Dec 3, 2013

Dangerous rubbish: AFR letters ed lashed for contrarian climate paper

A leading oceanographer has rubbished a climate change paper co-authored by a leading Financial Review journalist, saying the paper "makes things up".

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter


A leading oceanographer has blasted as “dangerous and foolhardy” a scientific paper, co-written by a senior Australian Financial Review journalist, purporting to debunk conventional models of climate change-induced sea level rises.

The original paper — “Sea-level trend analysis for coastal management” — was published in the international journal Ocean & Coastal Management in March. AFR letters editor and editorial writer Mark Lawson co-wrote the paper, which used complex mathematical models to argue local councils had overreacted to the threat of rising sea levels. The lead author was a mysterious engine technology expert and former Fiat researcher who goes by the names Albert Parker and Alberto Boretti.

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11 thoughts on “Dangerous rubbish: AFR letters ed lashed for contrarian climate paper

  1. Chris Hartwell

    I’m an engineer. By and large, we’re smart people – we have to be, as we shape the world.

    But we still rarely comment on things outside our sphere. Especially when what we would say is contradicted by people who have specifically studied in the field that we haven’t yet are making comment on.

  2. Roger Clifton

    Extrapolating lines fitted with exponentials can only reflect steadily proceeding contributions to seawater such as the warming of the ocean mixing layer. Respected academics such as Doctor Hunter would be aware of looming breakouts that cannot be predicted in such a conservative manner or reported in such conservative forums as the IPCC.

    However we should not be requiring our climate or ocean scientists to defend their advice from adulteration by the wilfully ignorant. After all, they have important work to do.

    The journal clearly failed to recognise a denialist tone in the paper, or at least failed to appoint reviewers willing to assess its respectability.

  3. Hugh (Charlie) McColl

    I’m disappointed that Mark Lawson avoided claiming that the dog ate his homework. The man has no courage to match his convictions. But let’s not let him get away with the worst cowardly denial: “I can’t comment on the details of the scientific analysis, but on a broader level it’s clear the increases to sea levels to date to not justify the responses we have seen from councils.” Mark Lawson’s participation in this pathetic travesty shows that he is willing to comment on anything (at all) to do with climate science. He is tickled pink that an actual engineer asked him to contribute to a proper scientific (ha ha) paper – so ego-pumped that he can’t even recall what his contribution was. So, out with it Mark. Which were your actual words? Which parts of this denialist crap did you understand and when will you accept the contradiction about to be published in that learned, but now compromised, journal?

  4. Bill Laswelll

    “The journal clearly failed to recognise a denialist tone in the paper, or at least failed to appoint reviewers willing to assess its respectability.”

    well i don’t think any journal should reject a paper on ideological grounds

  5. Roger Clifton

    @Bill Laswell – It’s also called “smelling a rat”.

    Alas, profitability can all too often motivate an author to cherry-pick and misquote. That’s when an editor needs to ensure that the reviewers wont just tick a paper that looks well-funded and has impressive Figures.

    Sealevel records vary notoriously from place to place, because the land is often rising or sinking as fast as the sea is rising. Similarly localities can have varying sealevels depending on the amount of warm water delivered by an evolution of currents or sustained atmospheric pressure. The fact that this paper extensively uses single point sealevel histories does shout to the editor that the authors might have been cherry picking.

    Industries (such as real estate or infrastructure) that do not want their potential customers frightened off by prophecies of rising sea levels and increasingly violent storms might well be happy to fund research that leads to preferable conclusions, so the editor must be wary on that account as well.

  6. Liamj

    The AFR has been making up AGW-denial science for so long i assumed it was part of its busines model, just like News Corp(se).

  7. AR

    Lawson is a notorious troll over on The Conversation, anti everything midly progressive, green or .. sane.

  8. Keith Thomas

    Given the significance of the accusations – not just on ‘the science’, but on the grounds of academic respectability, can we not be told who the reviewers were?

  9. K.D. Afford

    Bernadi, et al, want to get the axe into the ABC as they cannot cope with honesty. You don’t have to look far in the printed press, so dominated by Murdoch, to also take affront at this article. We must make sure the integrity of the ABC is never compromised. Hooray for Crikey!

  10. leon knight

    Surely the best way to find out if the article is true, and offers safe advice for the next generations, is simply to ask Alan Jones or Andrew Bolt – both gentlemen brimming with knowledge, truth and human virtue , and thus rightfully trusted by our current LNP leaders..!!

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