned the ire of one of the world’s leading science magazines, Scientific American, for its weekend report  that climate scientists have cut their worst-case forecast for global warming over the next century.

It’s been a big yarn. The account of a draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in The Australian has even featured on the Arts & Letters Daily website.

Scientific American, however, isn’t impressed – with either the story or the reporting of the report. “When science news reporters take their cues from other news reporters rather than from the scientific literature itself, problems often result,” John Rennie writes on the editorial blog:

There’s topspin on that presentation of what’s in the draft of the new IPCC report (which, being a draft, is still a work in progress). My colleague George Musser has been looking at this draft, too (so much for it being “obtained exclusively by The Weekend Australian“)…

It’s not that the IPCC’s climate scientists have lowered their forecasts for the worst case scenarios. As the researchers at RealClimate explain, the new report is tightening the estimates for climate sensitivity to a doubling of preindustrial CO2 levels; a forecast would be somewhat different…

Ouch! But there appears to be a touch of academic bitchiness here – Scientific American has the report but presumably can’t yet use it.

Peter Fray

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