Factcheck - Ann Widdecombe on climate in the Daily Express

  • 04 Aug 2011, 16:00
  • Verity Payne

In her Daily Express column, novelist and former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe uses current controversy over a US researcher being suspended for scientific misconduct to advocate reducing goverment funding into climate science research.

Ms Widdecombe seems to feel that the suspension of Dr Charles Monnett, which we wrote about here, justifies her sceptical stance on manmade climate change, suggesting:

"That scientists are now being challenged is a sure sign that somebody somewhere knows they may have been getting it wrong."

She then shares her take on climate science, noting:

"The Hadley Centre itself, on whose statistics the claims for global warming are largely based, has shown through those same figures that there has been no change in Earth's temperature for a decade despite record carbon emissions."

This gets a number of points wrong. The Hadley Centre supply just one of five major global temperature records. The other four are collected by NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), and by the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

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Polar bear scientist transcript reveals bizarre nature of investigation

  • 04 Aug 2011, 13:42
  • Christian Hunt

The scientist whose work discovered polar bears drowning as a result of melting ice in the Arctic - spawning millions of cuddly climate change images - is being cross examined by criminal investigators five years after the study was published.

Dr Charles Monnett of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) in the United States has been questioned by staff from the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Interior about whether he sighted three or four dead polar bears before his 2006 study.

Climate sceptics are already claiming the investigation reveals once again that the science of global warming is suspect, while his supporters fear Dr Monnett is victim of a "witch hunt" - he was suspended as BOEMRE considers permits for oil companies to expand drilling in Alaska.

The scientist was sent home on July 18 this year with the department citing "integrity issues" relating to his current $50 million study of polar bears. He returned to work on Monday.

A transcript of his initial interview in February, which we have edited and posted today shows that the investigators had a particular interest in the 2006 study and the number of polar bears. It appears they aimed to challenge the science behind the claim bears were dying as a result of climate change.

However, the transcript also shows Dr Monnett's belief that his own department did not want to find evidence of climate change damaging native species, and were hostile to the findings of the study.

This specific allegation come in the same month a report to the US Congress revealed that the Department of Interior was itself at "high risk" of fraud, waste, abuse and mismanagement. The US government has also failed to collect billions in royalties from oil companies, according to the Guardian.

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The polar bear transcript: the edited highlights

  • 04 Aug 2011, 00:00
  • Christian Hunt

Sceptics claim the fact Dr Charles Monnett was interviewed about his 2006 study showing that polar bears were a victim of climate change undermines the science of global warming. Dr Monnott's supporters claim he is being victimised while government departments are more concerned about drilling oil than conservation. Read the transcript from the interview with the Office of the Inspector General.

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Government denies press claims on £200 ‘green tax’ cost

  • 01 Aug 2011, 11:00
  • Neil Roberts

Recent media claims that government energy and climate policies are adding £200 to household energy bills are " untrue" the Department of Energy and Climate Change said yesterday.

DECC was responding to a barrage of recent claims about how much climate policies are contributing to fuel bills.

The Mail in particular claimed (as reported in detail by the Carbon Brief) that DECC energy efficiency and carbon reduction policies are adding around £200 a year of the average energy bill. This figure came from Lord Lawson's skeptic lobby group, the GWPF, but didn't seem to accord with estimates from Ofgem and DECC.

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