The Daily Mail is a British tabloid that has repeatedly misrepresented climate research. Naturally, it is also one of Fox News' chief sources on climate science.
Last week the Daily Mail ran a story headlined: "Is this finally proof we're NOT causing global warming? The whole of the Earth heated up in medieval times without human CO2 emissions, says new study." Fox Nation ran a Newsmax summary of the article under the headline “Study Refutes Manmade Warming.”
The Daily Mail, along with Newsmax, Fox, and other conservative media, distorted the very research they are trumpeting. The study's lead author, Professor Zunli Lu, said his paper “has been misrepresented by a number of media outlets” and “does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend.”
It is unfortunate that my research, “An ikaite record of late Holocene climate at the Antarctic Peninsula,” recently published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, has been misrepresented by a number of media outlets.
Several of these media articles assert that our study claims the entire Earth heated up during medieval times without human CO2 emissions. We clearly state in our paper that we studied one site at the Antarctic Peninsula. The results should not be extrapolated to make assumptions about climate conditions across the entire globe. Other statements, such as the study “throws doubt on orthodoxies around global warming,” completely misrepresent our conclusions. Our study does not question the well-established anthropogenic warming trend.
Lu also told Peter Sinclair that “The reporter of that Daily Mail article published it anyway, after we told him the angle that he chose misrepresents our work.” If this reflects poorly on the quality of journalism at the Daily Mail, what does it say about outlets like Fox who simply parrot the tabloid's inaccurate reports?
According to Newsmax, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rests its case for manmade global warming on an argument that that the “Medieval Warm Period” was not a global phenomenon. In fact, the IPCC simply said “there are far from sufficient data” to determine if it was global. More importantly, this whole debate over medieval climate has little bearing on the question of what is driving the current warming trend.
If scientists did find that the Medieval Warm Period was global in nature, that would not “refute” the extensive evidence that greenhouse gas emissions have been the “dominant cause” of the recent warming period. The Newsmax article said “Skeptics of manmade global warming claims can bolster their position with a new study showing that the Earth went through a previous warming period not caused by human CO2 emissions.” In reality, no climate scientist would dispute that the Earth warmed and cooled before. And as SkepticalScience points out, to argue that natural climate change in previous eras refutes manmade warming now is “like arguing that humans can't start bushfires because in the past they've happened naturally.”