UK Telegraph retracts and apologies for bogus Tata story, but doesn’t apologize to Pachauri for smear

European newspapers are retracting bogus climate stories almost as fast as they are printing them!

The UK Telegraph apologized last month for an erroneous piece by Christopher Booker (and another one with Richard North) smearing IPCC chief Rajendra Pachauri.

It deserves attention because the original story was widely reprinted by the anti-science crowd, because this retraction hasn’t gotten all lot of attention, and because the Telegraph chose not to apologize to the direct target of a smear:

Tata- an Apology

In reports in December 2009 we said that Tata had used the carbon trading scheme to transfer steel production from Redcar to India, pocketing £1.2 billion in carbon credits at the cost of 1700 jobs. We accept this was wrong. Redcar was mothballed because a 10-year steel contract was not honoured and the credits could never have amounted to £1.2 billion.

In addition, we accept Tata’s assurance that it did not displace “hundreds of thousands” of villagers from its sites in Orissa and Jharkhand and that at its new site in Orissa, Tata is providing new homes, jobs and facilities for the 1200 families which remained at the site.

We also accept Tata’s assurance that it has no relationship with the Chairman of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri.

We apologise for these errors.

The Telegraph appears to have taken down the pieces in question, but you can easily find them on right-wing websites by googling the titles:  “What links the Copenhagen conference with the steelworks closing in Redcar?” by Booker  and “Questions over business deals of UN climate change guru Dr Rajendra Pachauri” by Booker and North.

North, of course, was the anti-science blogger who spun up the erroneous Amazongate story (background here), which lead to a much-publicized retraction (see “Sunday Times retracts and apologizes for shameful and bogus Amazon story smearing IPCC“).  I can’t imagine why any newspaper, even a fairly disreputable anti-science one, would rely on his work, which has now contributed to embarrassing retractions and apologies.

But this apology clearly doesn’t go far enough.  Reading it, you would get the distinct impression that the only victim of the original errors/smears was Tata.  But here is how the original Booker article begins:

What is the connection between Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the Indian railway engineer who has been much in evidence at the Copenhagen climate conference, as chairman of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and an Indian-owned steel company’s decision to mothball its giant Teesside steel works next month, ripping the heart out of the town of Redcar by putting 1,700 people out of work?

Nothing of this complex story is likely to be heard in the dreary concrete shed outside Copenhagen where, as temperatures drop towards freezing, 17,000 prime ministers, officials and climate activists are earnestly discussing how the planet is warming up towards extinction. But it certainly sheds a little light on a colossal worldwide racket these delegates are helping to promote….

And the connection with Dr Pachauri? Directly there is no connection at all. But it just happens that Dr Pachauri’s other main job, apart from being chairman of the IPCC, is as director-general of the Tata Energy Research Institute, funded by Tata, which he has run since 1981.

He may not benefit in any way personally from Tata’s exploitation of the various carbon trading schemes set up to implement the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Yes, the original article was build on a tissue of nothingness, but it was still cited in a follow-up article “Questions over business deals of UN climate change guru Dr Rajendra Pachauri” as ome sort of example of a questionable business dealing by Pachauri.

Bottom Line:  The Telegraph ran a falsehood- and innuendo-filled smear that had no basis in fact.  The headline should be:

“Tata and Pachauri — An Apology.”

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6 Responses to UK Telegraph retracts and apologies for bogus Tata story, but doesn’t apologize to Pachauri for smear

  1. Lou Grinzo says:

    Anyone here care to bet whether this blatant lie lives a long and fruitful life in the denier-o-sphere?

    This is a key part of their game plan: Get some absurdity like this into print — anywhere, anyhow — and even if it’s later retracted quote it until the sun burns out. Remember: The deniers are NOT arguing with “us”; they’re putting on a show for the newcomers in an effort to influence public opinion. That reality, plus their demonstrable lack of ethics (e.g. the waves of threatening and abusive e-mail they send to climate scientists), gives them incredible latitude in the tactics and words they can employ.

  2. Gord says:

    I agree Lou. It’s asymmetrical info warfare.

  3. Is it not time Delingpole fell on his sword?

  4. Mark Shapiro says:

    We need to keep letting people know what liars these burners (like Booker and North) are, so that as people realize how awful AGW is they at least know whom to shame and to shun.

  5. Harbinger says:

    Where are the smears? Tata have directors on the Board of Teri. Tata did get carbon credits as a result of the UK plant mothballing. Pachauri and Tata are on many policy committees together. Tata are involved in CDM via Tata Consultancy, Pachauri is on the board of the Chicago Climate Exchange of which several Tata companies are members, he is Chairman of the Indian Climate Exchange of which several Tata companies are members.

    Tata and other big operators in India are using the CDM to build industrial complexes on farmland and forest. Although the Teri organisation was supposed to have separated from Tata in 2003, last year a Yale 360 interview with Pachauri described him as Director of the Tata Energy Research Institute. Go look for yourself. The only reason for the apology was that Tata have much deeper pockets than the Telegraph.

    For a start, google “tata orissa protest” and see what they think of indigenous people’s rights and the local environment.

  6. facepalm says:

    @ lou:
    No, no bets necessary, as it will be quite shure. Probably the spin in the extremist-sites will even be “newspaper buckles after pressure from the agw-consiracy”, as proved in the next to last sentence of comment #5
    But there’s no point trying to discuss with fundamentalists.

    This smear has been copied all over the Internet. So why don’t make a little use of google, search 1-5 newspapers/blogs/forums that echoed the smear and post a correction?