The gullible leading the credulous (with a sting in the tale)

One for the “It would be big news if it were true” file — according to John O’Sullivan (see So Many Lies — And The Liar Who Tells Them) a Japanese satellite has discovered that CO2 emissions from the world’s least developed countries are greater than from industrial nations. Here’s how he describes the discovery in an article titled New Satellite Data Contradicts Carbon Dioxide Climate Theory:

Bizarrely, the [satellite] maps prove exactly the opposite of all conventional expectations revealing that the least industrialized regions are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases on the planet.

Yes, you read that correctly: the U.S. and western European nations are areas where CO2 levels are lowest.

Big news, yes? But — and very much par for the course — it turns out that O’Sullivan has made another of his trademark public mistakes. And of course, the credulous wing of the campaign for climate inaction are more than happy to take O’Sullivan’s nonsense at face value. There’s a fine example over at NZ’s own “Climate Conversation Group”, where Richard Treadgold waxes philosophic:

Of a certainty, the Earth does not need saving.

Consider the thousand-year atmospheric lifetime of carbon dioxide. Consider that the bloody poor people did this to us. Consider their crimes.

Analyse that.

So what’s the real story?

O’Sullivan appears to have been watching NHK World, the English language service of Japan’s public broadcaster (a bit like BBC World), and picked up on this item. Now, to be fair to him, the news story accompanying the video does say this:

Of 64 regions on the map, those where CO2 emissions exceeded CO2 absorption are shown in red and regions where emissions were less than absorption are marked in green.

O’Sullivan’s story included a screen shot from the video, showing large swathes of green in the northern hemisphere, and chunks of red in Africa and South America. From that and the accompanying text he infers that what we know about emissions is suddenly turned on its head, and in his inimitable over-the-top style concludes:

Thus, the unthinkable could be made real: the greenhouse gas theory of climate change may collapse in the face of empirical evidence that industrialization is shown to have no link to global warming.

So why don’t I believe him? Simple. If the Japanese Ibuki satellite1 had really discovered that the majority of CO2 emissions were coming from the least developed parts of the world, it would have been an absolutely enormous news story, splashed all over the media everywhere. O’Sullivan would never have got a look in on coverage of the scientific discovery of the century.

But there’s another reason to take O’Sullivan’s scoop with a pinch of salt (apart from his track record). It turns out to be ridiculously easy to find out what the satellite team were really talking about. O’Sullivan links2 to the Ibuki/GOSAT home page, where the top item is headed IBUKI observations help reduce estimation error of ground observations. The item helpfully points out that:

“this achievement will be published in the Scientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere (an online thesis magazine) issued by the Meteorological Society of Japan on Oct. 29.”

And there it is. On the Benefit of GOSAT Observations to the Estimation of Regional CO2 Fluxes (PDF), by H. Takagi et al — a rather technical read, to be sure, and not at all the thing for bedtime reading, but it does what it says on the cover. Talks about marrying current CO2 measurements from ground stations with satellite derived information, in order to get better estimates of regional carbon fluxes. No hint of an earth-shattering discovery there.

Total fact-checking time? About five minutes. Obviously far beyond the capabilities of O’Sullivan. But it appears that this time someone has noticed his serial inaccuracies. His latest post at Climate Realists is a plaintive cry: Popular Skeptic Writer Fired for Exposing Carbon Climate Fraud. It appears that one of the outlets for his articles,, has finally noticed his tenuous connection with reality and removed all his posts. The real pity is that they allowed them on their servers in the first place. I wonder if Treadgold will run that bit of news as well?

  1. (aka GOSAT, the Greenhouse Gasses Observing Satellite []
  2. Bizarrely, he manages to get the satellite’s name wrong. He calls it IBUKU – Japanese for bamboo. Bamboo satellites? There’s a thought… []

15 thoughts on “The gullible leading the credulous (with a sting in the tale)”

  1. The article that is linked here was posted on Suite101 but was taken offline because it was so harmfully misleading. The graphics that Sky Dragon is showing are actually showing levels of uncertainty for CO2 measurement, NOT absolute measurements of emissions. Please allow me to write a rebuttal to this horrible assessment of a legitimate scientific study.

    1. All of O’Sullivan’s articles at Suite101 were error-ridden and misleading. Thanks for the offer of a rebuttal, but I think this will have to do for the time being.

  2. Meanwhile – Obama 1) elevates climate change as a national security threat and 2) talks about environmental concerns with Keystone pipeline proposal and 3) seems to have re-election mostly sorted as GOP candidates implode.

    He is (hopefully) beginning to push the boat out again on this issue ….

    1. Yep, he’s definitely the least-awful candidate in the offing!

      I sincerely hope all those who claim he’s been ‘playing a long game’ turn out to be right. But the sound you’re not hearing is me holding my breath.

