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.”