Express complaint – unexpected turn – hoping they will become Ex-press

Well, I didn’t expect that.  I submitted the official complaint for the article in the Express, and on the same day heard back from the Press Complaints Commission.  What I heard back slightly threw me.  In short, you’re bonkers if you read the Express and believe anything you read in that paper.

This was the complaint I made to the PCC in the end about the article “Global warming is about hotter, drier weather … not flooding“:

The article is riddled with inaccuracies, but I shall concentrate on those that are the most marked:

[1] Firstly, the headline is inaccurate. Global warming is about flooding. Please see the following extract from the IPCC report:
“Changes in many extreme climate events have been observed since about 1950. It is very likely that the number of cold days and nights has decreased and the number of warm days and nights has increased on the global scale. It is likely that the frequency of heat waves has increased in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia. There are likely more land regions where the number of heavy precipitation events has increased than where it has decreased. The frequency or intensity of heavy precipitation events has likely increased in North America and Europe. In other continents, confidence in changes in heavy precipitation events is at most medium.”
http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_SPM_FINAL.pdf
Page 5, final paragraph.

Indeed, increased precipitation was predicted from the first IPCC report in 1990 – “The global warming will also lead to increased global average precipitation and evaporation of a few percent by 2030” – see page xxii of the summary for policy makers (http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/far/wg_I/ipcc_far_wg_I_spm.pdf).

[2] Secondly, the article states “In fact in the last century in Britain there were four winters with heavier rainfall”. This is not true.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-26367160

The UK has had the wettest winter (517.6mm of rain fall) since national records began in 1910, the Met Office has confirmed.

[3] And the article states that “the Earth is not getting hotter” and that “Temperatures have remained static for the past 17 years”. This is not true. It is widely accepted that global surface temperatures have been rising continually, even over the past 17 years. More pertinently, if you include the temperatures of the oceans, the Earth has been accumulating heat at an increasing rate. An example of where this is explained is on the New Scientist website, but there are many other sources: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn14527-climate-myths-global-warming-stopped-in-1998.html#.U1_Cm_ldUds

And this was the unexpected response from the PCC:

Dear Mr Bell

Thank you for making a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about the Daily Express.

The PCC formally considers complaints about the vast majority of UK newspapers and magazines, provided that they subscribe to the system of self-regulation independently overseen by the PCC.

Northern & Shell – the publishers of the Daily Express – do not currently subscribe to the system of self-regulation independently overseen by the PCC. The publication does not therefore fall under the Commission’s jurisdiction and, as such, we are unable to take forward your concerns in this matter.

In the circumstances, you may wish to complain directly to the publication. Its contact details are as follows:

Nicole Patterson
Daily Express Legal Department
The Northern & Shell Building
10 Lower Thames Street
London, EC3R 6EN

nicole.patterson@express.co.uk

So, that is what I’ll do.  I’ll do it via email and in the post.

John Bell

Ordinary Bloke