Maltese politician Caroline Galea on Climategate: same story, year after year

About three days ago, the ever-observant Tom Nelson linked to an article on his blog. The piece took the boilerplate, run-of-the-mill, orthodox line on Climategate, the ‘denial machine’, failure of ‘public communication’ etc. In other words: nothing remarkable. What caught the eye however (apart from carbon dioxide  CO²), was this little gem:

Stupid blunders, like those lately committed by members of the IPCC, have done little to bolster efforts to strengthen public opinion and governmental resolve.

Why at all the above is interesting, is intriguing. The author of the article, Caroline Galea, is a politician from the small Mediterranean island country Malta. The article appeared online on the 20th of March 2011, on the prominent newspaper website, the Malta Independent.

Curiosity thus piqued, I found myself at the author’s personal website – carolinegalea.com. It appeared that certain Maltese politicians were quite active – writing letters to editors, opinion pieces and newspaper rebuttals to each other. The prolific Galea seemed no exception – the site archived close to 350 articles that had issued forth from her pen.

What caught the eye though, was another opinion piece. Titled ‘Fodder for the sceptics’, the article took the boilerplate, run-of-the-mill, orthodox line on Climategate, the ‘denial machine’, failure of ‘public communication’ etc.

The website however declared, that the article had appeared more than a year ago – on the 19th of February, 2010 in another prominent Maltese newspaper – the Times of Malta.

Fodder for the sceptics - Article in 'The Times of Malta' - Feb 2010

I sat up! It did not take long to pull up both articles and look at them side by side. You can see the results for yourself, reproduced below:

Comparison of the two articles (here and here):

Para 1 & 2 of the 2011 article (Malta Independent):

Almost everyone fully acknowledges as fact that the earth’s climate has warmed in recent decades and that human activities are evidently impacting adversely on global climate. All this has been endorsed by all the meaningful science academies of all the major industrialized countries. There seems to be no significant scientific institution that rejects these findings. All this has supposedly led to an apparent ‘concerted’ effort by governments to commit themselves to legally binding accords to reduce as much as possible industrial emissions threatening the stability of our planet. Since 1880 the volume of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere has almost doubled (from 278 parts per million by volume to 380 ppm in 2005). The continued burning of fossil fuels will continue to increase emissions and rising CO² levels worldwide. Alas all this is scientific fact!

Para 4 of the 2010 article (Times of Malta):

I fully acknowledge that it is a fact that climate has warmed up in recent decades and that human activities are impacting adversely on global climate. All this has been endorsed by all the meaningful science academies of all the major industrialized countries. There seems to be no significant scientific institution which rejects these findings. All this has led to a concerted effort by governments to commit themselves to legally binding accords to reduce as much as possible industrial emissions threatening the stability of our planet. Since 1880 the volume of carbon dioxide in the world’s atmosphere has almost doubled (from 278 parts per million by volume to 380 ppm in 2005). The continued burning of fossil fuels will continue to increase emissions and rising CO2 levels worldwide. All this is scientific fact!

Para 5 of the 2011 article (Malta Independent):

Many scientific gaffes were made. Among the inaccuracies highlighted were claims that global warming would affect North African crop yield by up to 50 per cent by 2020. Professor Chris Field, now the leading author for the IPCC confirmed these doubts. This followed another 2010 retraction by the IPCC regarding the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035. To add insult to injury, none other than Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chairman and even the United Nation’s secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon, had quoted these projections. Another gaffe was the one regarding IPCC’s sea level reports concerning Holland. While the panel suggested that The Netherlands were 55 per cent below sea level, Dutch ministers were quick to point out the error. It appears that the IPCC were off mark by half when it was stated that in reality Holland’s land mass is actually only 27 per cent below sea level. All this pointed to a serious and dangerous precedent. Unless the IPCC gets its act together the consequences would be enormous.