      As for the GOP – when you make a bizarre amalgam of libertarianism for billionaires and anti-science ‘rapture’ evangelism your ‘base’ eventually you’re going to violently implode into a sort of black hole of epistemic irrelevance. Well, unless The Stupid has completely overwhelmed the body politic, which remains to be seen, sadly.

      I actually feel sorry for someone like Romney – who clearly isn’t a complete idiot – having to mouth this goddawful drivel for the faithful. Cain’s on a book tour, Perry’s on something, and Bachman’s on the planet Zoz…

  3. Mr. O’Sullivan had repeatedly taunted me that if I had evidence that he was a humbug promoting himself with fraudulent academic and professional credentials, I should take it to the “appropriate authorities.” I did.

    For example, in response to my formal complaint with the Law Society of British Columbia, Tim Ball’s attorney Michael Scherr has at last gone on the record denying O’Sullivan’s claim of being an attorney working as a “legal consultant” for Pearlman Lindholm, representing Ball in the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

    A couple weeks ago, I contacted the managing editor at Suite and discussed their problem without giving her O’Sullivan’s name — since I wanted to wait for a formal finding from the Law Society. I’m not sure, but this might have prompted the editors to look into this on their own. After hearing from the Law Society and from Mr. Scherr earlier today I sent a followup with documentation to’s managing editor.

    Mr. O’Sullvan is now crying censorship, claiming that he was fired and that all his 60+ articles published on over the past 2 years were deleted “in retaliation for my latest article ‘New Satellite Data Contradicts Carbon Dioxide Climate Theory’.”

    I doubt this since they never seemed to find fault with all the false accusations he previously published in the past 2 years. I suspect the editors may finally have taken a closer look at the humbug’s credentials.

    My complaint to the American Bar Association appears to have also produced results. A couple of weeks ago, Mr. O’Sullivan deleted his bogus claim of being and ABA member his LinkedIn bio. (To be an ABA member, one has to be a lawyer licensed to practice in the US, which O’Sullivan certainly doesn’t appear to be.)

    Unfortunately, he replaced it a claim that he’s a member of the New York County Lawyers Association. I spoke with the NCLA membership director, who checked the membership list and confirmed — wait for it! — the humbug is not a member. No doubt, it will take the association some time before sending him a warning to stop. In the meantime, he’s claiming another membership that is only open to licensed attorneys. And when they tell him to cease, no big deal. He’ll just swap it for another bogus credential. He’s got millions of ’em.

      1. But I’m sure they probably ran some of those elective topics with a couple of hours of lectures and double that in discussion/tutorial groups. So he could have ‘studied’ it.

        The big question – prompted by his woeful comprehension of matters he has the gall to write about – is whether he learned anything.

  4. Gareth, here’s how that evolved:

    Back when we were trying to unravel John O’Sullivan’s lies in the LinkedIn discussion he started, you may remember he claimed he earned his law degree from University College, Cork in Ireland. Which was a lie.

    Then you or I discovered he has a profile on the social networking site in the UK called Friends Reunited, which he was using to hook up with old school chums. It is (or was) the most honest bio he has on the Internet. The list of schools included none that grant a law degree.

    I learned from a classmate with whom he shared a house, that he earned a bachelors in art or art history from West Surrey College of Art & Design and that he then went on for graduate training to become a school gym or sports teacher. He spent the next 20 years of his life teaching art and/or gym in a number of schools — probably including Robert Smyth Upper School (from 1985-1992) and the Benjamin Britten High School (from 1998-2001).

    After I pressed the humbug publicly about these contradictions, lo and behold he suddenly added “University of Surrey to his Friends Reunited list of schools. Soon after I publicly pointed out that this would mean he was attending two DIFFERENT colleges full time for a period of at least two years, he changed his LinkedIn bio to read “University of Surrey/WSCAD Bachelors Degree, Law/Fine Art (History) 1979-1984,” making it seem that he was attending one school, rather than two. And it also contradicts the time line in his Friends Reunited bio, which now says he attended the University of Surrey from 1979-1982 and West Surrey College of Art and Design 1980-1983!

    In other words, Mr. O’Sullivan is a pathological liar who is incapable of keeping his stories straight.

    1979 – 1984

      1. Yes, sometime in the summer of 2009, near the end of his letter writing, blog writing, self-book publishing campaign to defame New York State officials and judges, after he and his wife failed to shake down the state with a groundless sexual harassment suit, he moved in with a “new love” in South Wales. And yes, he recently says he moved back to New York State and is now living in “the Albany area.” However, I suspect he actually may have moved back to live with wife Barbara, in or around Dehli, NY.

        And that blog item on Friends Online was prompted by my contacting some of his West Surrey College of Art and Design classmates to ask what O’Sullivan majored in. Apparently, he didn’t want them to tell me “art” as opposed to “law,” which wasn’t taught at WSCAD. (Hence his suddenly adding the University of Surrey to his academic history — even though it overlaps his attendance at the art school for 2 years!) It’s clear we’re not dealing with the sharpest butter knife in the drawer.

