A confused ‘fact-check’ from Agence France-Presse (AFP) claims that the Daily Sceptic published a misleading claim in saying: “Studies of Greenland show climate change is caused by natural factors, not carbon emissions.” We did no such thing. In an article published on October 2nd, we reported on a paper written by three Japanese climatologists commenting specifically on the recent decade-long slowdown of melting on the Greenland ice sheet. We noted the scientists wrote that “frequent occurrence of central Pacific El Niño events have played a key role in the slow-down of Greenland’s warming and possibly Arctic sea ice loss”.
In a crucial finding, possibly missed by the AFP ‘fact-checker’ since it appears in the main body of the paper, there was an additional comment about this spell of Greenland warming dating back to 2012: “This nonuniform Arctic warming can be attributed to natural variability, rather than anthropogenic forcing, although most climate models are unable to reasonably simulate the unforced natural variability over Greenland.”
What we did do, and what seems to have caused misunderstanding, deliberate or otherwise on social media and elsewhere, was publish the scientists results and then state: “Of course such findings play havoc with the simplistic ‘settled’ science notion that carbon dioxide produced by humans burning fossil fuel is the main, if not only, driver of global temperature warming – or cooling – a notion that leads many green activists to claim that the climate will stop changing if society signs on to a ‘Net Zero’ agenda.”
Lead author Shinji Matsumura told AFP that we had “misrepresented” his paper. He said he did not agree with our claim that his findings played havoc with the claims around anthropogenic warming. Of course we don’t consider that we misrepresented his findings, not least because we provided a link for readers to check the original source. But we accept that he doesn’t agree with the opinion expressed that it casts doubt on ‘settled’ science anthropogenic warming – even though it shows that the rate of Greenland ice melt is heavily affected by a natural process. What, might be asked, is AFP actually fact-checking here?