In Sunday night’s program, Tara Brown based her assertion that there is still substantial doubt about the science of global warming on one interviewee, whom she used extensively: David Evans. She introduced him by implication as an “eminent scientist”.

A quick Google search would have shown that David Evans is not a scientist, let alone an eminent one. He is a software engineer.

He describes himself (in jest?) as a “rocket scientist”, by which he simply means he has an impressive maths-based degree (in Electrical Engineering in his case) from a prominent US university. He is not a climatologist and has published nothing in climate science literature. His role at the Australian Greenhouse Office was writing computer software.

He has presented to the Lavoisier Group, a right-wing lobby group known for their denial of climate science.

Interestingly, the Lavoisier Group was founded by Ray Evans, Executive Officer of Western Mining Corporation, while David Evans’ views have been cited by Richard Evans of the Australian Retailers Association to support his own opposition to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Are the three Evans related? I’ve no idea, but if I were a journalist running a story about David Evans, I’d make it my business to find out.

Everything David Evans said on the program has been resoundingly refuted, and this is also easily found online. Tara Brown could have interviewed any one of a number of real Australian climate scientists for the counter-arguments. And more fundamentally, if David Evans had a scientific case, he should publish it, not on 60 Minutes, but in a reputable scientific journal. He hasn’t, and he couldn’t, because his argument is full of holes and wouldn’t make it past peer review.

Ordinarily, this kind of sloppy journalism would be par for the course for 60 Minutes. But when the world is facing a genuine climate emergency (see, this is unforgivably irresponsible.

I expect a written response to these questions:

  1. Will Channel Nine investigate this complaint?
  2. Does Channel Nine agree that David Evans is in fact not a scientist, let alone an eminent scientist?
  3. Does Channel Nine agree that he was misrepresented as an eminent scientist on your program on 17th August?
  4. Will Channel Nine publish a correction and an interview with a genuine “eminent scientist” (such as Michael Raupach, Barry Brook or Barrie Pittock)?
  5. What action will Channel Nine take to ensure this kind of mistake is not repeated on your news and current affairs programs?

For references on most of the above, see SourceWatch.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey