Sham Study Tricks Climate Skeptics

Warming blamed on bacteria; pundits trumpeted the news
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2007 7:45 PM CST
Environmental activists abseil down the side of a smokestack after painting "Stop CO2" on the side of the chimney of the coal-fired power plant in Belchatow, Poland, Tuesday, July 3, 2007. The activists,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Turns out undersea bacteria don’t cause global warming after all. But they were on trial for 70 minutes last week after a British prof's email chain linked to a sham study. Climate skeptics and conservatives—Rush Limbaugh included—trumpeted the study until a University of Colorado prof smelled something rotten. “Call me a skeptic skeptic—I smell a hoax,” he posted.

Blogs kicked into reverse when an email update revealed the prank. A Reason magazine blog quickly apologized, and green site DeSmogBlog ran a list of those duped. Who's behind the hoax? A UK writer is claiming responsibility. “What the hoax showed is that there are many people willing to jump on anything that supports their argument, whether it’s true or not," he blogged.