Can I be an “international scientist” too?

Perhaps the NewsLetter believes it’s printing the controversy with its continued focus on the Enviroment Minister’s apparent scepticism.. á la creationism.. Or perhaps the editor has been the recipient of some encouraging phone-calls – as described here. In either case the description of the authors of this article as “international scientists”, as the NewsLetter does here, is distinctly odd.. to say the least. One, John McLean, describes himself as a “computer consultant and occasional travel photographer” – he’s also a member of the self-declared New Zealand Climate Science Coalition. The other, Tom Harris, has been around longer and his biographical details have been noted here – Canadian [mechanical] engineer/PR/Lobbyist specialist with previous work for Canadian energy companies via the High Park Group lobbying company. As for the article itself there’s little, if any, scientific argument – just a variation of a previous article by the same two authors [dated 14 Dec 2007]. And the “vested interests” charge is seriously questioned here. The same three ‘experts’ are also quoted in both articles. Dr Vincent Gray, chair of the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition, Dr Timothy Ball, chair of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project of which Tom Harris was cited as being the Ottawa-based Executive Director – until March this year – and Canadian economist Dr Ross McKitrick. In both articles the reviewers’ comments on the IPCC Working Group 1 report are referred to. You can read those comments, on the first draft, here – by Draft 2 the battle lines are clearly drawn. By my reckoning Vincent Gray made 287 comments on draft 1, of which 15 were accepted, and 201 rejected, with the rest falling between the two positions – most of those comments were suggested grammatical changes to weaken the report, and were rejected because the “reviewer [provided] no evidence or reasoning for suggesting this change” – some examples here. For Ross McKitrick it was 12 comments, 5 rejected. But, as the previously noted blog puts it,

Once again, Harris deserves some grudging admiration: he has succeeded again in spreading disinformation all around the internet and has even won publication of this “analysis” in the mainstream press (although the Saskatoon Star Phoenix [or the NewsLetter – Ed] is not quite the New York Times). The fact that he is a front man for a Toronto energy industry lobby firm always disappears into the detail (the Star Phoenix either didn’t bother checking his credentials or doesn’t mind shilling for PR people who want to hide the identity and motivations of their deep-pocketed clients).

News Letter take note.