Saturday, 4 June 2016

Alan Jones comments on UN climate change report inaccurate: media watchdog

Broadcaster Alan Jones falsely claimed that a 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report had ... Broadcaster Alan Jones falsely claimed that a 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change draft report had "disproven" the panel's own climate change theories. Photo: Andrew Meares
He declared a United Nations report on climate change "got it wrong by almost 100 per cent", but shock jock Alan Jones was the one who blundered, Australia's media watchdog has found.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority on Friday found the 2GB host, described on the station's website as "a phenomenon" and "the nation's greatest orator and motivational speaker", breached commercial radio codes in 2013 by making inaccurate comments about the rate of global warming as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The station argued that Jones relied on a front page article in The Australian – an article that was based on incorrect information published in Britain's Mail on Sunday, and which was corrected before Jones went to air.

During his morning program on September 24, 2013, Jones discussed the leaked findings of a fifth draft report prepared by the IPCC.

He claimed a previous IPCC report in 2007 said the planet was warming at the rate of 0.2 degrees every decade, and said the updated report put the figure at 0.12 degrees - "almost a 100 per cent error".

Jones said the report showed "over the past 60 years the world has in fact been warming at half the rate" previously claimed and the panel's climate change theories "have been disproven".

The authority found Jones' statements were inaccurate. It said the figure of 0.12 degrees each decade over the last 60 years was very close to the figure reported in the 2007 report of 0.13 degrees each decade over the 50 years to 2005.

Ninety minutes after his statements, Jones purportedly attempted to correct the error. The authority said the correction, although timely, was inadequate. It did not clearly refer to the incorrect statements and included additional material that was "both confusing and undermines the significance of the correction".

2GB is part of the Macquarie Radio network, a publicly listed company now majority-owned by Fairfax Media, the publisher of this website.

The station's licensee Harbour Radio Pty Ltd argued that Jones based his statements on an article in The Australian, and that The Daily Telegraph also published the incorrect claim.

The Weekend Australian published a correction on September 21, three days before Jones' broadcast, which said it relied on an article by a British media outlet. ACMA identified this as the Mail on Sunday.

The authority found the inaccuracies reported by media organisations about the draft IPCC report had been identified and publicised "nationally and internationally" before Jones' program, including on ABC's Media Watch program and a piece in the UK's Guardian .


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