Al Gore, speaking at Copenhagen, cited the work of Dr Wieslav Maslowski to the effect that “there is a 75 per cent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during the summer months, could be completely ice-free within five to seven years.” In fact, according to the Times (UK) “Maslowski, who works at the US Naval Postgraduate School in California, said that his latest results give a six-year projection for the melting of 80 per cent of the ice.”
Now it’s true that projecting a 75 percent chance of completely ice free in 5-7 years and projecting 80 percent ice loss in 6 years are different things. Gore seems to have gotten this slightly wrong. Still, Gore’s point was that arctic ice is melting at an alarming rate and that is indeed what Maslowski’s research thinks. It’s totally fair of the Times to point out the error, but what they did was do a whole long article with the headline “Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his North Pole sums don’t add up,” leading with the assertion that “The former US Vice-President, who became an unlikely figurehead for the green movement after narrating the Oscar-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth, became entangled in a new climate change ‘spin’ row.” The fact that Maslowski’s real figure is extremely close to Gore’s an supports the same overall point is suppressed all the way until the eighteenth graf of a story otherwise dedicating to implying that Gore in particular, and climate activists in general, are huge liars.
There’s a lot of shoddy reporting in the climate debate, but this is a reminder that all the way back to the 2000 presidential campaign there are some kind of special journalistic rules that apply to Gore.