        The following March (2010), he began seeking a journalism job — ie. that hilarious, pompously written application for “feature writer” at (which makes me wonder whether he mistook the site for never mentioning anything about his law degree or his more than “ten years of successful litigation in New York and Federal 2nd District courts.”

        It was later, in 2010, when he started the Sky Dragon Sleazers gang, that he began to give himself all his impressive legal credentials.

        This has been an absolutely fascinating study of humbuggery. O’Sullivan is a virtual Walter Mitty, without the good sense to keep his delusional self-aggrandizing fantasies to himself.

  5. Gareth, here’s how that evolved:

    I forgot to point out that in all O’Sullivan’s writings prior to about 2010, he never mentions anything about having a law degree or ever practicing law!

    Indeed Gareth, I believe you were the one who found that job application he sent to a after he moved to South Wales, UK, in which he discussed his 20 years as a school teacher and desire to pursue a “newly chosen career” in journalism, where he hoped “to opine eruditely on more diverse issues.”

    It’s easy to “opine” why didn’t hire him 🙂

    Oddly, in all the bluff, blustering, and opining in his job application, he never mentioned any law degree or “more than a decade of successful litigation in New York State and Federal 2nd District courts.” He posted the job application in March 2010.

    Presumably, Mr. O’Sullivan was able to earn his law degree and then successfully litigate for more than 10 years in New York State and Federal 2nd District courts in the 14 months between March 2010 and May 2011.

  6. IMPORTANT CORRECTION: At the time I wrote the comment above that Mr. O’Sullivan is NOT a member of the New York County Lawyers Association, I was WRONG because he had JUST joined to attack me as a liar.

    Around the end of September or beginning of October, O’Sullivan replaced his bogus American Bar Association membership claim from some of his bios and replaced it with his claim of NYCLA membership.

    On Oct. 11, I checked with the association’s membership director, Harriet Astor.. She confirmed he was NOT a member, so I began reporting this latest fabricated credential.

    Sometime between a week to 2 1/2 weeks later, O’Sullivan applied for membership. He received a welcome letter from the NYCLA dated Oct. 28 and began accusing MEof being the liar.

    On Nov. 18, NYCLA’s director of membership marketing confirmed that Mr. O’Sullivan applied for membership towards the end of October, NOT when I had begun reporting his bogus claim — and well AFTER he had begun falsely claiming NYCLA membership in his resumes and bios.

    I have asked the NYCLA membership marketing director to verify the credentials O’Sullivan claimed in his application. There is little doubt that they are false.

    Indeed, I just found the NYCLA rule and evidence that should compel the Association to strip O’Sullivan of his recently acquired membership.

    Late last month, O’Sullivan applied to become a Provisional Member of the NYCLA — which is a free membership only open to lawyers who graduated from law school within the past 3 years and are not members of the bar.

    However, O’Sulivan, has been claiming in his online bios and resumes that he earned his law degree in 1984! So he appears to have lied in his application claiming he graduated just last year.

    But that might turn out to be true in an even more embarrassing way: I believe he may have purchased a degree from a bogus online diploma mill and cited that as his law school.

    You can verify his claim of earning a law degree in 1984 in his LinkedIn bio:

    You can verify NYCLA’s membership requirement from its By Laws:

    “Provisional Members. Graduates of law schools who have not been admitted to the Bar of the State of New York but intend to practice law in the State of New York shall be eligible for provisional membership. Such membership shall continue until the member is admitted to such practice, but no longer than the earlier of (i) the date on which such person discontinues seeking admission to practice in the State of New York and (ii) three (3) years after graduation from law school.”

    And you can verify that he applied as a Provisional Member by calling NYCLA at 212-267-6646

  7. UK’s right wing Independent Party deplores censorship — unless it’s to censor speech the fascerati don’t want others to hear.

    I noticed that the Ukipscotland web site published an article claiming Sky Dragon Slayer leader John O’Sullivan was a victim of “censorship” because he was fired by So I posted a comment pointing out that the humbug was fired shortly after I brought his bogus credentials to the attention of’s managing editor.

    My comment was immediately deleted and replaced by a number of comments attacking me. I posted a brief comment protesting the hypocrisy:

    “It appears UKIP’s editor is blind to the irony and hypocrisy of censoring my comments while deriding the “censorship” of global warming denier John O’Sullivan. I suspect he’ll censor this comment as well, but I’ll at least have a screen capture to show others how Ukipscotland is little more than a propaganda blog.”

    This too was immediately censored. As I warned, I have now published a capture of the web page showing how grossly hypocritical this right wing party is both practicing censorship and condemning it in the same breath:

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