Opinion

The UN ‘disappears’ another inconvenient climate claim, then botches cover-up

It seems there’s a purge on at the UN to remove failed climate claims. Last week it was the cover-up of the claims that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010. This week it’s the poor of Africa they’ve “disappeared.” This one I stumbled upon quite by accident, doing some research for my previous story: World opinion on global warming: not so hot.

In that story, I noted Lawrence Solomon’s observation that:

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where 54% are not aware that their climate is alleged to be warming, a mere 22% have heard of the global warming issue and predominantly blame humans for the warming. In undeveloped Asia, 48% are unaware that the climate is warming and 27% predominantly blame humans.

But one has to wonder, if the people that live closest to the earth (such as natives in sub-Saharan Africa) can’t detect changes around them, are we manufacturing a crisis that we wouldn’t notice otherwise?

So I decided to ask the question: How hard is Africa being hit by climate change? I recalled the catchphrase “Africa hit hard by global warming” that I had read before, so I decided to start with that. My first Google search produced the answer in the form of a UNEP report from 2001, except . . . the report isn’t there. But, according to Google cache, it was there just a few days ago. See the process of discovery below.



OK, so I visited that webpage. It is a document aggregation page, full of reports and speeches going back to 2000. But I couldn’t locate any press release from February 2001 as stated in the Google search above.

So I decided to search on that title specifically:



And it gives me the same page that doesn’t exist. Odd.

Then I recalled that UNEP provided a site-specific Google search on that page under the header, so I tried that, simply searching for “africa hit hardest.”



Bingo. It gave this URL: http://www.unep.org/Documents.multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=192&ArticleID=2776&l=en

When I clicked on that, amazingly, it returned me to the default document page.

Hmmm. That sort of redirect to a default page usually occurs when the internal webpage engine can’t find the document requested. On some websites, they trap 404 errors, then redirect so the end user isn’t dumped along the side of the information superhighway. I thought, well, it is a 10-year-old document, so maybe it was simply deleted on the 10-year mark automatically. Well no, they have this from the year 2000 on that page:

So it could not be some sort of date-related automatic deletion of a 2001 document.

Then I recalled that my first search attempt showed a “cached” version, so I decided to check that. Sure enough, it was in Google cache, and it was a capture from April 17th, 2011, just a few days ago. Here it is:

Even if you click on the link at the top of the page cited by Google cache, it takes you to the UNEP default page. So clearly, the article has disappeared from the website.

Curiously, just 5 days after the last snapshot taken by Google cache was saved, April 22nd, the Gallup poll comes out:

And in that Gallup poll website, there’s this inconvenient table:

Which begs the question: If Africans are the “hardest hit by global warming,” how can only 46% of the people in Sub-Saharan Africa be aware of it (and only 51% of Middle Easterners and North Africans)?

Of course, the UN helpfully provided the answer by attempting to disappear it right after the Gallup poll came out. They aren’t aware of it because global warming simply isn’t hitting Africa hard.

Another bogus climate claim rubbished by reality.

Anthony Watts operates the most visited blog on climate science in the world, www.wattsupwiththat.com.