ExceptÂ Phil JonesÂ never said it.
The interview was published Saturday February 13, 2010.Â You can read the actual and complete published Q&A here.Â According to the lead-in, "[t]he BBC's environment analyst Roger Harrabin put questions to Professor Jones, including several gathered from climate sceptics."
The article is interesting in the sense that several of the questions were geared to get the answers the interviewer wanted to get, on the order of "do you still beat your wife." He admits that some of the questions were "gathered from climate sceptics," which explains why some of the questions are faulty. Whether the interviewer did this intentionally, or due to lack of understanding of the science, or as an unwilling lackey for the professional denialist crowd is unknown.
Still, Jones answered the questions accurately even with their faults. Specifically to the fake quote, Jones was asked "do you agree that from 1995 to the present there has been no statistically-significant global warming?" He, of course, responded accurately by saying "Yes, but only just." And then went on to explain his answer with the context that is needed to understand it completely. The denialists have chosen to extract the one part of Jones' explanation that they could then apply their predetermined storyline to, even to the point of fabricating a "quote" to say what they wanted to say, even though Jones never said it.
What Jones did say is that there was a positive warming trend during this period,Â just not statistically significant.Â He indicates that the positive trend was very close to the significant level, but just missed it.Â In other words, another point or two and it would have been statistically significant.Â Statistical significance is a stringentÂ mathematical function and doesn't mean that something isn't happening, just that it didn't meet the very tight mathematical controls for defining it as statistically significant.
Jones goes on to explain that achieving statistical significance is more likely at longer intervals and that the interval in the question was too short. He reiterated this in other questions, that the time periods are too short to achieve statistical significance.Â In other words, looking at such artificially short time frames isn't very meaningful.Â In fact, if one looks at the graph of temperature rise (see below)Â it is easy to see that there are lots of times when the temperature seemed flat or even decreasing in the short term.Â So cherry picking one small period of time isn't science, it is cherry picking.
In fact, despite the denialist cherry picking and misrepresentation, the following is Jones' full response to the question "How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?" To which Jones replied: "I'm 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 - there's evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity."
So what does this tell us?Â It tells us that the planet has continued to warm and that the current decade was the warmest on record.Â And it also tells us that denialists will stop at nothing to misrepresent the science and the scientists.Â Seriously, what does it say thatÂ the denialistsÂ created a fake quote - complete with quotation marks - after pulling a piece of Jones' comments out of context and applyingÂ their own meaning that ignores everything else he said? Why the deception? Why not simply report the question, the full answer, and explain it accurately?
Well, because that is what denialists do.
Note that this article is now located in a group called "Exposing Climate Denialism - A Guide to Tactics and Tall Tales," located at climatelies.gather.com.Â Please join the group and set settings to receive new articles when they are posted.Â The group also includes an archive of past pasts.