Misleading Reuters photo on £720m UN climate pledge

Posted: November 27, 2014 by tchannon in Accountability, Incompetence

This is a minor story, not a particularly dire case. Twist to this story.


When this uninteresting item surfaced on Reuters UK feed I took a quick look as it is not a subject of much interest, political and hogwash as the article reveals.

(Reuters) – Britain has pledged up to 720 million pounds on Thursday to a United Nations fund to help poor nations cope with global warming, the government said.

The contribution is equivalent to around 12 percent of the Green Climate Fund (GCF), whose total funds currently stand at around $9 billion (5.74 billion pounds), based on pledges from 13 countries, it said.

At the weekend, the United States pledged $3 billion and Japan promised $1.5 billion. Germany and France have pledged $1 billion each.

Britain’s contribution will come from existing funds earmarked for international climate work.



A classic, make a fuss about giving what is already given, if it is real anyway.

What instantly took my interest was the photograph. I already knew there had been alarmist games back in April so the re-use of materials by a Reuters contributor or editor is unwise.

I’ve never seen the Shard as such, just stills, no interest in monstrosities or cities. The photograph looked highly suspect, confirmed immediately


Maximum pixel set is value 206 out of 255. Given the photographer is named, a professional and the low noise level, the even quantisation, the actuity of eg. the crane cables this is an expensive camera, extremely unlikely to make a gross exposure error.


Simply using automatic correction of black and white points.

So where was the light?


You are looking south-east so I guess this was taken middle of the day and is effectively back or side lit, almost silhouettes. As far as I can tell there is no sunshine, is one of those horrible murky days we get anyway but there is more.



Here are four thumbnails, original and converted to HSI since that is easy to understand.

Second image is intensity, in this case almost all of the image as a monochrome

Third image is the saturation, amount of colour, very little.

Fourth image is the hue (colour) where we see essentially two colours.

In other words this image is almost black and white only, it will appear as dismal given it is a real place. This might be how it turned out but the possibility is there that someone turned down the colour.

Given the photographer seems to be well known, used to work for Associated Press, I would be shocked if she was responsible for such a thing. Quite why she was taking a distance photograph of the Shard on the 3rd April is a question I would like answering. Perhaps she was told to do it.

From where was the photo taken? On investigation, St Pauls is about 1km from the Shard, knew this was a long lens image, foreshortening, I still own long lens from my film camera days. On tracing the location was somewhere on or near Parliament Hill, apparently a popular London open space. The photo was taken 8 km from the Shard.

Bing Shard if you zoom in tight.
St Pauls
Parliament Hill

Here we are, a photo taken with a blue polorising lens (will remove visible distance haze and zap colour)

Other photos nearby suggest the actual location and nearer the bottom of the hill.

And if you were there on some other day what would you see as a human?

This looks sensible
Clear isn’t it?
Really clear in this country is unusual, very weather dependent.

And a better long lens of the Shard if not quite sharp. Taken at 2014:07:04 11:05:41 where the sun is far enough around to light the buildings. Equiv. lens, 320mm.
From this blog thread with lots of London sky photos

Does Suzanne Plunkett own a long lens and use it in London?


Wonderfully clear for a moon image taken from London.
Full moon? Yes, see Dec 31st

Weather? WeatherOnline seems to actually work for history. Cold.

The twist, was there smog that day, 3rd April 2014?

The definition of smog is vague, not a real word in the sense that it is recent and political, not technical. Usually it means photochemical smog, a result of sunshine interacting with eg. hydrocarbons, happens too where trees are the source. In this case there wasn’t sunny weather in England.

Yes there was a media fuss driven by outsiders starting before this date, the people were being told what was there before the event, resulting in the usual wails. This goes back months earlier to dubious data to do with cities.

No actual data seems to be in the news stories, ITV though did some homework for the day before the 2nd April.

“Smog coats Britain as dust from Sahara creates ‘perfect storm'”

Holds a Met Office image suggesting dust from the Sahara has been transported across France etc. to London. ITV also show an image of settled dust on a car. I seem to recall there was dust about then.

Not that rare, happens every few years.

Not quite the story as the Met Office WordPress blog shows, see map, not as some make out anything to do with England, bad air came across from continental Europe, not that it shows all.

Enjoy the video… 🙂

So we get African storm dust and whatever including humidity from the south and Londoners etc. get blamed. Sounds about normal.

Is the photo fair and honest? I don’t think so but that is an opinion, you decide. It is rather obviously a nothing story without images being given a filler image, reach for something.

The Reuters photo editor is I assume responsible for published images.



Post by Tim

  1. ferdberple says:

    100 billion a year by 2020 was the pledge. With less than 10 billion raised in 5 years, much of it spent to create the fund, hardly seems likely the developing nations will see much of anything.

    Like the carrot on the stick leading the donkey, the developing nations will sell their peoples in perpetual energy poverty in 2015, for a promised windfall 5 years later. never to be delivered. Carbon slavery, bought and paid for with empty promises.

  2. Stephen Richards says:

    Already allocated § That means they are still chucking your money away to the Maldives, Africa etc and the scammers at the UN.

  3. tallbloke says:

    Good sleuthing Tim. Another day, another climate propaganda scam.

  4. tchannon says:

    Where I forgot to look, the weather videos. Not easy to see what is going on but I think there are layers of air. Needs frames pulled out, a lot of hassle with YouTube, stream locally to file in a sane format, then split that to frames, or actually no need, use a vastly better replay program.


  5. tchannon says:

    No new money, the cry we hear so often from politicos in response to claims of spending on X.

    By the way, another four I think F15 have been bought, drip drip, maybe so the total price is not obvious. We don’t know the tag but the naval version is estimated at £250m to £300m each.

  6. catweazle666 says:

    Reuters are notorious for their Photoshop work.

    Here’s some more.


    Google ‘Reuters fake photos’ for lots more of them.

    Another once-reputable news gatherer turned into a propaganda organisation.