Para 3 of the 2010 article (Times of Malta):

Among the inaccuracies highlighted were claims that global warming would affect North African crop yield by up to fifty per cent by 2020. Professor Chris Field, now the leading author for the IPCC confirmed these doubts. This follows another recent retraction by the IPCC regarding the Himalayan glaciers melting by 2035. To add insult to injury these projections had been quoted by none other than Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chairman and even the United Nation’s secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon. Another gaffe emerged regarding IPCC’s sea level reports concerning Holland. Whilst the panel suggested that the Netherlands were 55% below sea level, Dutch ministers were quick to point out the error. It appears that the IPCC were off mark by half when it was stated that in reality Holland’s land mass is actually only 27% below sea level. This all points to a serious and dangerous precedent. Unless the IPCC gets its act together than the consequences could be enormous.

Para 7 of the 2011 article (Malta Independent):

Rebutting all this is a significantly powerful lobby, which, for various interests, economic and otherwise, resist this proof. The sceptics and doubters continuously attempt to delegitimise the climate change debate. The sceptics insist that this talk of global warming is purely ‘unfounded fear’, myth and forced overregulation. The ‘denial machine’ consistently undermines science and this in turn affects public opinion. By and large, governments tend to implement policies that address their electorates’ aspirations and pre-occupations. Awareness of issues is not enough. Stupid blunders, like those lately committed by members of the IPCC, have done little to bolster efforts to strengthen public opinion and governmental resolve.

Para 5 of the 2010 article (Times of Malta):

Rebutting all this is a significantly powerful lobby that for various interests, economic and otherwise, resist this proof. The sceptics and doubters continuously attempt to delegitimize the climate change debate. The sceptics insist that this talk of global warming is purely ‘unfounded fear’, myth and forced overregulation. The ‘denial machine’ consistently undermines the science and this in turn affects public opinion. By and large Governments tend to implement policies that address their electorates’ aspirations and pre-occupations. Awareness of issues is not enough. Stupid blunders as those lately committed by members of the IPCC do little to bolster efforts to strengthen public opinion and governmental resolve.

From the last paragraph of the 2011 article (Malta Independent):

So what’s next in this never ending debate on global warming? In a sense the latest events can also be viewed in a positive manner. Maybe it is time to ponder for a moment the actual mechanics that propels the climate change debate. Although the consensus view regarding climate change remains strong there might be room for improvement. One feels that global warming has been cheaply sensationalized.

From the last paragraph of the 2010 article (Times of Malta):

In a sense the latest events can also be viewed in a positive manner. Maybe it is time to ponder for a moment as to the actual mechanics that propels the climate change debate. Although the consensus view regarding climate change remains strong there might be room for improvement. One feels that global warming has been cheaply sensationalized.

The same story, year after year

This is self-plagiarism at its most blatant, crudest form.What we have here is instructive: a prominent national-level politician, dismissing and bashing ‘climate sceptics’ – a supposed monolithic group, of which she clearly has no understanding of her own. What is more: she is a government representative, employing self-plagiarized blocks of text to accomplish this on two widely-read newspaper outlets.

Caroline Galea is a member of the national executive of the present ruling party in Malta – the Nationalist Party. She was initially picked to her position of power, owing to a ‘positive discrimination clause’ that decreed a certain number of women be elected to the executive. Galea has tried to embellish her credentials with feminist rhetoric and green ideas. The green orthodox ideas evidently come packaged in words she is unhesitant in reusing.

Germany’s defence minister was forced to resign recently following revelations that he plagiarized portions of his post-graduate thesis.

How will the breach of trust revealed above, affect anything in Malta?

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4 comments

  1. Hector M.

    Does recycling old writings count as plagiarism? I doubt it. Not a laudable practice, certainly, but fairly common I think. After all, recycling is generally thought to be good for the environment, and apparently recycling your own articles has come to be regarded as one of the forms of protecting the planet

  2. omnologos

    Follow Steven Goddard’s Real Science to read the same doom-and-gloom stories from whatever decade since the invention of the printing press. Recycling indeed.