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Scientists’ open letter on climate change features fake photo, non-climate scientists

Friday, May 14th, 2010 4:20pm MDT
Is it real or Photoshopped?  Some scientists apparently can't tell.  (©iStockphoto.com/Jan Will)

Is it real or Photoshopped? Some scientists apparently can't tell. (©iStockphoto.com/Jan Will)

Last week 255 scientists released a letter in the scientific journal Science decrying ‘assaults on climate science.’  It seemed like a powerful statement in an effort to stand up for climate scientists under siege after scandals and revelations of errors were discovered.  However, the letter itself has caused controversy as the accompanying photo was a fake and it was discovered most of the signatories don’t even work in climate science fields.

The Climate Change Examiner reported on the original letter and the Photoshopped photo as well as the resumes of the individuals that signed the letter

In regards to the photo, the Climate Change Examiner writes:

The photo included with the letter portrays a rather disturbing image of a lone polar bear afloat on a piece of ice in open ocean. The image provides graphical reinforcement to the many warnings the public has heard about shrinking Arctic ice.

However, it has been discovered that the image is in fact faked, a creation using Photoshop that does not portray any real situation or event. Used from istockphoto.com, the caption on that website clearly states, “This images [sic] is a Photoshop design. Polarbear, ice floe, ocean and sky are real, they were just not together in the way they are now.”

The trade magazine included no such disclaimer causing a great deal of embarrassment for an expert trade journal, its editors and the signers of the letter.

That certainly does not help climate scientists’ cause at all. 

Further adding insult to injury, the resumes of the signatories fails to stand up to scrutiny:

An investigation into the professional backgrounds of the scientists finds that many do not work in climate science and some work in fields not even remotely related to it. In fact, among the first 20 listed, none work in climate science.

Pediatric surgeons, an expert in the Maya and the Olmec civilizations, a chemist that studies bacteria, a ‘computer pioneer’ with Microsoft, an electrical engineer, the chairman of a biotechnology firm, and even an expert studying corn are but a few of the 255 ‘experts’ that signed the letter.

There are many other questionable signatories on the letter that tries to convey the message that the ‘science is sound.’ This is of course leading one to question why their statements should be leant any great deal of credence, particularly since the credentials of climate change skeptics are similarly questioned.

In the wake of the Climategate email scandal and discoveries of errors and questionable citations in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, one would expect scientists would be doing their best to play things straight.  Elementary errors such as these simply further damage their cause and show why the public is losing belief in the anthropogenic global warming theory.

Get the full story here:

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