Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Fashionable dogma. Religious zealotry. We're bigger than that. (This blog is written by Candian journalist Donna Laframboise)

Rat Snake Bob

A UK parliamentary committee. A Canadian journalist. A rat snake.

Bob Ward says I uttered a “a number of inaccurate and misleading statements” when I appeared before a UK parliamentary committee in January 2014. His accusations have no basis in fact.


.

Ward is the Communications Director of both the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy. I am mentioned by name in paragraphs 1 and 2 of the third page of Ward’s five-page submission – dated February 2014 and available here. My written response to Ward’s false allegations is here (3 pages). Some things worth noticing:

  • Ward cites only one instance of an alleged inaccuracy on my part.
  • It is impossible for me to defend myself against the sweeping allegation that I have uttered “a number of inaccurate and misleading statements” if my accuser can’t be bothered to cite more than one example.
  • Ward’s first two pages are a covering letter bearing seven institutional logos. The letter describes Ward’s accompanying remarks as a “policy paper” – and says that that policy paper received peer-review. This is a bizarre way to package untrue accusations.
  • The letter ends with a boilerplate disclaimer stating that the views “expressed in this [policy] paper represent those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the host institutions or funders.” That does not alter the fact that a Communications Director is an official spokesperson. Spokespeople are normally understood to be speaking on behalf of the organizations that employ them.
  • Bob Ward’s statement is libelous. My reward for traveling to London at the request of a parliamentary committee is to be defamed by the official spokesperson of two prominent British institutions – the London School of EconomicsGrantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and the University of LeedsCentre for Climate Change Economics and Policy.
  • Craig Calhoun is the Director of the London School of Economics. His Twitter feed is here. His email address is: directorsoffice AT lse.ac.uk
  • The Rt Hon Lord Melvyn Bragg is the Chancellor of Leeds University. He can be contacted by sending e-mail to the secretary’s office: a.l.laverton AT adm.leeds.ac.uk

.

Ward also falsely accused my co-panelists, Richard Lindzen and Nic Lewis. Lindzen’s written response is here. Lewis’ is here.

.

BACKGROUND
The Energy and Climate Change select committee of the UK House of Commons contacted me in late 2013, inviting me to prepare a written submission to its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) inquiry. As a journalist, it is my job to report on events, not to participate in them. But because I am the only person to have written two books about the IPCC, I accepted this invitation.

My original written submission may be read online here or viewed as a PDF. (There’s also a footnoted, hyper-linked version that directs readers to my source material.)

Afterward, I was invited to appear before the committee in person. A full transcript of my oral testimony appears here. The three-hour video is here (I’m on the second panel, which begins at 1:39:46)

.

Ward’s parliamentary submission isn’t the only example of him uttering falsehoods about me. The day prior to my oral testimony, in a piece published on the Guardian website, he called me:

a Canadian who is probably the world’s leading producer of conspiracy theories about the IPCC. [link in the original]

I did not protest, other than to observe on my blog’s Facebook page:

I get called “a Canadian who is probably the world’s leading producer of conspiracy theories about the IPCC” in the UK’s Guardian newspaper today. Funny there’s no mention of the two books I’ve written about that organization – or any allegation of untrue or inaccurate claims in those books. Just silly spin in an article that sounds an awful lot like a conspiracy theory.

Following my testimony, Ward wrote a blog post that aired his false accusations for the first time:

Donna Laframboise, the world’s leading producer of conspiracy theories about the IPCC, was asked by Mr Stringer why she thought the organisation should be abolished. Her reply was extremely misleading: “When the IAC [InterAcademy Council] reported in 2010 it said that there were significant shortcomings in every major step of the IPCC process. That is not a mild criticism. That suggests that there are serious reasons to be very careful about the conclusions of the IPCC process.”

In fact, the IAC was commissioned by the IPCC to conduct a review and to make recommendations about how its processes and procedures could be strengthened in order to ensure the ongoing quality of its reports.

Rather than delivering the scathing critique that Ms Laframboise suggested, the IAC’s report concluded that “the IPCC assessment process has been successful overall and has served society well”, while also recommending some fundamental changes to ensure its future success.

But Ms Laframboise was not the only one to misrepresent the facts in order to attack the IPCC… [bold added; links in the original]

I was urged by a third party, more than once, to respond to Ward’s blog post. I declined. In fact, I sent the individual involved an e-mail that read: “I feel no inclination to discuss Bob Ward. Please don’t ask me about this again.”

But Ward wasn’t content to leave things there. His next step was to dress up his remarks as a peer-reviewed policy paper and to submit them to the parliamentary committee so that they would become part of the permanent record of that committee.
.

REFLECTIONS
In my view, Ward is a personality type. He is a dogmatist and a bully. There is only one possible view of reality – the one subscribed to by Bob Ward.

Rather than double-checking what Chapter 2 of the IAC report actually says, rather than spending five minutes with Google investigating how the IAC report was widely perceived, Ward is capable of imagining only one possibility: opinions not shared by him are wrong.

.

.

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: