Gazette editorial failed to fully ID source it quoted on global warming

Criticizing carbon dioxide emissions limits, a December 3 editorial in The Gazette of Colorado Springs quoted meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo as saying that global temperatures “peaked in 1998 and have shown no warming for a decade.” But the editorial failed to mention D'Aleo's ties with an energy industry-funded think tank and his leadership of a group that promotes the role of natural phenomena in climate change.

A December 3 editorial in The Gazette of Colorado Springs criticizing carbon dioxide emissions limits quoted meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo as saying, “Temperatures peaked in 1998 and have shown no warming for a decade.” However, The Gazette failed to disclose D'Aleo's ties to the Fraser Institute, a Canada-based, energy industry-funded think tank, or his position as executive director of another organization that promotes the role of natural phenomena in rising global temperatures.

After noting that "[f]or only the third time since 1990, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions declined in 2006 from the prior year, the government reports," the Gazette editorial added, “Nevertheless, worldwide carbon dioxide emissions alone increased 19 percent since 1990, says the World Bank's Little Green Data Book.” The editorial further noted:

Poorer nations want economic comfort. “Deforestation is ... in itself a consequence of poverty,” says the World Bank. “Tropical rain forests are diminishing at an alarming rate because of the human need for food and demands for timber, energy, minerals and other resources.” Those who would micromanage others' economic choices would deny developing countries advancement by imposing arbitrary emission limits.

However, there's good news (or bad news, depending on your view). The latest findings indicate CO2 emissions don't have a cause-and-effect temperature relationship. “Temperatures peaked in 1998 and have shown no warming for a decade,” says American Meteorological Society fellow Joseph D'Aleo, formerly chief meteorologist at Weather Services International Corp. “Many scientists have been remarking about this trend for several years but no one takes heed, preferring to believe models than actual data.”

Where's that consensus everyone is talking about?

Noting only D'Aleo's fellowship at the American Meteorological Society, The Gazette omitted that he is one of the authors of the Fraser Institute-sponsored Independent Summary for Policymakers criticizing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, which concluded that global warming is “very likely” due to human influences. D'Aleo is also the executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), which, according to the group's website, “provides access to a new and growing global society of respected scientists and journalists that are not deniers that our climate is dynamic (the only constant in nature is change) and that man plays a role in climate change through urbanization, land use changes and the introduction of greenhouse gases and aerosols, but who also believe that natural cycles such as those in the sun and oceans are also important contributors to the global changes in our climate and weather.”

The Fraser Institute, as Colorado Media Matters has noted, has received $120,000 in donations from petroleum giant Exxon Mobil Corp. since 2003 specifically to address the issue of “climate change.” In 2003, Exxon Mobil reported donating $60,000 to the institute as part of the company's “Public Information and Policy Research” giving, specifically for the area of “Climate Change.” In 2004, Exxon Mobil donated another $60,000 to the institute for the same purpose.

Furthermore, the Board of Trustees listed in the Fraser Institute's most recent annual report for 2006, included J.W. Davidson, managing director and CEO of the Calgary-based energy investment firm FirstEnergy Capital Corp.; Gwyn Morgan, then-CEO of EnCana Corp., North America's largest independent producer of oil and gas; and R.J. Pirie of the Canadian petroleum producer Sabre Energy Ltd.

Colorado Media Matters has previously noted other instances of the Gazette publishing editorials critical of climate change science without fully identifying sources such as Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician and author who previously has spread global warming misinformation (here), and the energy-industry funded Competitive Enterprise Institute (here).