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Complainant Name:
Mr Paul Homewood

Clauses Noted: 1

Publication: The Daily Telegraph


Mr Paul Homewood complained to the Press Complaints Commission about an article which he considered to have been inaccurate and misleading, in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

The article was about energy policy, and stated that 'one recent survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change found 97 per cent agree human activities are causing the planet to warm'. The complainant said that, in fact, of the papers surveyed, only 32.6% endorsed man made climate change.


The complaint was resolved when the PCC negotiated the publication of the following wording on the online article:

Clarification: When this article was first posted it said that the survey of 12,000 academic papers on climate change had found that 97 per cent agreed human activities were causing the planet to warm. In fact, the survey - into the scientific consensus on anthropogenic global warming (AGW), ie warming caused by humans - found that 97.1 per cent of the abstracts of papers stating a position on global warming agreed human activities were causing it; 1.9 per cent that stated a position rejected human activity as the cause of warming and 1.0 per cent that stated a position were uncertain. The survey found that all of the abstracts analysed, 66.4 per cent did not actually state a position on AGW; citing two previous studies, the authors of the survey said that this was to be expected because the fundamental science of AGW was no longer controversial and the remaining debate had moved on to topics about which there were still unanswered questions. We are happy to make this clear.

Date Published: 23/08/2013

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